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Thread: t-shirt quilts without the stabilizer... can it be done?

  1. #26
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Take some t-shirt fabric and try a 1:1 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water on it. (I paint this on with a large wall-painting brush, toss in the dryer, then iron with steam.) You will be able to tell if it stiffens the t-shirt material enough. I think it will, but I haven't actually done it with t-shirt material so don't know for sure.

    Another option is to use MistyFuse. Although this is a fusible, it is *extremely* light and will not add stiffness. You would need a Teflon or applique pressing sheet to do this, as it does not have a paper backing. Amazon has some reviews of MistyFuse.

    I have used tricot fusible for some applications. It does add less stiffness than other fusibles, but also adds some weight and thickness to the fabric.

    I would perhaps experiment on old t-shirts (maybe from the thrift shop?) with these techniques to find the best one.

  2. #27
    Member Leezer's Avatar
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    I've made many T-Shirt quilts and use an iron on tricot on the back of the shirts. The tricot is so soft and you don't even know it's there. There is a stretch to this tricot so you lay it on the shirt with the stretch going the opposite direction from the stretch of the shirt. I have never had a hard or stiff quilt top doing it this way. Or you could use a serger to put the pcs together. Because they stitch so fast and have such a long foot for some reason it doesn't allow the shirts to stretch. I have never had a problem using either of the above ways. They always come out soft and cuddly.

  3. #28
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    I got a stabilizer at Walmart that made my T-shirts feel just like cotton. The quilt ended up being nice, soft and cuddly. It comes in a plastic bag and usually hangs in the back of the fabric isle.

  4. #29
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    My goodness, I have not heard the term Turkey Trac, can you explain, I have a T shirt quilt ready to start and had thought I would use the base and place shirt pieces random on the top, then quilt it, your idea seems more appealing...
    I am using a knit camo backing so I have to decide how to keep that from stretching....thanks for your help...memepeggy

  5. #30
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    I have made several tee shirt quilts and read much of the experts advice about them before I started ----- the tricot iron on interfacing is perfect - stays soft and pliable. Do as Dakotamaid said above -- put the stretch of the tricot in the opposite direction of the stretch of the tee shirts.

  6. #31
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    ckcowl, you have just saved me so much effort and work...I am beginning a T shirt quilt for great grand son, am doing T shirts on front which is cotton, then using knit for backing...had planned to quilt after making top, now with your idea will just tack or tie in places, did not even consider this until now...wow..the back is camo knit and front base is muddled tan (color of sand) so it should work out fine..thanks memepeggy

  7. #32
    amorerm's Avatar
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    Here's link for T-Shirt quilt and instructions. You can download this file.....http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/projec...t-quilt_2.html

    Hope this helps

  8. #33
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    T-shirts will stretch out of shape unless you stabilize them. When I make t-shirt quilts I use a light iron on stabilizer that I get at Joann's by the bolt. It is usually 20" wide. It is light weight enough not to make the t-shirts stiff, but keep their shape. You might try getting a sample of this stabilizer and iron it on a scrap of t-shirt to see if you like the feel of it. I still used warm & natural between the t-shirts and the backing of the quilt.

  9. #34
    Member arheath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildyard
    I have just been asked by a local radio "personality" who has had the same show for 38 years to make a quilt for him from his collection of themed t-shirts. This is a great honor to me as I am a great fan of all he has done and represents.
    Here is my problem and question:
    Every t-shirt quilt I have ever felt, has not been soft and cuddley because of the feel of the iron on stabilizer. I, and he, really want this quilt to be very soft. I will use flannel or fleece for the backing. If I use fleece, then I will use a layer of sheet between since the fleece and knit are both so stretchy. So, here is my question:
    Any suggestions out there about how to best accomplish my goal without using the iron on stabilizer that will stiffen the t-shirt knit?
    Could I starch it enough for sewing, then wash the starch out? Could I pin it a lot and stitch each square to a backing of sheet fabric? Could I do it like a rag quilt with the t-shirt for the front and fleece for the back?
    As you see, I'm full of ideas with no idea which way to go. I will make sample squares trying all these methods if necessary, just hoping some of you can save me some steps.
    Hugs and smiles and thanks!!!
    I used the directions from a book called "How to Make a Too Cool T-Shirt Quilt" by Andrea T. Funk. She uses no stabilizer at all and it works.

  10. #35
    Super Member azdesertrat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by featherweight
    Sorry, I would not attempt to make a t-shirt quilt without some Tricot stabilizer. The shirts are hard enough to work with with stabilizer let alone not using it. I think it is a lot more work to not use it.. JMHO
    Me too!

  11. #36
    Super Member moreland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildyard
    I have just been asked by a local radio "personality" who has had the same show for 38 years to make a quilt for him from his collection of themed t-shirts. This is a great honor to me as I am a great fan of all he has done and represents.
    Here is my problem and question:
    Every t-shirt quilt I have ever felt, has not been soft and cuddley because of the feel of the iron on stabilizer. I, and he, really want this quilt to be very soft. I will use flannel or fleece for the backing. If I use fleece, then I will use a layer of sheet between since the fleece and knit are both so stretchy. So, here is my question:
    Any suggestions out there about how to best accomplish my goal without using the iron on stabilizer that will stiffen the t-shirt knit?
    Could I starch it enough for sewing, then wash the starch out? Could I pin it a lot and stitch each square to a backing of sheet fabric? Could I do it like a rag quilt with the t-shirt for the front and fleece for the back?
    As you see, I'm full of ideas with no idea which way to go. I will make sample squares trying all these methods if necessary, just hoping some of you can save me some steps.
    Hugs and smiles and thanks!!!
    Well, you could use iron on woven tricot interfacing. It is soft and would not interfere with the soft feel of your quilt. I think you would not be very happy with a traditional type quilt without somekind of stabilizer for the t-shirts.

