How To Start A T-shirt Quilt

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1. Gather shirts and wash them 🙂
2. What if you can’t find a shirt? Check with friends from that team or group….maybe they are willing to part ways with their shirt. Sometimes a special shirt can even be ordered online to replace one. Sometimes, you can find the desired shirt in your school’s “lost and found”!!
3. Find a quilter! (That’s where I come into the picture!)
4. Meet with your quilter and talk through who will be receiving the quilt; talk about the quilt recipient’s personality; make sure your quilter knows color likes and dislikes; discuss the style you would prefer for your quilt; talk about the back of the quilt and how you would like it – simple design, decorative fabric, soft fabric, warm fabric, or maybe the back is not that
important to you!
5. Preparation of the shirts: I prepare the shirts by ironing on a light fusible interfacing to each shirt. This allows the shirts to be sewn together without the shirts stretching in weird ways – because then you can’t read logos and words!
6. The shirts are cut and arranged into a temporary layout. At this point, I take a picture and send it to the client to be sure they are happy with where each shirt is placed. My goal is to position shirts so that the colors are dispersed nicely across the quilt and not to put all the white or gray t-shirts all together. However, sometimes a very favorite shirt needs to be near the center of the shirt regardless of color!
7. After approval of the layout, the quilt top is sewn together. At this point, if there will be borders in the quilt, they are added. I like to choose borders based on the client’s favorite colors or school colors, etc.
8. The quilt is ready to be quilted…..I take the three layers: the quilt top, the middle layer which is the batting and the back layer of fabric and load them onto my 12 foot long arm machine.
9. Once the quilt is finished, it needs a binding to hold the three layers together. This fabric can blend in with your outside border or be used as a decorative feature like a striped fabric.
10. Once the quilt is finished, I offer a personalized label for my clients. They decide what they
want to say to their special person – some folks like to add in a quote or a Bible verse, others keep it short and simple with an “I love you” and the date.
11. The quilt is delivered and ready to be gifted to that special someone!!
As you can see, quilts take a piece of your history and put it all together to tell a little bit about a special time in your life: college, high school, sororities, fraternities, a favorite sports team era, running years of Peachtree Road Races, weddings, remembrance quilts and babies.
Maybe it’s time to gather your shirts, dust them off and have something memorable created with them! It’s the perfect recycling (up cycling?!) thing to do! 🙂
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