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Thread: making a quilt from clothes

  1. #11
    The Creative Seamstress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knlsmith
    This is one I made. It was not a nightmare, just took a little more time to cut the pieces because of getting rid of seams. I considered it a great honor and would do it again in a heartbeat.

    I used lightwieght stabilizer on just the stretchy stuff. some of it was cotton button up shirts so i didn't stabilize them.


    http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-33011-1.htm
    I second this response. I've also had had great success in using materials that were stretchy or weird to work with like sweaters etc by making "stay stitches" (with a traditional sewing machine) for the inner part of a cutting line and then cutting to the outside of it to make the fabric strips or segments I'd be working with - and also sometimes then used the serger and differential feed to serge the edges to make a stable and very useable fabric. Then depending on the design etc I might quilt using the serger exclusively or just as a way to finish raw edges of difficult fabrics and then quilt the traditional way.

    The bottomline is that some materials may take more time and effort to work with, but it is entirely possible and can be a complete success. Chances are you wouldn't be doing any overly complex design given the types or materials you might have to work with anyway like sweaters etc. I personally don't think you should fear making the quilt, but you should be honest with the family regarding your skill level. If they still feel comfortable after knowing that, then I see no reason not to continue. Furthermore given your skill level and/or level of comfort, perhaps you could also enlist the help of those who are more experienced than you by joining a local quilting and/or sewing guild in your area to gain valuable experience, insight and assistance with individuals who would be local to you and most assuredly very willing to help you in this endeavor in a hands on capacity.

    I think you can be very successful in creating a very beautiful tribute - if you choose a simple design and always endeavor to do your best, which I have no doubt you would. Don't allow the task itself and its importance automatically dissuade you - perhaps this is a physical and spiritual journey for you that could be very healing and very beautiful for you and their family in the end. It's always an honor and a priviledge to be chosen for such a task. If at the end of the day you really feel that you couldn't do this justice, then of course be honest with the family and seek guidance from them as to how they'd like to best proceed.

    Explosive blessings, abundance and inspiration to you all!
    - The Creative Seamstress

  2. #12
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    I would do a simple patchwork. After all, if they have given you so many different materials, then they probably are not quilter themselves. This means, that in order to keep your work load to a reasonable amount, the pattern should be easy and yet show off the material from the clothes.

    Since they obviously don't know what is appropriate, don't try to use everything. They've given you your choice. I've had plenty of success in using 50/50, but only wovens. I've not tried to use a knit nor do I have any desire to do so. In fact, I just threw away 3 big bags of double knit pieces that someone gave me because I couldn't bear to touch the fabric. I decided to not become someone else's dumping ground and then feel guilty for not wanting it.

    However, if you were close to this lady, then make them a simple quilt. They will treasure it. If you have lots of scraps, then make a simple patchwork, maybe putting them on edge and making it look like diamonds. You could make the dreaded piano border from blends. It would use up a lot of fabrics and make it colorful and scrappy. If I were the family, I'd love it because it would be many different fabrics.

    Then, I'd take the scraps from those things you don't use and donate them--whole sweaters/tops to Goodwill or SA and partially cut up knits and dump them in the dumpster. I'd not mention what I did with the leftovers to the people who gave you the bags of clothes. They have enough to deal with and were probably glad to get rid of the clothes in the first place.

  3. #13
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    Justflyingin and creative seamstres said it WAY better than I did. Perfect answers IMHO.

  4. #14

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    To KLSmith:
    Thank you so much for sharing this quilt with me. Your quilt is beautiful. It makes me feel so much better knowing that making a quilt from her clothes is possible to do. I hope you aren't snow bound in Illinois. If so please be careful, stay inside and quilt if you can.
    Linda

  5. #15

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    To Scissor Queen:

    Oh thank you for that suggestion!!! I would of never thought to do that. I will look for some ideas online. I appreciate the help!
    Linda

  6. #16

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    Thank you for the words of encouragement. It's going to be a labor of love. This lady was very special and her family is just like own, so I don't mind doing this. I know it's going to take awhile and be hard work, but they are all worth it.
    Thank you again.
    Linda

  7. #17
    Super Member M.I.Late's Avatar
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    Don't let people discourage you when you are asked to make a memory quilt for someone you loved. How dare they advise you to say a firm "NO". I'm sorry, but that's not right. Your question, was how can I work with the materials I was given, not should I commit this labor of love...

    You can also see if the family can provide some cotton to you, so you have a nice foundation to apply some of this non-ideal fabric to. I wish you luck and know you will enjoy the process even if it's not an ideal situation for quilting. Also, if you can only make one or two - they'll appreciate it very much. God bless!

  8. #18

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    I can do anything I want to do with the quilt. So small pieces might work out well. thanks for that thought...I'll keep it in mind.

  9. #19

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    To M.I. Late:

    Thank you for your kind words. I'm going to go ahead with the quilts. I know the family will love anything that I give them. My friend and I were best buddies for almost 45 years, so this is a BIG HONOR for me to be able to do this for her and her family. If it just brings a little comfort to them then I have suceeded.
    Thanks for your help. Bless You!
    Linda

  10. #20
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
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    You say some of the blouses are blends - do you mean poly-cotton blends? If they're a woven poly-cotton, they shouldn't be that hard to work with, though you do have to make sure your iron isn't turned too high, as it might melt them.

    I don't have any experience with sweater knits or other knits. I'm about to do a memory quilt incorporating knits, and I think I will put interfacing on the back to make them "act" like a woven, per advice given on this board. I do plan to make a test swatch with tee-shirt material and run it through the washer and drier several times, to make sure it wears well.

    Do make sure not to use any worn/weakened sections of the clothing, as those sections will wear out first, limited the useful/beautiful lifespan of the whole quilt. I made that mistake on a quilt made from my husband's shirts.

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