11 January 2013
This was the first I've ever done. When my friend, Denise, said she'd saved all of her daughter's T-shirts since she was little and wondered if I knew how to make a T-shirt quilt, I figured—sure. The learning curve wasn't too steep. Some parts of the process were definitely easier than others.
Part of my process is to layout my design on my computer first. I took photos of all the fronts and backs I was going to use. After I figured out some consistent measurements, I chose which designs/colors would be where. I presented Denise and Kayleigh the computer images for their approval. The chosen layout was without the sashing and border (bottom image).
Once I got all of the shirts cut, I adhered each knitted panel to fusible interfacing to stabilize each panel. After that, I joined together each column of panels and then each row together. And this is where it started getting heavy. Ah, ha. Add to that a layer of fleece (used as batting, and another layer of fleece for the backing, and you get one rather ungainly mass of fabric. After a couple of hit-and-miss tries (read: stitching and ripping out), I wound up hand-basting the entire quilt sandwich together. I think this totaled ten rows of basting—multiple runs horizontally, diagonally, and vertically. And though that was a bit time consuming, it made quilting all the layers together much easier. I just stitched-the-ditch and called it done. I found I also need to make my binding narrower. This one wrapped a little wide over the backing. Somewhere along the line, I got the idea I needed to make 3" binding. After further investigation, I think 2.25" might work better.
Anyway, here's the finished piece. I appreciated them waiting over 90 days from start to finish. Rumor has it, another one of their family members wants a T-shirt quilt, too. Because I 'gifted' my labor, I have no idea how much I'd charge for something like this. Early in the process, I was thinking, while I was on a roll, I wanted to make one for myself. After I was done, I decided I needed a break.