Whatcha Makin’? — T-Shirt Quilt Part2

Hey Y’all, I meant to get this up yesterday but I got a little behind. Freckles’
school year is winding down (finally!) and her class is putting on skits as anDSC08510 end of the year celebration. Well, she needed help making feet for her character; she’s a cat and wanted her feet to look like cat feet. So that is how I spent my Tuesday night – making cat feet. And cat ears. She was happy so that’s all that matters. 🙂


DSC08538And then yesterday I picked up my mom, who is recovering from shoulder surgery and can’t drive for
another couple of months, and we headed to the school for the Quarterly Awards Ceremony. Every quarter each class awards students for excelling in one of 9 areas: Art, Math, Language Arts, Music, Media, Spanish, PE, Technology, and Character (for displaying the qualities of their school pledge such as kindness, readiness to learn, respect, etc). This quarter Freckles was the Art Student of the Quarter. 🙂

So I’ve been a little behind on getting the next step of the t-shirt quilt done. But it is in progress!


Cut up t-shirts.

First though, I’d like to back up a little bit. There are two ways you can decide to go with your t-shirt pieces. You can choose to have all of the pieces from your shirts be the exact same size and piece it together more uniformly. The second option you have is to cut the t-shirt pieces different sizes, according to the size of the design/print that you are cutting out. This option is going to be a little harder to put together, kind of like a puzzle, but will also have a little more character in my opinion. For my quilt, I decided to cut the shirts based on the sizes of the designs. (Did I mention I ended up with 36 shirts??)


5 yards of fusible non-woven interfacing

Now that we’ve got our shirts picked out and cut up, it’s time to reinforce the shirt pieces. We are going to do this by using an interfacing. Interfacing supports and stabilizes your fabric. There are fusible and sew-in interfacings, but for our project, we want to go with a fusible kind, this way we can simply press it on to the backs of our pieces. Another choice you’ll have to make is woven versus non-woven. I recommend the non-woven sort since it doesn’t have a grain and therefore will have little to no shrinkage and won’t ravel. These can be washed or dry cleaned. So, we are looking for a fusible non-woven interfacing. Once we’ve gotten it pressed to our shirt pieces and we are ready to start sewing, the interfacing is going to help keep the shirts from pulling or bunching or stretching and give us a better-looking finished quilt.


Over the weekend we went to JoAnn fabric store in search of the fusible interfacing. Luckily, I had Hubby with me. Since I was still feeling rough from the cold I picked up from Freckles, I got a little overwhelmed looking at all the choices of interfacing available and couldn’t figure out what I needed. Hubby figured it out and helped me find what I needed. (If you are at JoAnn, you’re looking for 911FF.) We found a Basic Fusible Featherweight Interfacing that is recommended for stabilizing t-shirt quilts. I bought 5 yards, because I really didn’t know how much I was going to need and DSC08499figured this was a good amount to start out with. However, if you’ve got anywhere near as many shirts as I’ve got, I’d recommend starting out with about 12-15 yards. (I’m going back for another 10 yards as soon as I get a chance….I’ve already run out. haha)

It took me a couple of days before I felt up to starting this next part. Taking care of the usual stuff of the everyday seems to make it take longer to get over a silly cold. At least it wasn’t anything worse that I needed reinforcements for. 🙂


Anyway, I pulled out the ironing board and iron and got set up in the dining room. I unrolled the interfacing and realized I didn’t know which side to use. Guess what. It’s the rough bumpy side. 😉


So I’ve also taken over the large basement room to lay out all of my pieces to try to get a feel for how the quilt will go. I folded up some of the shirts to get them all to fit nicely, so I can just trim them down later if I want.


Possible layout over-taking the basement.

Well, that was the plan at first. Then I pulled up a small section of the quilt to start pressing on the interfacing. When I was done and laid them back down it occurred to me that the quilt may not end up looking a thing like my first layout. 🙂


Time to haul out my least favorite part of playing with fabric….

So I brought the shirt pieces from the small section of the quilt up to the dining room.


I unrolled the interfacing and laid one piece at a time on it; lined up the corner and edges, brushed out the wrinkles so that the shirt was flat, and then cut the interfacing along the edges of the shirts.


My iron was on one of the highest settings and I pressed for 10 seconds at a time. By the way, if your shirt has a painted on design or is puffy or has a raised design on it (that you can feel if you run your finger over it) do NOT place the iron directly on it! Yes, I know this first hand. (Whoops!) The heat of the iron WILL melt the paint of the design. (Then you’ll have to stop to clean off your iron. Yep, first-hand knowledge here…) So for these particular shirts, flip them over and use the iron on the back side (smooth side) of the interfacing.


Do this for all of your t-shirt pieces.

So here is the first section I did. After making the pieces all nice and flat, they didn’t quite fit back like I had them. You can see some over-lapping going on. 🙂 But after doing these, I can see how the interfacing stabilizes the pieces and I have a good feeling sewing them together will go a lot smoother than without the interfacing.


Then I picked up another small section and got started…it was then that I realized 5 yards wasn’t going to be anywhere near enough. 🙂 In this section I had some of the pocket designs. And there were strips of interfacing that had been leftover from the big shirt pieces. I had to overlap some pieces of interfacing to cover the entire area of the pockets. This didn’t effect the fusing at all and it is now one sturdy piece.

Now, we get to finish stabilizing the rest of the shirt pieces and then move on to the next step — begin sewing the pieces together!!! Can’t wait to see the progress next week and how it’ll start looking more like a quilt top! 🙂


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