Thursday, June 19, 2014

Shirts to sleep under

Here's a project I finished up recently - a t-shirt quilt for my friend's son. I was waiting until it was gifted to them to share the pics. She sent me a box of baseball team shirts and gave me free rein (or maybe I should say, free reign) to do anything I wanted with them. Fortunately, they were happy with the result!

I have now made a grand total of TWO  t-shirt quilts in my life so I wouldn't necessarily consider myself an expert, but I do have a few hints I can share. They can be fun to make, but there are a few things that make them different - most importantly, the fabric you are working with.
The first step is to determine what you have to work with and then what you are going to do with them. The ten shirts I had were the mostly the same, differing by # and sponsor name for each year. The shirts also varied a little by size since they covered many years of kids' baseball. I also figured I could use the Mets name logo and there were some small patches on the sleeves that I worked into the corners and the nine-patches. From the pic above you can see my 12 1/2" square ruler fit nicely over the number so I knew I would most likely be working with 12 1/2" blocks. The height on the Mets logo was about 6-7" so that would work well into the border. Here's a look at my game plan going in:
Very high tech design process, I know. The only fabric purchases I needed to make this work was for the sashing, backing and binding. The cornerstones and nine-patch fabrics were from my stash.

Before you actually cut your squares out from your t-shirts, you need to stabilize them - this is a must. T-shirt material is kind of dicey to work with anyway and I can't even imagine trying to make one of these without stabilizer. I used a lightweight iron-on fusible stabilizer from Pellon but there are many available.
I cut my fusible squares about and inch or so bigger than my final block size to give myself some wiggle room for centering.

Here's a square of fusible on the wrong side of the fabric, centered over the # logo.
Follow the manufacturer's directions for ironing on your fusible for whichever one you choose, but I highly recommend using a pressing sheet or a scrap piece of muslin over it while pressing to keep your iron clean. Also, be sure your iron isn't too hot. If it is, the fusible will shrink right up, distort and just about melt (ask me how I know.) I also skip the steam. Wet fusible isn't a good idea either. Once the fusible is ironed in place, trim down your block to the final size, in this case 12 1/2".
Voila! This block is ready to go!
I repeated the same process with different sized pieces of fusible on the Mets logos and the sleeve logos. O.k., now to the design wall. Here's how it looked in process...
At this point, I was trying out fabric for the sashing and figuring out the borders. Striped fabric works really well for sashing, especially if you are working with plainer t-shirts. Other hints for piecing these: I still used a 1/4" seam allowance throughout and I pressed my seems to one side as opposed to open. If you use a light enough fusible, you won't have any trouble with extra bulk.

From the beginning, I thought the backing for this quilt would be baseballs but on multiple trips to the shops, nothing was jumping out at me. (I almost always buy fabric for my backs after I've finished the top - mainly because I don't always know what the finished size will be. My plans often change midway through :) But in this case, I went with this fun sneaker print that I found at my LQS, Fabric-Etc.:
I used the same striped fabric for the binding and the sashing (also from Fabric-Etc.) Stripes are also a favorite of mine for bindings. The water motif quilting was done by my awesome LAQ - Tracey. She did a great job, as always. :) The finished quilt ended up being about 52"x65".

Maybe the best thing about a t-shirt quilt, is that they are instantly user-friendly. The t-shirts have usually gone through many washings before making their way into the quilt and the t-shirts are personal and special to the person who wore them. So it makes an especially nice way to give them back to that special person in your life, the memories they capture and the future good naps they ensure.

Happy stitching,


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Time to set the table

My scrappy summer table runner project continues. Here's the layout option I chose:

Original option #7

quilted, bound and ready for the table.

I quilted it free motion using Leah Day's pattern called "Paisley". If you haven't checked out her website - DO! It's awesome. She does great demo videos, tons of designs and she shares all of her knowledge for FREE! It's a great resource.
Half-way there...

The Paisley design I chose was very fun and pretty easy. Of course, the longer you do it, the better you get. I had some speed issues on the widest curve but overall, I was happy with my FM effort this time around.

After quilting, I decided to round off the edges. This is super easy to do using an everyday dinner plate. I just lined up the edges at each corner and chopped them off! The only other thing you have to do differently is to use binding cut on the bias so that you can bend around the edges.
No measuring necessary - just make sure the plate touches both edges.

the bits...

the finished project in its new home

Cost for this project:
scrap 1 1/2" strips: 0
scrap batting leftover from a bigger project: 0
1/2 yard backing taken from stash: I'm counting this as 0 since it was at least 5+ years old!
fat quarter from my stash for the binding: 0

= a totally free project!

(The most expensive thing on this table now is the awesome, hand-painted wooden platter I scored at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago for $1! Got to love that!)

Happy summer stitching,