Monday, June 22, 2009

Well, the doors still aren't done. They ordered the wrong hinges and the sweep still isnt in, or is in, but the hinges are reordered, I can't keep track.

In the meantime, I finished a Tshirt quilt I did as a commission. I've sworn her to secrecy though, as this is not something I want to get in the habit of. I did promise to make one for her second child. That may be my last one. They aren't hard to do, and I think the second one will be easier.
First, decide on the size of your squares. I chose 16" because she wanted a twin size quilt and most of the shirts I had to work with were large. A large square also set off the image from the shirts so each one was distinct and clear.

Before cutting the tshirts to size, I ironed on lightweight knit interfacing. This was a significant portion of the cost since each shirt needed 1/2 yard of interfacing. Once the shirts were faced, I cut them to size. They were much easier to handle at this point; the edges did not curl and the shirts did not stretch much. I used a 16 1/2" square template and rotary cutter to cut them so I did not have to reposition or rotate the shirts, avoiding stretching them out of square. I really think this is very important to accurate cutting and piecing.

Some shirts, however, were from Little League and smaller than the 16 1/2" I needed to cut. For some, I cut them open up the back and horizontally through the back of the sleeves. This allowed the shirt to open flat and gave me the size I needed by including part of the sides and arms. Most tshirts don't have a side seam, so no problem there, but cutting this way does include the sleeve seam and part of the sleeve. For others, I cut a smaller square of the image and used the back of another shirt to add borders, or appliqued the smaller square onto the back.

The person this was made for played baseball, so some shirts were not standard tshirts. Some were V necks or had more of a scooped neck with 3-4 buttons. For these shirts, the buttons would have created a problem if I cut them the same as the tshirts. I cut them at the shoulders and used the back or the sleeves to fill in the neckline. The button plackets were basted before being pieced. I even created a pocket using one of the the button plackets by using a sleeve and attaching it before piecing the front. V neck shirts were treated the same way, with sleeves used for filler in the neckline.

In these pics, you can see some of these adaptions. The "G-Unit" shirt, top right, has the placket stitched down and I used the back of the shirt to fill in the neckline, matching the stripes. The Marlins shirt was so small! I appliqued it onto the plain back of a white shirt. The green Fall Ball shirt, second row on the right, unbuttons to reveal a remote control sized pocket. The Red Sox shirt next to it has a border sewn onto it to get the right size. I used the back of the shirt for the blue pieces and a separate shirt's sleeves for the red squares.

The green 2 shirt in this picture was a soccer shirt with just that tiny logo on the front. I used the number on the back and the logo from the front and pieced this shirt. There is also a red 7 shirt pieced the same way.

I did a sample layout for the client. I laid the squares on a sheet on the patio and took the picture from inside the house to get the whole thing in one shot.

I then pieced the front. Because of the size, the back had to be pieced also. I did this horizontally and aligned the seam, which I topstitched on either side, with a horizontal seam on the front. I placed the fleece and tshirt top right sides together, sewed with a 1/2 inch seam all the way around except for two squares on the center bottom. Once the quilt was turned right side out and pin basted, I topstitched 1/2 inch around all edges, stitching 1/4 inch in the center bottom where the quilt was turned.
I used my machine to tie the two layers together at the intersection of the squares using invisible thread on the top and thread to match the fleece on the bottom. This worked really well as I had to check carefully to see where I still needed to tack. The stitches really disappeared on both sides.

Here are a few pics of the finished quilt:

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