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Thread: T Shirt Quilts: Are they challenging?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Catherine Marie's Avatar
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    Dear Friends:

    My DDIL wants me, in the New Year, to make a quilt out of Tshirts and other items of clothing from my twin grandsons. No doubt I will be dealing with various types of materials. Any tricks to quilting these together? Should I put a backing of some sort onto each piece? Are there any internet sites which might help?
    Thank you and here's hoping that all of those who celebrate this happy and holy time of Christmas enjoy the day and the season.

  2. #2
    Senior Member gypsyquilter's Avatar
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    I used a lightweight fusible interfacing on the back of each t-shirt emblem to add some stability, the biggest challenge was figuring out how to get most of the emblems to a uniform size. I added sashing between each t-shirt so each could be showcased on its own and not compete with the one next to it.

  3. #3
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I belong to a Longarm forum.....was reading yesterday and the t-shirt quilts were brought up --- apparently NONE of them like to quilt and most said they refuse to quilt them!!!!

  4. #4
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    Here's a link to directions I wrote for a t-shirt quilt.

    http://reviews.ebay.com/Make-Your-Ow...00000000832366

    It was my first t-shirt quilt and after searching the web for endless hours, I thought I'd put some of the knowledge I learned together as a way of helping someone else that had never made one and wanted to make one.

    Hope it helps a little.

  5. #5
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frugalfabrics
    Here's a link to directions I wrote for a t-shirt quilt.

    http://reviews.ebay.com/Make-Your-Ow...00000000832366

    It was my first t-shirt quilt and after searching the web for endless hours, I thought I'd put some of the knowledge I learned together as a way of helping someone else that had never made one and wanted to make one.

    Hope it helps a little.
    Thank you :D:D:D

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by amandasgramma
    I belong to a Longarm forum.....was reading yesterday and the t-shirt quilts were brought up --- apparently NONE of them like to quilt and most said they refuse to quilt them!!!!
    What were the specific reasons given for the dislike of t-shirt quilts (if you can share professional secrets)? :wink:

  7. #7
    Super Member suezquilts's Avatar
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    The biggest reason I don't like them is that the heavy painted parts are hard to quilt over. But quilting can be done, I free hand quilt as well as computerized, so if there is a will there is a way.
    I use Pellon fusible that has a light weight webbing in it.
    It's fun to do.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by suezquilts
    The biggest reason I don't like them is that the heavy painted parts are hard to quilt over. But quilting can be done, I free hand quilt as well as computerized, so if there is a will there is a way.
    I use Pellon fusible that has a light weight webbing in it.
    It's fun to do.
    Ah, so it had to do with the actual t-shirt, not the way it was stabilized or pieced into the quilt.

    I could see that maybe breaking a needle or two.

    Thanks for the clarification.

  9. #9
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link. A gal at church has plans for me to help her make one (I have never made one, but she just knows I can help her!) over Christmas vacation and winter.
    Bought a book and have read through it and now your wonderful directions.

  10. #10
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    Cut the whole front off the tee shirt and fuse a lightweight interfacing to the back of each tee shirt. I place the right side of the tee shirt face down on a teflon pressing sheet and then fuse the interfacing on the back side. Do not iron the interfacing, press and hold, then move the iron to another place and press and hold again until the interfacing is completely fused. The teflon helps prevent any "meltable" things on the tee shirt from sticking to the ironing board cover. Then I cut the tee shirts in the size blocks I want them in, usually 12 1/2 inches squares. Then add sashing and a border. If the tee shirts are stabilized correctly, they don't stretch when the long arm quilter stitches them. I have made several this way and they have turned out great.

  11. #11
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    I have quilted 4 for others and had no trouble at all quilting them. I custom quilted them though and did not quilt over any of painted area's I would worked around that area. They are fun to make!

  12. #12
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    I think you need something fun to sew and quilt every once in awhile. I find after some easy quilts, I am ready for a challenge. I am feeling that way now, have done a few easy quilts this fall and still doing one, these are mostly baby quilts, now I am finding myself a little bored with them and ready for something with more difficulty.

  13. #13
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    I've made two. Just make sure you have put sabilized the backs, have fun putting the blocks together. The first one I made was for a high school girl that had played ball all her life, so the t shirts were different sizes. I had one row of smaller shirts, and I tried to use even the backs of the shirts if there was something cute on it. I even put appliques on the front and back. She loved it. The next one made used a variety of shirts, from rock concerts and ball games and high school and college. He loved it. They are very time consuming.

  14. #14
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    You need to stabilize the tee shirts and I tie mine.

  15. #15
    amorerm's Avatar
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    Here's complete instructions:

    http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/projec...t-quilt_1.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Catherine Marie
    Dear Friends:

    My DDIL wants me, in the New Year, to make a quilt out of Tshirts and other items of clothing from my twin grandsons. No doubt I will be dealing with various types of materials. Any tricks to quilting these together? Should I put a backing of some sort onto each piece? Are there any internet sites which might help?
    Thank you and here's hoping that all of those who celebrate this happy and holy time of Christmas enjoy the day and the season.

