BAM! Quilt! Part 1

You may (or may not) know this about me: I graduated from Auburn University in 2009.  Another random fact?  I am a member of Omega Phi Alpha, National Service Sorority.  One more for good measure? Sororities give out a lot of tee shirts.  Like, a lot.

Now, I don’t really wear tee shirts but I don’t want to get rid of the chronicle of my college life, so I decided to do what any reasonable crafter would do…I made a quilt.

I’ve read a few blog posts from people who have done similar things, but none of them really looked like what I wanted to do, so this is an original tutorial.  Also, it’s broken up into parts, because it’s a pretty long one.

If you work straight through and nothing shiny distracts you, you could probably finish this quilt in a weekend.  If, however, your power goes out and you have to give your cat a bath and then you get a new job and the stomach flu, this might take a bit longer.  I started about a month ago and worked on it in fits and spurts.  Also, I made a lap quilt, which measures 48″ x 60″, so if your quilt is smaller/larger, the time will be relative.

I used my sorority tees, but this would work just as well with any collection of tees.  How cute would a quilt be with all of your kid’s little league uniforms? All of my blocks are the same size, but I’ve also seen quilts out of baby clothes which are more mosaic-ish in nature.

Anyway, here’s what you need for this quilt

– A mess of tee shirts

– Fusible  interfacing

– Fabric for backing

– Quilt binding (make your own or buy some, I bought mine at JoAnne Fabric)

– Quilt batting

– Coordinating thread

– General sewing supplies (pins, scissors, etc.)

– Sewing Machine

– Large pieces of cardboard

– Cutting mat

– Rotary Cutter

Here’s what you do (Directions for a 48″ x 60″ Quilt) :

Start by making sure that your tees are all clean, and wash and dry your back fabric according to the care instructions.  When buying fabric, make sure to take into account that the fabric may shrink and buy enough to compensate for that.  For a large quilt, you may have to piece together a piece large enough to cover the whole area.  I chose a plaid, which ended up being a HUGE pain because I had to stress about keeping it straight, so a solid or print would be best.  Unless you’re really into masochism….

Cut a piece of heavy cardboard into a 13″ x 17″ rectangle.  This will act as your template to create 16, 12″ x 16″ blocks.  If you don’t have enough shirts, you can cut a smaller piece and make one block out of several left chest designs.  Trim off the sleeves and neck bands from your shirts with scissors and then cut them up the sides to separate front and back.  For some shirts, you will be able to use both the front and back.  Others will only be useful once.

Lay the cardboard over the shirt and use your cutter to cut out a rectangle.  Work carefully to keep from cutting up the template.

Continue until you have cut all the blocks and use the same template to cut out pieces of fusible interfacing.  The interfacing will keep the shirt pieces stable as you sew.  I bought interfacing by the foot, but it also comes in packages.  The stuff I used was specifically designed for knits.  Follow the package instructions to adhere it to your fabric pieces.

Lay out all of your block on a flat neutral-colored surface (I used my bed with everything but the fitted sheet pulled back) and arrange them for composition.  Try to keep the colors evenly dispersed and keep similar designs away from each other.  This actually took a bit of doing, and it’s helpful to have a friend take a look at it to see if anything jumps out at them.  When you’re satisfied with the design, take a photo so you don’t forget the correct arrangement.

Part 2 will be published on Monday! Stay tuned!

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!