Monday, November 7, 2011

T-shirt Memory Quilts--Step by Step

This one's for Daniel
This past summer I learned a new trick in making t-shirt quilts which worked pretty well, and seemed a little easier--at least for kid-sized quilts.  I used pre-printed fusible bonding material which was printed  diagonally (on point).  You will also need a teflon ironing mat, or paper to iron through so you don't melt the t-shirt patters, and don't get the sticky fusing on your iron.

Before you begin, collect at least 9-15 T-shirts that have meaning to the child, and make sure the colors will work together.  Decide on a tentative pattern.  Often you can use the back as well as the front of the shirts.

Step 1.  Cut out T-shirts fronts (or backs)  to match the size of the fusible grid.  Usually 8" x 8" but can be bigger.  Cut out accompanying material to correct size, if you are alternating it with T-shirt fronts like I did.  Decide how you want them to be laid out.  (I usually do this on the floor.)  Place them on the fusible grid in the order you want them.  I use a large table to work on, once I start ironing.
Step 2.  Layout your shirts and fabric onto the sticky side of a fusible grid material.  Pin into place.  Then place an ironing I (teflon) mat or paper on the top of the shirts, press with high heat, so it fuses to the grid.  You don't want to get any of the sticky stuff on your iron, hense the paper. 
Step 3.  Trim off any overhang on the corners, or edges.

Step 4. Once all the blocks are in place like this, you are ready to add the sashing.

Next iron the sashing (narrow strips between blocks) into place.  Again you use the teflon ironing mat. Iron each sashing strip clear across each row.

You can use alternating colors if you wish like this. I added the long strips of black first, then the 8 " strips of red.  Once they are fused to the backing, you are ready to sew.

Step 5. Once everything is ironed into place, carefully fold along each line and stitch 1/4 " seams.   You are stitching through 4 layers -- 2 fabrics + 2 fusible grids. Do all the rows in one direction first, then carefully fold the opposite direction, and stitch these.  You will be stitching through 8 layers where the rows cross on this step.  Go slowly and evenly, so everything lines up straight.

Step 6.  When you finish press once more on the top, using the ironing mat.  Then add borders to enlarge the quilt, or enhance the design.  Add batting and a backing, or in this case I just added fleece.  With that you don't need additional batting. and then tie or quilt it.  This quilt is tied.

This is also a grid t-shirt quilt finished for Hailey in July.  For both quilts I used contrasting sashing, but now looking at them, I think it might have been more impactful, to use the darker color for both directions.

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