T-Shirt Quilts 101

I wanted to create something special for our son when he left grade school to start junior high.  I had been collecting his t-shirts from sports, camps, events and favorite teams for years.  It seemed a perfect time to put the two together.  I cut each t-shirt into a 12″x12″ square using a cardboard template and a rotary cutter.  After laying them all out on the floor to arrange colors so I wouldn’t have same colors next to each other, I made stacks of squares by rows so it would be easier to sew one row at a time.  I sewed with a 1″ seam allowance because the batting I chose recommended having a gap in stitches no larger than 10″x10″.  Here are some lessons I learned along the way that I’ll share in case you would like to have a little “fun”:

1.  Quilters are perfectionists.  Every seam needs to be perfect for the whole thing to come out lined up properly.  I, on the other hand, love the saying, “Every quilt has one intended error.”

2.  Quilts are not fragile.  In order to sew from one end of the quilt to the other, you need to SHOVE the entire wad of fabric (all three layers) through that little space between the needle arm and the rest of your sewing machine.  No small feat!

3.  Sewing machines don’t like iron-on letters and imprints.  The presser foot gets stuck on them.  Newsprint comes in handy, however, you end up sewing on paper and it’s hard to see where you’re going.  No pain, no gain!

4.  Clear thread is great to quilt with.  If you sew out of line, you can’t see the stitches anyway.  Love the stuff!

5.  Pick a busy background fabric for the back side.  It hides all those errors mentioned in #1 above.

6.  Quilts are not cheap for a reason.  This will NOT become one of my custom design items.  OK, maybe if the price was right.  If you want to have someone else make yours, try www.CampusQuilt.com.  Like I said, they are not cheap for a reason.  However, the finished product is priceless.

About Wendy Amato

My creative inspiration comes at any time, anywhere. Once I get an idea, I am compelled to try it. No matter how late it is or how many other projects are on my list. Creativity does that to you! I'll try anything once and the good projects get a few more attempts. I like to find the beautiful, amazing and awe-inspiring in everything I experience and only hope to inspire others to look at the world around us with eyes wide open to the creative possibilities. You don't have to be perfect, just give it a try.
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