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Thread: T-Shirt Quilt / Memory / Crazy Quilt Questions

  1. #1
    Member LisaMay's Avatar
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    T-Shirt Quilt / Memory / Crazy Quilt Questions

    Hi Ladies.

    My Mom passed a while ago and now I find myself with bags and bags of her and Dads clothing. I want to make T shirt/Memory and or Crazy quilts from their clothing (or any other suggestions). I also must enclose that I have 6 brothers and sisters who also would like me to make something for them and am looking for ideas that are fast and effective (if possible) I have other questions that I want to just verify as to not ruin all Mom and Dads clothing... Thanks for any and all help, I am wading in bags and bags and bags of everything imaginable from Moms 88 years of living. However I think DH is going to pack my bags pretty soon!!

    1. Is it acceptable to pre cut the selection you would like to use from T-shirts or Sweatshirts and store them before applying interfacing. To me it seems like if stored properly it should not be an issue. Just want to be sure.

    2. Mom had more clothing and fabric types from multiple generations, styles and trends than Carters has small little pills. I need to disassemble them and use them at a later time. They are taking up and enormous amount of space. Same question as number 1.

    3. Since there are so many types of fabrics, baubles and bangles does anyone have any suggestions for easy crazy / memory quilts, or any other memory item... or suggest a book?

    Thank you much
    Wading in the years of style.... Lisa

  2. #2
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    I had a neighbor who made a sunbonnet sue quilt using her kids' clothes.

  3. #3
    Gay
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    Senior Member Gay's Avatar
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    There is a tute on the Board showing how to cut up shirts into managable pieces, 10 & 5" squares, 2 1/2" strips etc, but I can't find it. Maybe someone else knows. But I would suggest cutting all into the largest squares usable and store in containers - don't unpick seams, just cut them out. That should get rid of much bulk of bagsfull laying around.

  4. #4
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    Ok, I only suggest this because you have 88 years of clothing, obviously made of all types of fabric. I would make a cathedral window quilt made of thin 100% cotton muslin, and put just one square of each outfit or fabric (about a 2.5" square) in each window. This is the one type of quilt that supports weird fabrics in the windows such as satin, crepe, beaded, polyester, lace, silk, etc. And in preparation you can pre cut all those clothes down to just a few squares each. You hubby will be pleased with you, as an aside. You can choose the hand sewn or machine sewn construction.

  5. #5
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    I an not answer your question but I think your idea is a wonderful memento to your parents.

    I started quilting after my Mam died and often regret not being able to do something similar.

    However, I do have 2 embroidered table clothes - one made by my mother the other by my mother-in-law. One day I might be brave enough to cut them into blocks.

  6. #6
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    There are many excellent books on crazy quilting and if you ( or someone you know) has an embroidery machine that is a quick way to do fancy stitching or even just a newer machine with lots of decorative stitches. Mix and match as they say. I think the tutorial was "de-boning a shirt" which showed how to cut out seams and salvage as much material as possible. It seems like the T-shirt logos on interfacing should be okay, but I've not done it.

  7. #7
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    As far as the T-shirt question. The interfacing really helps with the cutting. I would fuse interfacing to the inside of the shirts behind the decals/ designs you want to use, cut out your blocks then stack those nice & neat to save for later- then that step is done when ready to sew. Pizza boxes work nicely for keeping blocks straight. Another use if there are a lot of T-shirt type fabric is to make (T-shirt) yarn from them ( lots of video tutorials to make/cut the yarn) you can use that for rugs, woven, hooked, crocheted/ knitted.....any number of things, even embellishments.
    when I was ( overwhelmed) by the bags of clothes from my mom passing I did deconstruct many articles of clothing.
    The easiest- fastest projects were memory pillows. A few members of the family had favorite sweaters, shirts, sweatshirts that they had either bought her or just remembered her wearing often. I sewed the necks closed, folded sleeves & stitched them down ( a couple I actually stuffed- made into a hug) either stuffed them or inserted a pillow or pillow form. I put a label on them personalized for each person ( daughter, granddaughter, nephew etc) saying “ this is a shirt I once wore, when you hold it know I am here....”
    sewed closed the bottom. I could make a few pillows in a short amount of time.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  8. #8
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    Rag quilts are fast and easy.

  9. #9
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    I was thinking on the same waves as "Wannabee". How about rag quilts or if your Dad wore jeans the denim would make a nice rag quilt with some of your Mom's clothing as part of your quilt. Sounds like you have your work cut out for you tho'. Good luck on your decision and please share your progress or pics.