  16. #16
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    I have made two over the years, one had Tee shirts of a uniform size so I ironed lightweight interfacing to each one and then cut each one to 16" squares, used a sashing of cotton. Hand sewed, not hand quilted around each square to hold in place. The owner is still using it.
    The second one was made of shirts from a man's wife who died and they belonged to a Harley Davidson riding group, all different sizes and shapes of insignia so that one was a challenge.
    I cut the insignias larger than I wanted, ironed on the interfacing, cut them to the size I wanted and then basted the pieces onto fabric in an orderly manner. Put the three layers of quilt together and used the blind stitch hemmer to fasten the three layers into one. The man cried when he saw it and paid me extra for my work. There were enough shirts to make him a lap robe and the quilt.
    Tee shirts are not easy to work with but I wouldn't quilt over the painted surfaces, you would lose the effect. These are memory quilts and mean so much to the owners.

    Carol J.

  17. #17
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    To solve the problem of different sized motifs, I cut background fabric into larger sections, I think I used 18 X 24. Then I coul fuse various sized motifs to this.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by lindacope
    To solve the problem of different sized motifs, I cut background fabric into larger sections, I think I used 18 X 24. Then I coul fuse various sized motifs to this.
    Personally, I think T-shirt quilts are much more interesting when the motifs ARE different sizes.

    It allows for various settings, other than a boring 4x6 (or whatever) grid pattern, which is why most look the same.

  19. #19
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    I agree, I also could get away from having everything straight up and down, could slightly tilt the designs. I also could use the very small pieces as accents for the block.

  20. #20
    Senior Member vschieve's Avatar
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    I intend to make one out of my old sweatshirts from different ski resorts. Any tips on fusing the backs of sweats?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by vschieve
    I intend to make one out of my old sweatshirts from different ski resorts. Any tips on fusing the backs of sweats?
    Fabulous idea!

    The method would be the same as for fusing t-shirts to stabilize them so they can be pieced. And I think it's fine to use regular quilting cottons for the rest of the quilt even though the fabrics will be of different weights and thicknesses.

    However, when quilting, I would suggest that you absolutely DO quilt over the sweatshirt area to "keep it down," especially for after washings. I think if you just stitch in the ditch around the square, it would not keep it stable enough.

    The quilting, over the entire quilt, will make it more ...I can't find the right word. I want to say more cohesive and joined (but I'm not talking about the aesthetics).

    Please do post a picture when you're done.

    (I don't have the guts to cut up my 20 year-old Valle Nevado t-shirt, which I treasure. And it's not like I'm ever going to fit in it again.:wink: )

  22. #22
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    I have made many t-shirt quilts. I find using fusiable web as a stabalizer keeps them straight when cutting. My DH cut a 12"&14" square out of clear plexiaglass. I marked the center and I line up my t-shirts in the middle. This gives me the best idea of how it will look on the quilt. 14" seems better for larger t-shirts. Children I use 12" or smaller. I use corner stones and sashing between . I then knot them,but I knot them and tie them from underneath. That way the strings are underneath and doesn't distort the design. It is a little more work ,but I perfer to do mine this way. I agree most shops do not like to quilt them and usually won't say how they will turn out. Don't give up making them . People usually just want the memories recorded the best way you know how. Do your best workmanship and it will be rewarding

  23. #23
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    The two that I made were for my niece and nephew as graduation presents. Their mother had collected their shirts for their entire sports career (since they were 3 and 4 years old). It was so hard to choose which shirts to use, since there were so many. But she handed them all over to me and told me to go at it...there were a few specific ones that she knew she wanted in it, but she let me pick the rest. Had a blast doing it...and it's so much easier when you get to make your own creation.

    I also tied mine since they both ended up being queen size and I didn't want to attempt to run them thru the machine.

    Here's a pic of one of them:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  24. #24
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    I make T-shirt quilts in my business. I do not stitch over the emblems because they are rubberized and the machine needles do not like them at all and if your needle breaks on them, it leaves a nasty hole. I just do meandering stitches around them and down the sashing. I find that if they are stretched on a frame, they do much better. No matter how accurate you cut your shirts, they seem to hae a mind of their own and do not lay as flat as regular fabric.

  25. #25
    Junior Member OnTheGo's Avatar
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    Here's 1 I made for my daughter from her sorority tees in 2007. I used fusible batting that looked like felt on all pieces, sashing, cornertsones & all. Then I sewed it together in sections, leaving an inch or two extra backing around each square. It's better to leave extra that you can trim away than end up with too little. I put the blocks face to face and sewed a seam that would be like an open seam on the back, then triimmed off one side of the extra backing. I folded the other side (about 1 inch) over and turned under the raw edge & hand stitched it down. The extra backing made the binding, as well...just fold over and hand sew it down. I did not quilt it. I did top stitch on the sashing as I finished each block...before putting it together.

    Tee Shirt Quilt
    Name:  Attachment-147721.jpe
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    Attached Images Attached Images

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