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Thread: Help on making T-Shirt Quilt

  1. #1
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    Help on making T-Shirt Quilt

    My next quilt will be making a quilt from my grandsons baseball t-shirts. This will be completely new to me and would LOVE....all the advise I can get. What is the best backing to use? What problems did you encounter that I should watch out for? Is adding pictures hard? Is it best to keep it all the same size blocks? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Power Poster Mariposa's Avatar
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    You should get some Non-woven fusible interfacing to iron onto the backs of your t-shirts. Do this BEFORE you cut the blocks to size, so that the interfacing will be on the entire block. It really helps to keep the blocks from stretching and getting wonky. Hope this helps!
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  3. #3
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    I need help too...........

    I have a t-shirt quilt project that has been sitting in a box for almost two years now....I am scared sh...less to start. It is a life time of shirts from my most favoriate niece. I am afraid of messing it up.....would really appreciate everyones comments also. Bought a book, don't think I have cracked the spine on it yet.....Because these shirts are such one of a kind, I am afraid of mistakes......

  4. #4
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    I've made a t-shirt quilt for each of my two daughters for high school graduation presents. The use of non-woven fusible interfacing was key to keeping things square. There are lots of different weight interfacings, so experiment until you find your favorite balance of stability without creating a cardboard stiff fabric.

    It was very important to me not to cut off designs or end up with huge amounts of 'blank' space, so I made blocks in several sizes and grouped them. I ended up liking the non-structured appearance of this kind of layout. I also took the pocket designs from the polo shirts and t-shirts and put them together to make one block.

    ALSO - watch your iron temp when fusing the interfacing as it can melt/smear the t-shirt paint!

    The only photos I have access to right now are of the top, but here's the top and the 'pocket' block. I'd be happy to provide more details on the planning and layout, so pm me if you'd like.

    Mark
    Attached Images Attached Images

    Last edited by stormwater; 07-19-2012 at 09:07 AM.

  5. #5
    Super Member wraez's Avatar
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    There is a gridded fusible stabilizer that is recommended. I saw a video tutorial and will have to look for it for you to give you an option. I'll be back...
    Warm quilt hugs, Sue in CA
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  6. #6
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Many of the t-shirt quilts that I looked at today seem to be all similiar in color. The quilt I have to make will have just about every color in the rainbow. The more I think about it the more I think I should stick to black shashing and borders.....This quilt will be a lifetime of t-shirts....and my niece wants me to include photos....think I will add those on the borders only so as not to distract from the t-shirt squares.....Goodness the more I talk about it the harder it gets.

  7. #7
    Super Member wraez's Avatar
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    Found the video ... http://www.crookednickel.com/index.html go to the bottom right of the page.

    you can try a search on YouTube for crooked nickel but it isn't working for me right now ... something about 'script' which I have no clue ...
    Warm quilt hugs, Sue in CA
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PostCardMailArt

    Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death....Rosalind Russell

  8. #8
    Super Member wraez's Avatar
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    the crooked nickel video talks about 'on point' gridded fusible but I bought a whole bolt of straight grid fusible figuring I could lay out my t-shirts in different configurations depending on how big I want the blocks to be, sometimes using parts of the backs, sleeves etc. Not all t-shirts lend themselves to a square block. Don't know if this makes sense. But I do like the idea that I can iron down on a grid which will keep things straight and even for me.
    Warm quilt hugs, Sue in CA
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PostCardMailArt

    Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death....Rosalind Russell

  9. #9
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    Thanks for the pictures Mark...yours came out great!

    Thanks for the crookednickle site too Sue.

    I was told by someone to get the thinnest fusible I can find so it will stay soft...is that what others have found?

  10. #10
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    I was told to use woven or knit interfacing and liked that look. if you are scars of the project I suggest you try to use all same size blocks but if you can't at least keep the same width in each row and each row can be different and the length can easily be adjusted so each row can be the same length. The first one I did had all sizes of blocks and was a math nightmare.

  11. #11
    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    I just finished one for my husband. You're right mucky the math is tricky. I used a thin fusible. My sister made a rag t-shirt quilt with flannel for the backing, quilting each block and then ragging them.

  12. #12
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    The best suggestion I have seen is to look at the pictures on the shirts and cut them out in measurements where the finished size is divisible by 3. This way you can cut the smaller designs out without too much white space left over and cut out the bigger designs without anything cut off. Then fit them together like a puzzle. You can use the front and back of the t-shirts if there is a design on both. The t-shirt quilt book I got said that the t-shirt quilts are more challenging to quilt through and may be more appropriate to do on a LA. They are so much fun to do. I have made 2 already and have 3 more cut to start soon.

  13. #13
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Here is a link to one that I did that all the blocks are cut the same size and set with sashing and cornerstones. I used the small pocket imprints as cornerstones. http://www.quiltingboard.com/picture...lt-t47094.html

    The border was made simply sewing the T-Shirt blocks together.

    I have made close to a dozen T-shirt quilts in this design, they are quick and easy. I use Pellon featherweight fusible interfacing. I have no trouble attaching my fusible after I have cut my T-shirt but some T's tend to curl a bit upon cutting. I just can't stand wasting any of the interfacing so that is why I cut a bunch of pieces of fusible and have them at the ready for my cut T-shirt imprint.

    Stormwater is dead on about iron heat and melting/smearing the imprint ink. I always use a pressing cloth which is just a scrap of muslin. This keeps me from smearing the imprint.

    T-shirt quilts are HEAVY. So be prepared for that. I never tried to quilt one on my domestic sewing machine, I always hand tied them with DNC embroider floss (3 strands). But that was prior to getting my LA. I won't hesitate to LA one and if you can swing it I would recommend sending it out to a LAer to avoid much grief and frustration.

    I have written out instructions for how to make the T-shirt quilt I pictured. If you want them, PM me your email address and I will send the document. I never measured how much total yardage you need for the sashing, but I had 5 yards of that fabric, my sashing was 3" unfinished and I had loads left over so I bet 2 to 2 1/2 yards would be ample.

  14. #14
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    Great advise on these...I am SO glad I asked ahead of starting...I think I will be wasteful and fuse the interfacing before cutting...just so I don't make a mess. I will PM for your instructions feline fanatic! Thanks.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopetoquilt View Post
    Then fit them together like a puzzle..
    I created a set of rectangles the color and dimensions of each of my t-shirt blocks and moved it around in a drawing program, but you could do the same thing with paper cutouts. It allows you to play withe the color placement without having it spread out on the floor for too long.

  16. #16
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    I think I have figured out a design...tomorrow I can start cutting!

    Question....what do you do to straighten a shirt to get the design centered correctly? One of the t-shirts has gotten out of shape from washing and now has those twisted seams and the design it a bit off.

  17. #17
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    Tip I thought of...but maybe not original...To line up the placement of the interfacing so I didn't miss an area...I put 4 flat pins above, below and each side of the design to be cut out (on the front), then turned it over and made sure it was centered over all the pins...and tried to keep it equal. Iron on interfacing, remove pins and cut.

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