Wednesday, March 16, 2011

T-shirt quilt

I am quite proud of myself for finally starting this project, which has been in the back of my mind for at least a decade, but I would like some opinions/advice before I start sewing it together. I have taken all my old sports t-shirts that I have packed around with me through countless moves and cut out the logos/emblems into 14" X 14" squares. The plan is to make them into a rag quilt with fleece backing, like this....
I am not planning on putting any quilt batting in the middle, as I don't want a really thick quilt. The things that I am mulling over now and would like some feedback on are:

1. Should I put some interfacing on the backs of the really thin t-shirt squares? Will this make them hold up better in the long run?

2. All the online instructions I've read say to just sew the squares together, but I am thinking I should sew an X over each t-shirt/fleece square first to keep them together better and to stop them from stretching differently when sewing. Thoughts?

3. I'm not 100% sure about the layout of the squares. Any re-arranging suggestions? (imagine it right-side up and also ignore the cat...he thought laying out the squares was a very fun game)
So, any feedback would be appreciated, especially if any of you have made one of these before. Thanks!


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  2. Love this idea. (also, i went to UBC too - so i fully support the inclusion of those t-shirts!!:)

    I'm a newbie, so can't really help you on the technical front, but I can say that I like your lay-out...what's the word for it - thoughtful randomness? something like that...anyways - good stuff, can't wait to see the finished product!

    apparently, both kids and cats like to sit on fabric...who knew!?!?! :)

  3. First: I, too, like the layout. The only thing I might try is to take one navy shirt to the other side and see what it looks like. I don't think it will change the look much at all though.

    Second: The interfacing sound like a good idea to me. I know how thin old sport shirts can be, so some reinforcement would probably help the long term life of the quilt.

    Third: It would have never crossed my mind to sew an X across the shirts to keep them from shifting. But, now that you brought that up, I would say most definitely. It makes perfect sense, and I am guessing those shirts will shift a lot. I don't know how much shifting there actually is in a rag quilt though. Either way, the X would add some visual interest. You could always rip it out afterwards if you don't like it.

    This probably was less than helpful. It looks like it is going to be cozy regardless.

  4. Yay for t-shirt quilts! So great! I dig the placement of the '8's. I also like the randomness, but agree with Sascha - maybe try moving one of the navies to the other side. I don't know if it would ruin the randomness though and look too homogenous.

    Keep us updated!

  5. Looks great to me! Having done this with old pajamas I would say that anything you can do to keep everything the same size (interfacing/ sewn x) would be good. Eespecially since you want to retain the imagine for each. My PJ quilt is not square, despite squaring it at every stage I could. Its tough with old fabrics!

  6. oops... I meant ...Especially since you want to retain the IMAGE....

  7. I wrote a really kickass reply this morning and somehow it vanished into cyberspace when I pressed preview. It was sad. I won't repeat everything I said there now, but basically I agree with the girls:
    1) I dig the haphazard arrangement and like the not-to-perfectness of the greens, reds, and blues.

    2)I think lightweight interfacing would be a good idea. It will help make your tshirts more similar in weight which may help with sewing it all together (my machine sometimes has tension issues when I sew together different weights or knits), it will reduce the inherent tendency for knits to skew as you cut/sew and you'll be much less likely to throw your sewing machine off a tall building in frustration. The only thing I don't know about is how it will look with the rag edges, assuming that is how you plan to sew it. Perhaps cutting your interfacing slightly smaller than your edge would work?

    3)If you interface your squares, I don't think you're going to have an issue with stabilizing, and therefore the x-quilting pattern will likely be decorative! I loved it on my baby quilt, and it might make your blanket feel more like one piece as opposed to 'a back sewn to a front', so I say give it a go! Like Sascha said, you can always pull it out ;) Just a warning though, if your squares aren't all perfectly square, and square to eachother, the x-quilting will be difficult to do and may look a little wonky. Linnea showed me how to use painters tape as a guide for keeping my diagonal stitching straight - super helpful.

    Good luck! It looks like it will be super cozy!!

  8. Ladies! Thanks for all the feedback. I'm going to adopt all your suggestions and start assembling this weekend. Maria (via Linnea) I love the idea of the painter's tape! I was going to use tailor's chalk, but the tape seems like a way better idea. I'll let you know how it turns out.

  9. Ack at work so can't write a long reply... but wanted to chime in before I forget. Welcome to the blog lady! I'm totally digging this quilt idea. And agree with previous sentiments about interfacing, placement, and the 8s. As for diagonals... I assume you were just planning on sewing an x through the individual squares before seeing them is commonly done with rag quilts...correct? I think this is definitely a good idea both structurally and aesthetically. If you are indeed doing it this way, squaring up is less of an issue because it doesn't matter if diagonals don't line up perfectly as they will be partially obscured by the rag least on the front side. Good luck :) it should be fun!!!

  10. ahhh! good point, L. I guess I didn't read it like that! Thanks for the clarification :)