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Thread: Newbie Questions - T-shirt quilt beginnings

  1. #1
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    Question Newbie Questions - T-shirt quilt beginnings

    Hi there. I am new to fabric quilting. I am an experienced sewer, but have not made a sewn quilt before. I have crocheted afghans and sewed drapes so I'm familiar with handling large pieces.

    So I am embarking on my very first quilt, a t-shirt quilt. I have 42 - 14" finished size blocks (15" unsewn). I have the 7 columns sewn and am just about ready to sew the columns together. But I have some questions.

    First, I have sewed a straight seam to join the shirts. I have not finished the seam or zigzagged. I have Pellon interfacing on the back of the t-shirts, so they should be okay. My question is - is a plain straight seam okay?

    Next, before I sew the columns together, do I need to press the seams open? Or press them toward one way or another? My shirt layout is light/dark/light/dark. I do not have any sashing; the shirts will just be stitched to each other. But in general, do you press your quilt seams - and if so, press open or toward dark fabric?

    And finally, I have a large amount of fabric scraps that I intend to piece together as backing. I mean 2 or 3 yards of this color or that. They are all plain cotton pieces of various colors. I need to use them up, and think that this would be a great way to use it. This isn't going to be a pro quilt or anything, just my own blanket. How bad an idea is this really? If I can piece together the top, why couldn't I piece together the bottom too?

    Many thanks in advance. Sorry for such basic questions!
    Susan

  2. #2
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board! I am of no help in regards to the T-shirt quilt top. But for your backing, I say go for it. I haven't done a plain back in forever. I do planned pieced backs. What I mean by that is that when I am planning the quilt top, I am also planning the back. I LOVE a pieced back as it gives me an opportunity to add another element to the quilt. I often make extra of the blocks used on the front and include them on the back. Or I will piece together coordinating fabrics just so my back isn't plain.

    I went to a quilt show this weekend and there was a t-shirt quilt that had a few t-shirt blocks on the back. It was very cool!!
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    Last edited by auntpiggylpn; 04-23-2012 at 06:49 PM.
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  3. #3
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    Tons of people piece their quilt backs. Alot of the pieced backs look awesome. A straight seam is what is needed to hold things together. Nothing else needed as far as sewing seams together. As far as pressing seams, I used to press open but then the seams are not as strong. I would press the first column of seams upward and then the next downward and continue alternating until you do every column. Then you can "nest" the seams next to each other to make sure they line up perfectly when you sew them together. (hope that makes sense). This will make your seams line up across the rows. My biggest suggestion is to consider a long arm quilter (LAQ) to quilt the quilt. B/c of the the weight of the quilt, the book I have on t-shirt quilts strongly recommends using a LAQ to quilt. Hope this information helps.

  4. #4
    Super Member ShowMama's Avatar
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    Sounds like you've got it all figured out already, really. The shirts sewn in rows with a plain seam is just fine. The shirts are not going to unravel, so no seam finish is required. I would personally iron the seam open as that's what I prefer. I think it makes the seams less bulky. Then, for the back, go right ahead and use up those different pieces. I think it makes a more interesting quilt to have a pieced back. I've done that lots of times, whether by necessity because I didn't have enough of one fabric or by choice to get more fabrics and colors in. It always looks great.

    Good luck, and be sure to post a photo of your finished quilt. We'd all like to see it.
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  5. #5
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    You guys are great!! Thanks for the information. Sorry it took me so long to reply - I've been busy sewing my top together. It has been a challenge to get all the squares all evened up, but I think it is coming along nicely. Today I should get the top all sewn together, and I'm going to work on the gutter (I think that's right - the border that goes around the edge) and figuring out what I'm going to use for the back.

    I will definitely post a picture when I get done.

    And thanks again for your replies!
    Susan

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