07 March 2011

BIG Project - Part 1

I started something big.
t-shirt quilt!!!
Hopefully not too big, but we'll see. I have a lot of tshirts...a lot. If you ever went to high school or played a sport or went to college or ran in a race or went on vacation you probably have quite a few as well. I don't wear all of my tshirts (most of these just didn't fit anymore), but I just couldn't bring myself to put some of them in the Goodwill pile. I've wanted to use them to make a tshirt quilt for a while, but didn't want to pay $150-$200 for it. Since I haven't had any major sewing disasters lately I thought I was up to the challenge! : )

I've researched how to make one and loosely based my method on what I've read. Really the only problem I foresee running into is that I don't know how to quilt anything (just a minor problem, right? hah!). We'll see if that turns out to be a deal breaker. I thought I'd post instructions as I go because if I wait until the end I'll probably never get around to it and no one would want to read that long of a tutorial anyway.
First, you need a template. I cut mine out of a cardboard box. My squares are 14" x 14" and you will probably want to check some of your smaller shirts first to make sure this will fit between the sleeves. I ran into a couple shirts (size adult small or child large) that were a little smaller. I would've gone 12" x 12" but then the finished quilt wouldn't have been quite long enough for me. I always get annoyed when a blanket won't cover my shoulders and my feet.
I ended up making one side "Up" on my template because after the first two shirts I realized my template was about 1/8" taller than it was wide. This way everything should line up nicely. I would definitely suggest doing this on a hard surface - as in not on carpet like I did. I'm hoping this won't come back to haunt me, but I don't exactly have a good hard surface to trace/cut on.
Sharpie was my marking tool of choice for this operation. Trace around your template then cut your squares (or in my case almost square, but technically a rectangle because one side is 1/8" longer). Then you're done with phase 1. Yay! I lined up my pieces so I could see what it would look like (sigh, if only that magically made it finished). I still need one more shirt to fill the hole at the top. I had one picked out but changed my mind before I attacked with Sharpie and scissors.
Stay tuned for the rest of the project. I'll update as I go along. I'd like to have a pretty thorough tutorial at the end of all of this because I didn't find a very comprehensive one when I was looking around. Just don't hold your breath for the next post because I'm pretty sure the next step won't debut any time this week. I hope everybody had a great weekend!
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  1. Wow! That is a big project. I am excited to see how it turns out!

  2. I have been wanting to make one of these as well! Like anything else, if you join a sorority you leave with a million shirts! I'm now one of your followers and I can't wait to see how this turns out!

  3. I am eventually (hopefully) going to make a tshirt quilt with all of my sorority shirts!

  4. thanks for this tutorial, i want to make one for my niece who will be graduation in May.

  5. That is so awesome. I know someone that does that same thing but makes pillows.

  6. Can't wait to see how this turns out - my daughter has about a million tees from high school and this would be so cool to do for her!

  7. Very cute! You're much braver than me! I'd be too scared to tackle a project like that, but it looks good already! Can't wait to see the finished project!

  8. Lots of great memories in that quilt. I have another huge pile of elementary t-shirts when you complete this project :)

  9. A t-shirt quilt sounds really cool. I'd love to see this when it's finished.



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