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Thread: Tying a t-shirt quilt

  1. #1
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    I went to the local quilt shop with the t-shirts I have so far and asked the owner if she ever quilted a t-shirt quilt. She said "no". Upon inspecting my shirts she said she wouldn't suggest quilting them anyways because to quilt around the design would leave a lot of space in-between and quilting through the heat seat designs might ruin them. Plus, stitching over the designs would look kind of tacky as you'd notice the black stitching over the images rather than the images themselves. So she suggested tying the quilt and ended up leaving the store with a skein of black Perle embroidery floss (being that it would be stronger than the regular embroidery floss).

    Great because it means I won't have to send the quilt in anywhere and pay more (funny because I haven't been exactly concerned with costs thus far as I've paid over $160 in shirts, interfacing, and binding fabric with giving a hoot about it). But I haven't tied a quilt this big before. I tied my first quilt...with yarn with a big blunt yarn needle through the flannel 36"x36" quilt I made. I only made about 8 ties as I only tied the red filler squares in-between the black and white nine patches. I'm surprised those 8 ties have actually held up despite being used by my God son since he came out of the womb (was his favorite blanket 'til he got into superheroes and got Spiderman and Superman fleece blankets). But I sure can't get away with just 8 ties on this t-shirt quilt (which is going to be 80x80) and I haven't tied a quilt since the first one (which is going on 4 years ago).

    I'm open for any suggestions on how to tie a quilt.

  2. #2
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    I quilt thru T shirt designs all the time and they hold up just fine. But tying is another good option. I would tie at the corners and maybe, if they are big blocks, somewhere else strategic within the blocks. If you reverse tie, IE: the tie is on the back, it won't be so noticeable. Depends on the look you are going for.

    I lay out my tie quilts on the floor or a large table, sandwich them just like regular.

    There are many ways to tie a quilt. I did a Google search and here are some sites to read thru.

    http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&h...289185d5cea093

  3. #3
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    if you are going to put batting in your t-shirt quilt be sure to buy one that says on the packaging that is works for tied quilts.
    then the rule of thumb is to place your ties every 4" or fist width apart, meaning if you put your fist on any spot there is a tie above, below and to each side of your fist. start in the center and work out and around. use a sharp needle (an embroidery needle has a large enough eye for the perle cotton to be used and is sharp enough to go through the knit t-shirt fabrics. when i tie a large quilt i still baste really well, but i do not know if other people do or not. i get together with a little sewing group when i can fit it in my schedule and they are very inventive. when they want to tie a large quilt they use chairs (folding metal) and clamps...they set the chairs in a square, backs out, seats facing in, the size of the quilt back, then they clamp the quilt backing to the backs of the chairs along one end; then they pull it taut and wrinkle free and clamp the other end, then go to one side, then the other...oh and they do leave an escape hatch :) (one missing chair) so someone can get under the quilt. it is really fun to be part of this activity and they tie a quilt in just an hour or so. one person underneith, however many on top...needles with perle cotton are pushed down through the underneith person sends it back up (this is only done if it is a big quilt where reaching is impossible to handle the top and bottom.

  4. #4
    Senior Member merrylouw's Avatar
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    My first quilt was a T-shirt quilt. I sent it to a longarm quilter who used an allover pattern that looks like clouds; he used neutral thread. I think it turned out really well.

  5. #5
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I tie all my T-shirt quilts. I cut out a piece of felt that is 3" square and that is what I use as a spacing template. My shirts are 12" blocks and I put 2.5" (finished width) sashing between the blocks. I tie on the shirts only, every 3" and used polyester fat bat. I have used the perle cotton as well as 3 strands of embroidery floss. As all of mine were given away via a raffle I don't know how well they are holding up.

  6. #6
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic
    I tie all my T-shirt quilts. I cut out a piece of felt that is 3" square and that is what I use as a spacing template. My shirts are 12" blocks and I put 2.5" (finished width) sashing between the blocks. I tie on the shirts only, every 3" and used polyester fat bat. I have used the perle cotton as well as 3 strands of embroidery floss. As all of mine were given away via a raffle I don't know how well they are holding up.
    Tie on the shirts only? Meaning don't go through the backing or not tying any sashing or borders?

  7. #7
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    No, you need to go through the top, batting and backing, and back up to the top, to "tie" them all in place.

    You can also do this the opposite, so your tied ends are on the back side of your quilt. :D:D:D

  8. #8
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    very helpful!!!!! I am working on a tee shirt quilt of Harley Davidson shirts for my parents. I think I am going to tie rather then quilt and do it backwards so the ties are on the back, not front. How long do you leave the tails?

  9. #9
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    When I tie a quilt, I tie every 2-3 inches, with embroidery floss and I use the smaller curved needle. I'm sure that you can do less ties than I do, depending on the batting. I think it's a personal preference and I prefer the closer ties.

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