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1  How To T-shirt Quilt in Quilting: Completed Projects by myfamilyeatswith on: August 05, 2009 11:39:14 AM

For all the photos that go with this how to check out my blog post http://miyasohoza.blogspot.com/2009/08/how-to-t-shirt-quilt-how-to-make-t.html 

All the instructions are in this post but I was having issues uploading all the photos to Craftster, so there are only a couple!

It all starts with a giant bag of thrifted T-shirts. Actually a couple giant bags.  The number of shirts you need for this is somewhat up in the air, and depends on how efficiently you use them. I only used the screened sections for my blocks, but I tried to vary it some with a single letter some with entire image/text.  I used the backs and leftover sections for the quilt back, trying to reduce waste!

1.   Clean out your closet and grab old T-shirts that have interesting logos, type, images on them. I decided to only use screened shirts, but you could use embroidered etc. Then supplement your stash with thrift store shirt t-shirts. You can get them for like $.45 or at least I can around here.  I didnt stick with just adult shirts, I grabbed kids t-shirts too. Those actually turned out to be the best ones! I wish I could give you a total # of shirts, but honestly I didnt count. And while at the thrift store, I sort of went wild! I recommend washing it all before you start!

2.   Before you start cutting decide what size you want your quilt to be.  Originally I wanted it to be 4 x 6 which would have been about 300-ish 4 blocks. As time progressed and ran out, I went a little smaller. My blocks were 4 and I used a seam allowance on each side so I ended up with 3.5 blocks.  Assuming I want a 4x4 quilt, here is my unscientific and unremarkable math;
a.   14 Blocks wide  (each block after my seam allowance is 3.5) so 14 X 3.5 = 49
b.   49/12= 4.08 (Just in case 12=1!!)
c.   Im not a picky person, thats close enough to 4 for me.
d.   To get  total  number blocks needed take 14 blocks (wide) X 14 blocks (high) =196 total blocks!
e.   You can use this little equation and change the numbers as you see fit to make it any size you want! And use any size blocks you want. For this I thought it would look fantastic with smaller blocks (and I think it does!) 

3.   I used a handy dandy square ruler (found in any sewing/craft/quilting store usually in quilting section and in many different sizes!) This one is a 4 square!  So I started cutting! I used good scissors to cut down the side seams  and take the sleeves and collar off. So you now have the front and back of the shirts, put the blank section aside and only cut the screened sections (regardless if it is front or back or both)
a.   I decided to stick with only solid color shirts, and mostly primary colors with a few random purple orange pinks in there for the heck of it! And of course, white gray and black!
b.   I tried not only to use as much of the screened section as I could, but to compose the block before cutting, so it would be interesting.  Some I plopped the square right in the middle and cut a hunk out, others I positioned it so that only a tiny bit of the lettering would be in the block.
c.   Keep cutting, day and night until you have your total! In my case 196!
d.   Ok, so you have giant stacks eh? I decided to tie bundles of 50 blocks so I could keep them organized and keep track of my total.
4.   When you have them all cut I untied my bundles and dumped them on the floor, making a huge mess! This step isnt 100% necessary but it makes laying them out and piecing it all together in a pretty and even and lovely fashion much easier. If you arent doing exactly what I did you can skip this step or change it to match up with your needs. Maybe yours is a black and green and pink quilt? Then take this time to separate them!  So I then went about sorting them;
a.    neutrals (black white gray)
b.   warm colors (pinks reds etc)
c.   cool colors (greens, blues etc).
5.   Arrange your blocks however you see fit.
a.   This is a lot of blocks, so I made up my rows. I laid out 14 blocks that looked well together, then under them laid out another row.
b.   Once I had about 4 or 5 rows, I stacked them up first block on top then wrote a little note with the number (1st row, 2nd row ) on it to keep them straight and pinned it to the top. That way I could go back and work on it and keep it fairly organized and neat.
c.   Keep that up until you get all your blocks/rows worked out and organized!
6.   Now its time to sew! Yay! I didnt waste time by pinning each and every block! Egh!!! These are tiny blocks, no need. So I just slapped them together and off I went! Yay!
7.   When I finished a row, I took the original little place marker and pinned it to the row so I would keep them in order and know which way was up.
8.   Once you have a few rows done, sew them together! Yes I did pin these!
a.   Right sides together sew them with a seam.
b.   Do this until you have your entire quilt top!
c.   A lot of people thought I would have trouble working with cotton (t-shirts) because it curls, but I really didnt have any trouble, hope you dont either some people recommended using an interfacing, I didnt but of course feel free!)
9.   By now you should have a lovely quilt top! Yay for you! Its now time for the back!
a.   I used NO patter, no logic, nothing.
b.   Honestly I started cutting and piecing random (blank!) sections from the shirts with no rhyme or reason. I did this until I had the same size as my top.
c.   Very simple! Very freeing to just cut and sew with no restrictions!
d.   You could of course, use the same as the front, or do anything you want! Use a few large pieces of flannel or any other cozy fabric!
10.   Now this part is some serious cheating, or so I think, but its quick and easy. And I needed quick! Plus I have not mastered traditional and correct quilt binding.
a.   So, now that you are cheating too get a lovely hunk of whatever batting youre using measure it so its all nice and even and fits your quilt.
b.   Lay the quilt backing face up (right sides together, yes we are going to turn this!) with the quilt top ontop (right sides together!!) then the batting ontop of that. Pin the hell out of it! I used big quilters safety pins for the center to keep my sandwich pieces together, and regular pins for my sides. Like I said this isnt traditional . So if you want to bind it traditionally please feel free!
c.   Sew all sides, leaving a generous section to turning.
i.   As a little side note/tip yes it is a bit of a pain in the ass to sew with the batting all fluffy and fluffing on you and your walking foot, but you will survive!  Just be sure you are sewing straight lines and go SLOW!
ii.   Im sorry I didnt take photos of this process.seems like it would have been a good idea

11.   Now turn it!  Isnt it pretty?
a.   Lay it out and de-fluff it, smooth it out really well, and pin it for top stitching and quilting. Pin the insides again, like you did before to make sure your sandwich is even.
b.   Pin around the edges to do a nice top stitch and to sew up your opening!

12.   Once its all top stitched and beautiful, youll quilt it! Again I used the large quilters safety pins to pin it all, and then I used (almost) stitch in the ditch quilting, again use any sort of quilting method you feel comfortable with!
13.   When Its all done, take lots of photos, wrap it up (if its a gift) in some great handmade wrapping paper, drink some homemade Mead, eat dinner and enjoy your work!

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