The “How To” of T-Shirt Quilts

jessica-t-shirt-1Ever wanted to do something with all those t-shirts your kids get from school, sporting events, or dance recitals? How about all the ones your brother, husband, or sister have that they just can’t get rid of. Here’s the perfect solution to save those memories and make something that they will cherish for a long time.

T-shirts are tricky to work with. They are very stretchy and not conducive to behaving when trying to sew them like quilter’s cotton. Consequently you have to back them with a permanent iron on interfacing to make them stable. My procedure is to cut the design from the front or back of the t-shirt as large as you can get it. For adult t-shirts you will probably need to cut as much as possible or more, so as not to lose any of the design. Eventually you will cut the finished block to 12.5″  You can cut children’s sizes accordingly. Next,  I recommend using Pellon lightweight or medium weight interfacing that is ironed on the back of the block/design. Another great product to work with is Pellon Wisper Weft. It works the same way as shirt weight interfacing and is just as stable to tame the t-shirt stretch. The light weight interfacing is a softer hand and will show more old fashioned quilting puffiness. Medium weight interfacing gives a flatter look. Whisper Weft is between the two. Continue reading “The “How To” of T-Shirt Quilts”

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Embroidery Tips & Tricks

I taught a class the other day called “Embroidery 101”. In this class I teach new and returning embroiders about the new stabilizers, how to use which needle and which thread for different applications in embroidery.

hankieOne of the questions I was asked was the best way to embroider on handkerchiefs. Yes, people still like to carry a handkerchief. They are also wonderful gifts for weddings, birthdays, or for a special occasion like a graduation. Anything that you want to remember. You may want to give a lady a lovely handkerchief with crochet edges or lace. Maybe a nice manly handkerchief with his initial in the corner. Handkerchiefs are best embroidered on a wash away stabilizer. I like Floriani Wet n Gone, Wet and Gone Tacky, and I have used a product called Vilene. Most water soluble stabilizer will do. You can hoop the stabilizer and hankie or you can also “float” the hankie on top of the tacky if you don’t want to hoop both. There’s a wonderful video and tutorial on EmbLibrary (link at right) if you are like me, and want a visual to help you learn.

Remember to wind a bobbin to match your top thread because the design will be seen on both sides. You can use regular 40wt embroidery thread, or you can use can use a nice heirloom cotton that’s anywhere from 60wt to 100wt. 6owt is a nice look if you want a delicate look. Thread  Art (see links at right) carries 60wt polyester thread in all colors to use as main thread, or bobbin thread to match 40wt embroidery thread. Be sure to use a 75/11 embroidery needle so your hole punches aren’t noticeable.

Check out All About Blanks (link at right). They have some lovely blank handkerchiefs.

I’ll be writing more of these short “Tips” that will answer a question someone may have.

Until next time …. happy sewing.

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Never Enough Fabric!

We’ve talked about threads, needles, stabilizers, etc. but let’s get to the best part of sewing, …. fabric! We’re getting ready to start a new project and we  look through our “fabric stash” but somehow we just don’t have all the right fabrics and colors we need for what we want to do. Sound familiar?  So, we have to postpone starting the project until we can get to our local fabric stores. They have some of what we want, but not all. We go home with our new purchases and then go online to find the rest. Now we  wait until  the newly purchased online fabric arrives…… Meantime, we are itching to make something, so we go back to our stash and find something to temporarily satisfy our desire to create.

Solution! When you see a fabric you like, buy it! Don’t know how much to buy? Decide if the fabric is a “focus” fabric or a small print or marbled “blend-able”. If it’s a focus fabric like a large print that’s very distinct, buy at least 1 yard and if you can afford it buy 1 1/2 or 2 yards. Distinct fabrics are generally only produced one time. When the fabric is gone from your local quilt shop, you won’t get it again. If desperate,  you might find it online at Equilter.com, Fabric.com, Connecting Threads,  Missouri Star Quilt Company or Keepsake Quilting.  (see creative links on right).  They have the warehouse space to purchase a lot more bolts than your local quilt shops can. Continue reading “Never Enough Fabric!”