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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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!”

Flannel Plaid is “Rad”

The weather is getting cooler, and those flannel PJ’s, quilts and throws are looking pretty cozy about now. Even in the south there are times when flannel feels awfully good. Flannel backing on a cotton top quilt makes your quilt feel so nice and snugly when curled up on a couch with hot chocolate and a good book.

Flannel needs special handling and if you don’t know these things, a beautiful quilt, that you put a lot of work, heart, and soul into, can end up looking awful over time. The most important part of working with Flannel is the prep work. It’s vital to not only pre-wash, but also machine dry and starch, because Flannel shrinks significantly. Continue reading “Flannel Plaid is “Rad””

The History of Quilts

donnas-star-1Quilts have been around for a long time but they started out as a necessity. They were made of old clothing, ragged blankets, or whatever fabric the pioneers could find.  I guess you could call it, early recycling. If they were wealthy enough or lucky enough to get hold of some nice fabric then those quilts turned into beautiful artistic treasures that were  handed down through the generations. All the piecing and quilting was done by hand and could take years to make depending on the designs. These quilts were made of many different blocks or one or two of the same blocks

The “blocks” as they are called all had specific names and for the most part those names have survived and not changed much since their inception.  There are always new ones that creative quilters come up with but your traditional  blocks are still the same, like the Churn Dash, Pinwheel,  Rail Fence, 9 Patch, the various stars and my favorite, the Log Cabin.

Quilts were made for different occasions. Like for a wedding, for a new baby, or just because! But during the Civil War, they were made to help direct escaping black slaves to the next safe house on the Underground Railroad. These quilts were made of one pattern. A pattern that would tell the slaves if that house would give refuge, or food, or a warning that slave catchers were nearby. I’ve heard some people say this isn’t true. Knowing quilters, I would like to believe these stories are true. Continue reading “The History of Quilts”