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Thread: T Shirt Stabilizer??

  1. #1
    Super Member mpeters1200's Avatar
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    I need to make some T shirt quilts. I volunteered to make a memory quilt for my uncle's family when he suddenly passed away a week and a half ago or so. I came home with a whole garbage bag full of tshirts. I know they need stabilizer and I'll be doing a little research here before I jump in.

    What kind of stabilizers do you all use? Iron on? Sew On? Do you keep the stabilizer on until the top is pieced and then take it off? Do you keep it on the whole time?

    I was also thinking about putting simple coping strips of plain fabrics around the tshirts to add some color to it. Maybe some masculine decorator fabric I have around that to add some sashing. All the t-shirts are very plain. Mostly gray with yellow logo from his job...but they are all very old and faded. I want to kick them up a notch. But, before I jump in, I want to know about all things stabilizers. I know nothing about them.

    I take that back, I know different types exist for embroidery....that's the extent of my knowledge.

    HELP!!!

  2. #2
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    I use a fusable stabilizer, usually a soft Pelon that I purchase from my LQS. It is a little more expensive than Walmart but it is softer and does a great job of stabilizing the fabric and washes great, too.

  3. #3
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    We just had a class at our daytime guilt last month. Our presenter Lynne recommends Pelon fusible 911 interfacing. Cut the t-shirt apart, separating the portion you want with about a 2" margin if possible. Fuse the t-shirt to the fusible interfacing following manufacturers directions, be sure to use a teflon pressing sheet or parchment paper so the t-shirt image is not damaged. Trim to the desired square or rectangular shape. Lynne then works on a design wall (or floor) placing prepared t-shirt blocks in vertical rows. Use 100% fabric of your choice to add sashings/coping strips, unifying your vertical row widths.

  4. #4
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    Make sure it is light weight. I used medium on my DDs quilt and it weighs a ton.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Shelley's Avatar
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    This is what I was told when I got my longarm and was considering adding that service to my business. The person who told me had done a PILE of T-Shirt quits, and this was her advice:

    Get the cheapest fusable interfacing you can find. You don't need/want anything stiff.

  6. #6
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lbosma
    We just had a class at our daytime guilt last month. Our presenter Lynne recommends Pelon fusible 911 interfacing. Cut the t-shirt apart, separating the portion you want with about a 2" margin if possible. Fuse the t-shirt to the fusible interfacing following manufacturers directions, be sure to use a teflon pressing sheet or parchment paper so the t-shirt image is not damaged. Trim to the desired square or rectangular shape. Lynne then works on a design wall (or floor) placing prepared t-shirt blocks in vertical rows. Use 100% fabric of your choice to add sashings/coping strips, unifying your vertical row widths.


    ditto, with just a quick addition. I use fusible tricot. It is extremely lightweight add fuses well to t shirt fabric. HOWEVER, make sure that the stretch of the tricot is going in the opposite direction of the stretch on the t shirt. This makes for a really nice soft t shirt quilt.

  7. #7
    Super Member ConnieF's Avatar
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    fusible tricot is what I use... it is soft but hold shape for easy piecing and is soft ad flowie and did not add a lot of weight... it irons on. How about doing some appliques of things he liked to do on some of the plain blks. Relax and have a good time doing it.

  8. #8
    Super Member ConnieF's Avatar
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    oh I forgot to add I buy it when it is 50% off at JoAnns

  9. #9
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    With using the tricot, placeing the "grain lines" of the tricot is important. The tee shirt "grain line" will run up and down. Place the tricot crossways. It reduces the stretch and hold the tee shirt fabric more securely. My mom is a long arm quilter. She tells me that tee shirts that stretch are harder to quilt.

  10. #10
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    I agree about the fusables already mentioned. I just spent the morning cutting apart a large tub full of tee shirts to make a quilt. The person they belong to got a full scholarship to Harvard for wrestling. He was also a classmate of my daughter's. Some of the shirts are in such bad shape that I think I will photo transfer them instead of using the actual shirt. Others are so fadded that I think I will use my fabric pens to touch up the colors. The hardest part will be deciding on the size of the basic block based on the largest motif and then combining the smaller motifs to make blocks the same size. I will use sashing it also helps stabilize. Several of the shirts are sweat shirts. I think I may try shaving some of the fleece off of the backs so they are not so bulky. They even included a couple pair of his wrestiling shorts that are made out of that very flimsy "nylon"? fabric that has holes all over it for ventilation. I have no idea how I am going to include that.

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