  12. #37
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    I wouldn't recomend it. Tee shirt fabric stretches and the long arm quilters I know, won't quilt a tee shirt quilt unless the fabric is stabilized.

  13. #38
    Super Member MaggieLou's Avatar
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    I would get a really lightweight stabalizer like the ones they use for silk or any lightweight material. It would keep the T-shirts from stretching and would still be soft.

  14. #39
    Senior Member MomtoBostonTerriers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatriceJ
    i'm in the process of making a t-shirt quilt. i'm not using any stabilizer at all. i've simply spray basted the t-shirts to the batting. each block is backed with scrap muslin. since i'm stippling around the motifs, the shirts remain flat.

    i'm making it up as i go along, so i have no idea yet what the final layout will be. it'll be a quilt-as-i-go. these are a few of the "blocks" so far.

    once the top is cobbled together, i'm going to flip it over and use turkey tracks to fasten the pieced back. the stitches will go through the muslin and batting, but not show on the front.
    PatriceJ,

    Your stippling is to die for! Can I come take lessons from you? Shouldn't take more than a few years to teach me how to do this.

  15. #40
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    I'm takeing a class and we are going to be using Non woven fusible lightweight interfacing. The teacher said doesn't make the blocks stiff.

  16. #41
    Senior Member charhend's Avatar
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    My neighbor just asked me to make one for her granddaughter...Another friend of mine makes them all the time for other people and she told me to use:Pellon sheer-knit-Fusible White. I am going to Joann's this week to purchase mine. The product # is SK135. Hope this helps. Yes, it is soft! If you go at the end of this week I am quite sure that it is on AD for 50% off.

  17. #42
    Senior Member kellen46's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feather3
    Floriani has a "No show nylon mesh fusible" stabilizer designs for knits. It comes in iron on & it supposed to stay soft & flexible. Info on this product:

    http://www.rnkdistributing.com/pid-6...-Fusible_.html

    I don't have a site where to buy it tho. You'll need to do a google search.
    This is a very stoft stabalizer and would work well. Try Nancy's Notions.com for it.

  18. #43

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    I made a t shirt quilt for my husband and did use very heavy stabilizer, after it was washed and dried a time or two it softened up nicely.

  19. #44
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    I wonder if you pull it snug and pin it to an already quilted batting.
    Like a mattress pad. I just got one from a thrift store, cut off the excess and it looks like it'll make a nice couch throw, nice and warm and still a trifle stretchy but it won't get out of control. I'm backing it with fleece, which I've washed several times with a color catcher.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildyard
    Quote Originally Posted by Feather3
    Floriani has a "No show nylon mesh fusible" stabilizer designs for knits. It comes in iron on & it supposed to stay soft & flexible. Info on this product:

    http://www.rnkdistributing.com/pid-6...-Fusible_.html

    I don't have a site where to buy it tho. You'll need to do a google search.
    Thanks for this information, I'll see what I can find on it.
    Fusi-knit is an iron-on knit stabilizer and it will be 50% off this weekend at Joann's. I used to use it on all my wearable art vests so I wouldn't feel like I was wearing a bullet-proof jacket!

    Peggy

  21. #46
    Senior Member Angellight's Avatar
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    Didn't look thru the entire post, BUT, think about using the iron on POLYESTER stabilizer. It will hold it together, but is not as stiff. On the other hand it may also stretch a bit and cause some other issues.

    Just a thought.

    Good Luck & happy quilting,
    Susan

  22. #47
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    I have made a t-shirt quilt and I used the iron on stabilizer with the bumps on one side and soft on the other. I bought it light weight. It was not hard when finished and it did keep them in place so that the tshirts would not stretch. I can't recall the actual name of the ................oooooooo.......yea fusible interfacing otherwise as I refer to it as "bumpy stuff" anyway you purchase the lightweight and press it to the tshirt and then cut up your square to the size you want.

    I was going to suggest maybe the spray adhesive on muslin also. Don't overspray.

    I think most of the people I know that have made a tshirt quilt around here feel better with the fusible lightweight interfacing. There is a quilt shop in Albuquerque who from time to time has classes for this you might give them a call. (I know it's far away but maybe they will give you a couple of ideas). The name of the shop is Quilt Works and they can put you in touch with one of their instructors. Good luck on your tshirt quilt.

  23. #48
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    I am in the process of making a T-shirt quilt right now. I didn't use the papery feeling stabilizer. I use a knit stabilizer, making the stretch of the stabilizer go up and down when ironed to the T-shirt that stretches side to side. It doesn't stretch anymore. Some of the T-shirts seem stiff in places, but I think that is the amount of ink on them. Hope this helps. Ann

  24. #49
    Junior Member TPr9258's Avatar
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    Have done t-shirt quilt both with and without stabilizer, the one without I did with te tear away. It ended up being more costly but it was really soft, used fleece as batting and used quilters flannel as backing. It turned out very nice and next time will spend the money to do taht again. Like I said it is more costly both in money and time. Take your time and it works well. GOOD LUCK!

  25. #50
    Junior Member JudyMN's Avatar
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    I made a quilt with my son's t-shirts. I just cut two squares the same size - one from the front and one from the back. I placed the second square with the stretch going the opposite direction pinning them closely so the block wouldn't stretch. It worked and is very soft and cuddly.

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