  10. #10
    Senior Member MawMaw B's Avatar
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    I've made memory quilts our of clothing for a friend of my daughters. It is perfectly ok to cut blocks and store them until you are ready to quilt. I decided on a couple of patterns then cut all the dresses apart and cut blocks/squares of the fabric. I just cut seams off and pressed. Here's a link to the ones I did. https://www.quiltingboard.com/pictur...a-t272212.html Good luck with your projects.

  11. #11
    Super Member SuziSew's Avatar
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    First welcome to the quilt board, you will find a lot of help from the wonderful people here.

    Check out Bonnie Hunter's tutorial "De-boneing a Shirt" http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2012/...irt-movie.html I've got many of my dad's shirts and plan on using this method.

    As for a t-shirt quilt, if you do decide to cut the shirts before putting on the stabilizer, cut them larger to give yourself some leeway. I can also recommend the pizza boxes for storage or pick up some of the 2.5 gallon zip-lock bags so you can label and sort as you go through all of it.

    For the crazy quilt the great thing is there's not right or wrong, decide how big of a block you want and you can put them together however you want. If you want something more structured you can get free patterns on google, make your own paper templates for the block size or you might pick up the creative grids scrap crazy rulers for more structure and consistency.

    It's wonderful that you want to make things for your family, but it can be an intimidating task so get some or all of them involved in different parts of the processes, don't stress yourself and your husband by doing it alone if you don't have to...hand him some scissors or a rotary cutter! Good luck!
    Sue

  12. #12
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    The only problem with cutting T-shirts and other knits before putting on stablizer is that they tend to curl along the raw cut edges which makes applying the stablizer go less quickly when you are finally ready. I am one of the few who cuts first and then do my iron on stablizer, but I do it right away, cut my square then immediately iron on my stabilizer which has also been cut to the same size as my square. I do get a bit of distortion sometimes but not often and have always been able to use the block with no issues.
    A great alternative is to starch the dickens out of them. I would get some sta-flo starch, can usually find it in large jugs in the laundry section of Walmart. Make it fairly strong, like half and half and make it in a bucket or something large enough to simply dunk them. Dip your knits into your starch, wring them out well and hang them on the clothes line to dry. Don't worry if they are a bit wrinkled you can press that out later. Once dry you can "butcher them down" to an oversized cut of what you want to save from the T (usually the logo or imprint). Then, not only can you cut and store them, you may just be able to sew with them without stabilizing. I have heard of people doing this to avoid doing stabilizer but I have never been brave enough to try.

  13. #13
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    I am very sorry to hear that your mother passed away. I'd go check out the t shirt quilt from Teaquilts YouTube page. She has a quite awesome tutorial on making t-shirt quilts. Also, there are a lot of other fun ideas posted on there. It sounds like whatever you come up with will create a wonderful tangible item to remember your mother by. Please do keep us updated on the progress of this quilt. I bet it will be really cool.

  14. #14
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    I wanted to make my husband a t-shirt quilt but I wanted to try something a bit different. I bought 60" camouflage fabric. I stabilized all the tshirt components. Then I spray basted them in a pleasing manner onto the fabric. I zigzagged around all edges of the t-shirt pieces. I backed it with a gray muted flannel and used 100% cotton batting. I free motion quilted sort of following the camouflage design and bound it in black flannel. He loves it and I got to use every bit of the t-shirts that I wanted as some of the designs were on sleeves or on pockets. It is really OK and quite a bit easier than had I made blocks to be sewn together.

  15. #15
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    I always cut t-shirts before stabilizing--just cut them bigger and get rid of hems, sleeves, necks. If you aren't going to put stabilizer on yet you will get some curl on the edges, not a problem when you go to put on stabilizer--you will have to trim them down after you get it on.

    an idea I'm doing this year for my siblings is to have a photo of my folks blown up and printed on fabric (at the local t-shirt printing shop, they do great work) and then use my grandmother's lace/lines to frame one for my sister and I've got some Seminole patchwork done in my parents favorite colors to frame the photo for my brother. You could do the same with the clothing--maybe crazy quilts, etc. That would make a quicker memory project for each of your siblings.

  16. #16
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    You are going to be amazed at the amount of fabric that can be harvested from these clothes. I have used 6 of my late husband's shirts to make 3--38" square wall hangings, 2 small wall hangings and a queen sized quilt and still have the full backs and most of the fronts left for further consideration. I used Bonnie Hunter's method of deboning the shirts. I also used one of those craft boxes like embroidery floss can be wound on cardboards and put the buttons in those little compartments. Those will be handy for future consideration that buttons in each section will already be matched.

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