How to Make a T-Shirt Quiltcomments (15) August 11th, 2008
Making the Quilt Face
1. Take your first t-shirt and cut a straight line down the middle of the back up to the collar of the shirt. Cut all the way around the collar to remove it. Then, cut off both of the sleeves of the shirt. For shirts that do not have seams on the sides, this gives you more fabric to work with. If the shirt does have seams up the side, you can cut off the back along those seams. Iron the fabric and repeat for all shirts.
2. At this point, you need to decide if you want all of your t-shirt panels to be the same size or if you want to only cut the design from the t-shirt and make the squares the same size using varying pieces of fabric. I just cut out the design on my shirts so I used the cutting mat and ruler to choose a length and width that was a certain number of inches. I cut the t-shirt to this size using the rotary cutter, mat, and edge of the ruler. You will also need to decide on a maximum size for your bigger designs. Since my final squares were going to be 14", my maximum length and width was 13", so that I could have a 0.5" border all the way around on even the biggest designs.
3. Once all of your t-shirts are cut, iron on fusible interfacing to the back of the shirts. This will help prevent stretching and make sewing on the machine MUCH easier.
4. Now, start adding borders to make your squares. Pin fabric strips face down onto your squares along the length or width of the t-shirt and sew using a straight stitch on your sewing machine and leaving 1/4" hem. Remove pins, press the border flat with iron, and then repeat on the open ends of the t-shirt. Contibue to add borders in a log cabin style until your square is at least 14" wide (bigger is okay because you can trim it down later). Repeat for all t-shirts.
5. Find a big surface to lay out all of your squares and decide on an order that works well. Starting with the first column on the left, you are going to sew all of the squares in that column into a large strip by placing the second square down, face-down and upside-down onto the first square. Pin the bottom edge and sew with a straight stitch. Remove pins and press. Repeat for all squares in the column. Then repeat for all columns.
6. Next sew all of your columns together. Place the second column facedown on top of the first and pin the edge between the two. Sew with a straight stitch, remove pins, and press. Repeat until all columns are attached.
7. I added a border to my quilt face in the same way I added borders to my squares: I sewed a long strip to the top and bottom of the quilt and to both sides. My sources recommended that for turning a quilt (directions to follow) you should use the same fabric for your border that you are using to back the quilt because some might show through.
Quick-turning a Quilt
I used directions from this site because they were the most clear ones that I found. Quick-turning really only makes sense if you are planning to tie your quilt, so if you are planning on quilting, you will probably have to return to Mary Ray's great tutorial on binding. You will also want to reverse the order of the steps and quilt before you bind.
1. Make a sandwich with the batting on the bottom, the backing face up in the middle, and the quilt top face down on top. Your quilt top should be slightly smaller than the backing and batting so you can trim the bottom two layers accordingly.
2. Pin through all three layers around the outside of the quilt top leaving a 20-inch gap in the middle of one of the sides. Also put a pins through all of the layers in a couple of spots throughout the middle of your quilt.
3. Sew around all four sides with a straight stitch, leaving a 1/4" hem and stopping before the 20-inch unpinned gap. Trim excess batting and backing to be even with the quilt top's edge.
4. Remove pins (don't forget the ones in the middle of the quilt) and begin to roll the quilt, working from the edge farthest from the opening towards the opening. Continue until all of the quilt is rolled near the opening and then flip it through the opening, inside out. Unroll the quilt on the other side, sandwiching the batting and backing. Tug to get all of the layers lined up and hand-stitch the gap closed.