• How To Make T-Shirt Quilts

    T-shirt quilts are very popular and a great way to recycle all those fun logos and messages. First lay out your T-shirts and decide what size block you will make. You will want to utilize your particular T-shirts to maximize the pictures, logos and messages.

    Cut the front of the T-shirt away from the back and sleeves. Don't cut your blocks yet. Cut squares of woven fusible interfacing two inches larger than your planned block size. Read and follow the directions for fusing that came with your specific product. They will tell you the temperature to set the iron and if you should use a steam or dry iron.

    Iron a piece of interfacing to the reverse side of the T-shirt fabric -- centering it over the printed part of the T-shirt fabric. The fusible woven interfacing will stabilize the knit fabric and keep it from stretching in the piecing and quilting process. It will also help maintain the integrity of the T-shirt squares during laundering and usage.

    When fusing is completed use a large square ruler, rotary cutter and mat to trim your T-shirt blocks to size. Be sure to add 1/2" seam allowance to your cutting measurement.

    Use regular 100% cotton quilting fabric for the sashing strips and borders. Sashing strips are cotton fabric strips that are stitched between the T-shirt squares. You might want to cut these strips two to four inches wide depending on how large you want your quilt and how many T-shirt squares you have available. Borders are also cut from 100% cotton quilting fabric and are stitched around the outside edges of the quilt.

    Both sashing and border strips can be cut on the lengthwise grain or crosswise grain of fabric. The length of the fabric has a firmer thread so the strips cut parallel to the selvage or lengthwise would be firmer. Those cut perpendicular to the selvage or crosswise will have a small amount of stretch.

    To cut the sashing and borders straight and accurate you will want a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler. Wash and press your fabric. Some fabrics look very crooked when new off the bolt but straighten out when the sizing is washed away. Fold fabric in half selvage to selvage. If your fabric is crooked it will have a lump at the center fold area. Slide the selvages to the left or the right until the center fold area is flat. Lay the fabric down on your mat. Place a line of your rotary ruler on the folded edge. With rotary cutter, trim the uneven edge of the fabric. Open your fabric and check if the cut is straight. If it is not, slide the selvages slightly. Make another narrow cut. Once you get the first cut straight your additional cuts should be straight. I re-check my cut with my ruler line on the fold of the fabric about every three cuts. Sometimes I trim off a very small amount but it insures straight cuts.

    Many quilters prefer to cut all borders and sashing on the lengthwise grain. I cut my strips either way depending on how much fabric I have available. If I have a long piece of fabric I might cut strips on the lengthwise grain but the majority of the time I cut sashing and border strips on the crosswise grain and piece as necessary.

    I just finished making my quilting blocks and i would like simple instructions as to how to square them before I assemble my quilt. I am a beginner. thank you.
    Carolyn
    In quilting terms "square a block" refers to placing your finished block on the cutting mat and trimming a tiny amount of the edges to make the block square. Usually you would use a large square cutting ruler. There are several brands available in multiple sizes. Some are made especially for squaring up. If you can only purchase one square ruler a 12 1/2" square is a very useful size.

    Place your block on the mat. Place your square ruler on the block. Line up your ruler so it includes the part of the block you want to keep such as star points. With a rotary cutter, trim the small amount that extends beyond the ruler. Turn the block or mat and repeat for the other sides.

    "Squaring Up" seems to be very popular with many quilters. Many books and patterns routinely tell you to do this after piecing a block. Some patterns even tell you to make your block larger so you can square up. Is squaring up always necessary. Look at your block. Is it already square? Is it the size it is supposed to be? Are your points 1/4" from the edge? Be sure to allow for seam allowance. When you pressed the block did it distort? Sometimes a little more careful pressing will make it more square. Your block may not need squaring up. Use your judgment.

    Very seldom do I find it necessary to square a block unless it is extremely crooked. If your pieces are cut accurately, you stitch accurately, and you press well, most blocks don't need "squaring". Most of the time when I square a block I find I am cutting off valuable seam allowances so when the blocks are stitched together I will loose points of stars and other important parts of the block.
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