My mom is in charge of putting on a camp each year called G.A. Camp. It is a camp for 1st – 6th grade girls and it’s focus is on missions. My mom has run this camp for over 20 years and it is a super special place to me and my family. Each year, there is a new camp t-shirt with the week’s theme and a Bible verse to go along with it. (So funny, as I am writing this, I am wearing the 2007 camp shirt!)
Well, my mom has saved all of her shirts from over the years. Obviously, they are really special to her, but some are way too old to be worn anymore. So, for Christmas, I made her a T-Shirt Quilt! Now, that last sentence made it seem so nice and easy and exciting, right? Like, it just happened quickly or something. Ha! Okay, Let’s restate: So, for Christmas, I used all my sewing skills, learned many many more, and put a bunch of (well-worth) time into making my mom a T-Shirt Quilt! Okay, that’s better.
So you ask, “How did you make a t-shirt quilt?” Well, first I had a bunch of t-shirts. I then cut each front and back to make the squares. I can’t remember now how big I made my squares, but it was around 12-14″. You do not have to use the backs, but I decided to make the quilt harder and did squares on both sides. Another option is just to do squares on one side and then a solid fabric on the back. But, because some of the t-shirts had verses on the back, I wanted to include backs.
I then ironed on fusible interfacing to each square. This makes it so that the t-shirts do not stretch out while sewing. Now, I love the final product, but I do think the interfacing made it less soft. Not sure if there was another option there and I know it really helped in the sewing process, but it does make the quilt a little more firm.
Then, I decided on how I wanted the quilt to look. I laid them all out and decided on the front side and back side of the quilt. This was hard! Luckily, I had Jonny to the rescue! We had to figure out which colors looked best by each other and had to look at the word placement and yadayadayada. :) But finally – I had figured it out and it was finally time to sew!
I sewed columns at a time. So, I would start with the first column on the left, and sewed all of the squares in that column into a large strip. I did this by placing the second square down, face down and upside down, onto the first square. I would then sew the bottom edge. And would keep going like that.
Then, you sew your columns together by placing the second column on top of the first, face down and upside down, and then sewing the edge between the two. And then you just keep going!
Oh – and repeat everything just said for the back if you choose to do squares on the back.
Next, I added a border. I had found a cute polka-dotted border that brought in all the colors from the t-shirts. Adding the border was really hard for me because there were a lot of layers to sew through at that point and making it straight on both sides just became difficult. But, once that was done – it looked great and pretty much looked complete… except for one minor detail… the quilting! Ha!
Well, after much contemplation and going back and forth from machine-quilting or tying the quilt. I decided on tying because it seemed easier and frankly, I could not wrap my head around machine quilting this gigantic thing with my sewing machine. ha! So, tying it was and it was great!
I ended up tying at each corner and around each square at each halfway mark on all four sides. I really don’t know if what I said made sense, so reference the pictures below for clarity. I just poked through from the bottom and then back down from the top with an embroidery needle and embroidery floss. Then, I tied a knot and a bow. And, I repeated this a lot of times.
Finally – the quilt was complete! I was so happy with the finished product. I think it looks great and shows off all of the t-shirts. Here’s the front and the back:
So – that was a lot to type. And I tried really hard to have it make sense, but who knows. Here’s my disclaimer: It was hard! This quilt was much harder than I thought it would be. I am so so glad I did it for my mom and I know she loves it. But, I just want you to know that before you do it – it took me a lot of time. Now, that might be because I am still relatively new to this sewing thing, had never made a quilt before, and it was the biggest project I had ever taken on. But – just wanted to put that out there before you try. :)
I could not of done this thing alone either. First of all, Jonny was such a huge help. Thinking through things with me and helping me when I was stuck. Also, I used the website, craftstylish, which really broke down the steps and was my biggest resource on the process.