Early last year I showed you how I organise my refashioning stash. In amongst the clothes waiting to be upcycled, was a bunch of 100% cotton shirts in good condtion. 18 months later and it was time to repurpose those shirts into something new - a shirt quilt.
I have to say, I am absolutely thrilled with how my shirt quilt has turned out. What's even better, it effectively cost me nothing to make. The shirts were all given to me, the sashing, border and backing fabric came from my stash, and the bamboo batting was left over from my first ever quilted project - the retro flower power cushion.
OK, technically I once had to pay for the batting, but that was five years ago. The sashing, border and backing fabric was bought for next to nothing on sale, again, a long time ago.
To make each block...
- Cut 2" x 8" strips of shirting
- Sew 5 strips together with a ¼" seam
- Press seams
- Trim to 7" x 7"
Whether you press seams to the side or open, is a matter of choice. I now press seams to the side.
Repeat until you have 30 blocks. Lay the blocks out and play with positioning until you are happy with the layout.
Attach the sashing...
- Cut lengths of fabric 1½" wide
- Sew the sashing to the blocks that will form the columns
- Sew the columns together with sashing in between
Sew the border...
- Cut lengths of fabric 2½" wide
- Sew to the sides
- Sew to the top and bottom
If necessary, square the quilt.
Your quilt top is finished and it's time to make a quilt sandwich. Place the batting (wadding) in between the backing fabric and the quilt top. Batting and backing fabric will be larger than the quilt top. For the first time, I did this step on a table and it worked really well. My quilt is reasonably small, but I found this YouTube video very helpful, even though I didn't follow that method exactly.
I always pin baste my quilts. I just know I'd make a mess spray basting. 12 Tips for Basting a Quilt has lots of links to useful resources on the topic.
Being a small quilt, this one was easy to quilt - no pushing and shoving a thick quilt through the throat of the machine. I didn't even bother with quilting gloves, which I normally use. Canoe Ridge Creations shows her tips & techniques for straight line quilting.
Initially I was going to bind the shirt quilt with blue, the same as the border, and if the quilt was intended for a male, that's probably what I would have ended up doing. I wanted a contrast for the backing - something pretty and not shirt related. As soon as I found the small blue floral in my stash, I new it would work.
When I first bound a quilt with backing fabric, I thought it was cheating, but readers told me otherwise, and I've since seen it done many times. I was going to show you how I do this step, but I was so keen to finish, I forgot to take photos. Cluck Cluck Sew does her quilt backing binding exactly as I do mine, except that I use Clover Wonder clips instead of pins, and mine is hand sewn instead of machine sewn. Next time I'll take photos, but in the meantime, the hand stitching is the same method I used for appliquéing a hexagon flower to a zippered pouch.
The finished quilt measures 41" x 48", so should be the right size for a lap quilt, to snuggle under while watching TV or reading a book.
It's been two years since I made my last quilt, the Barcelona Strip and Flip Quilt. The shirt quilt makes six quilts in total. I do have two more quilt tops finished...
Decisions, decisions - which to work on next?
I'll be adding the shirt quilt to the Quilting & Patchwork link party, here at Threading My Way - 260+ quilting projects added so far.
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