Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 26

Thread: making a quilt from clothes

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Federalsburg, Maryland
    Posts
    20
    Three years ago my best friend passed away. This past week, family and friends got together to celebrate her husbands 65th birthday in S.C. While I was there I was given 8 bags of my best friends clothes and asked to make quilts for her children and grandchildren. ( I think all her dresses and good clothes were given away shortly after her death, so this must be what was in the dressers etc.) The first problem I see is that most of the clothes I was given are sweathers, turtlenecks, and tops that are blends. I've been making quilts for a couple of years, but consider myself still a novice at quilt making. Since most of the tops seem to be blends, not true cottons...can I do anything with it and if so...what? Any help would be appreciated! I don't want to disappoint this family.

  2. #2
    Member kbonafede's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Frederick, Colorado
    Posts
    87
    Quote Originally Posted by Linda R
    Three years ago my best friend passed away. This past week, family and friends got together to celebrate her husbands 65th birthday in S.C. While I was there I was given 8 bags of my best friends clothes and asked to make quilts for her children and grandchildren. ( I think all her dresses and good clothes were given away shortly after her death, so this must be what was in the dressers etc.) The first problem I see is that most of the clothes I was given are sweathers, turtlenecks, and tops that are blends. I've been making quilts for a couple of years, but consider myself still a novice at quilt making. Since most of the tops seem to be blends, not true cottons...can I do anything with it and if so...what? Any help would be appreciated! I don't want to disappoint this family.
    I think you should gracefully decline making any quilts.
    Then ask if they want to pick up the bags of clothing, or if they would like to donate the clothing to some place where women can get them who need them.
    Making quilts from "non-quilt fabrics" is a nightmare. It is much easier, much better to preserve your sanity, say a very gracious and very FIRM "NO" to the opportunity, and get on with quilting something you wanted to quilt which has the correct fabrics......afterall, we all know that quilting is the most gratifying thing we can do for ourselves. Quilt for you!!

  3. #3
    Senior Member quilter1943's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Edgewater, FL
    Posts
    925
    I use a lot of different fabrics for my project Linus quilts because we try to use the fabrics we're given before we get into our own. Just remember that cotton may shrink and anything with polyester will not. Of course,t hese have probably been washed a lot and if they've been dried, they won't shrink any more. I wouldn't use any rayon because it does not wash and dry well. If you use the turtle necks knits, just put a light weight stabilizer on it before you cut. What a special gift for you and your friend's family.

  4. #4
    Senior Member quilter1943's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Edgewater, FL
    Posts
    925
    I use a lot of 100% cotton shirt fabric from shirts I find in thrift stores and it's fine. Sometimes the prints are great and nothing you would find in fabric stores.

  5. #5
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    West central Illinois
    Posts
    2,973
    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

  6. #6
    Super Member mommamac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Coast of Maine
    Posts
    3,142
    can you use small pieces & applique onto cotton blocks?

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Oh.
    Posts
    798
    I don't think people have any idea how much work goes into making a quilt. But then to ask you to make quilts for all the family, is a pretty big order. On top of that, the items they gave you are not traditional quilt fabrics.

    I agree with Kathy that it would be in your own best interest to change your mind, if you have not already, and tell them it is not something you feel you can do. If they asked questions, then I would give them answers, because they obviously have no idea what they are asking. One quilt would be a big project, and then for children and grandchildren. What do they think you are, a Factory?

    I get upset just hearing the audacity of some people, friends or not.

    June

  8. #8
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Southwest Kansas
    Posts
    4,829
    The one thing you might be able to do fairly easy is make pillows from the sweaters. I have seen some and they're really cute. I'll bet if you search there are instructions somewhere online.

  9. #9
    Super Member LeeAnn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    2,071
    What an honor! I've made numerous memorial quilts with everything from hunting vests to knits to uniforms and tee shirts. I would not use sweaters due the raveling. I hope they are paying you and do not assume you will do it for free. It's very time consuming. I'm certain the family will love whatever you make.

  10. #10
    Super Member Sandee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    middle America
    Posts
    2,848
    Blog Entries
    71
    I agree with kbonafede

  11. #11
    The Creative Seamstress's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    388
    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

  12. #12
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Jozefow, Poland
    Posts
    4,502
    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.

  13. #13
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    West central Illinois
    Posts
    2,973
    Justflyingin and creative seamstres said it WAY better than I did. Perfect answers IMHO.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Federalsburg, Maryland
    Posts
    20
    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

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Federalsburg, Maryland
    Posts
    20
    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

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Federalsburg, Maryland
    Posts
    20
    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

  17. #17
    Super Member M.I.Late's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Spring, Texas
    Posts
    2,357
    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!

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Federalsburg, Maryland
    Posts
    20
    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.

  19. #19

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Federalsburg, Maryland
    Posts
    20
    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

  20. #20
    Super Member Butterflyblue's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,438
    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.

  21. #21
    Super Member pollyjvan9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Posts
    3,026
    Blog Entries
    1
    I think the sweater pillows are a great idea and maybe simple patchwork or applique pillows out of the other items. A pillow for a bed or sofa could be just a meaningful as a quilt and not nearly as time consuming. You didn't mention how many family members there are but it could be a LOT of quilts. I'm sure the family weren't aware of the work involved or the appropriatness (is this a word?) of the clothing they gave you to work with. Do what you can, do what you want, they will be appreciated.

  22. #22

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Federalsburg, Maryland
    Posts
    20
    Dear Butterfly Blue:

    I have gone through the bags today and pulled out all of the cotton poly blends and a few that were just cotton. I have a lot to work with, thank goodness. I don't have any tee shirts because all of these clothes were winter ones, so I don't have to worry about tees. I plan on using an interfacing on the back of the ones that are not full cotton, just to be safe.
    I was thinking about the Cathedral Window quilt pattern, have you used that on your memory quilts?
    Thanks for all your help! It is appreciated!

  23. #23
    Senior Member PABerard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    770
    I was at a shop and the lady, who was so much more clever than I, was given 3 things that were salvedged from a fire. A pair of sleeping pants (cotton), a partially burned crocheted afghan, and a pair of flannel shorts. It was the mom that died and they needed 3 things for the 3 children to keep to remember their mom. She used the shorts and pants to make a lap quilt (she had to add extra fabric) and used the afghan to make 2 decorative pillows. We were all crying and I can't imagine how grateful those children must have been when they recieved them.

    I wouldn't worry about what you make, they will love it. Maybe you could just make a couple of table runners or a small wall hanging. I would think even pot holders, towel hangers or trivets would appreciated. Just something to hold on to. And the scraps you could sew into a pillowcase and donate it to a dog shelter for a bed. You are a dear to do this for the family. Good luck ~ Pat

  24. #24

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Federalsburg, Maryland
    Posts
    20
    Dear PollyV9:

    I checked out some ideas for pillows today on the internet. I think I will go in that direction too because I have so many pretty sweathers that it's ashame not to use them in something. I only have two grown children and 2 grandchildren to make for out of her things, so it's not so bad. And I agree I'm sure they had no idea what amount of work is involved in making a quilt, but it's okay...I have time on my hands anyway. Thanks again for your help and suggestions. It's all greatly appreciated.

  25. #25
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Jozefow, Poland
    Posts
    4,502
    Quote Originally Posted by Linda R
    I was thinking about the Cathedral Window quilt pattern, have you used that on your memory quilts?
    I wouild definitely not do the CW pattern with a memory quilt unless you have a nice stable fabric to use as the background to tie it all together. It probably would work to use the small pieces of knit, colorful shirts, as the windows. But you will have to buy or find some solid white/cream, other color to use as your frames. I have a CW as my avatar and I've done two large ones (queen sized). They are beautiful but a lot of work. A simple patchwork is much easier.

    But if you've done a CW before and feel like it is for you, go ahead. I started with 15" square muslin pieces and folded down, so that I was using a 4.5" square piece for the "window" itself. That might work for you. I actually LOVE the CW pattern and it turned out beautifully. But it gets really heavy.

    I probably wouldn't give a child a CW quilt, either. You mentioned two grandchildren. Unless they are older teens or above, I'd refrain from doing something so tedious as a CW.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.