Tuesday, March 19, 2013

T-shirt transformation

My boyfriend Rob is a lover of t-shirts.  He will wear them until they are too small, then he will cut the sleeves off and keep wearing them, even though they're still too small in all the other areas.  We'd been dating for about 2  months when I started (joke?)  threatening to take his gross old college tees to Goodwill so I didn't have to see them anymore.  Then it got chilly and the blankets started coming out for the winter.  Rob's go-to blanket is an old comforter that is coming undone in a few places.  He's not even sure whose it is.  And I started feeling like a really terrible girlfriend.  I know how to make blankets in 5 different ways and he is cuddling up with this mess that has batting falling out of it.

So I thought, a t-shirt quilt would solve all of these problems.  I mentioned this idea to Rob who quickly shot it down.  No way I'm cutting up his favorite t-shirts.  Then Sunday night came around.  We were watching Shameless at his place under his derelict comforter and I was still a little bummed over the fact that my quilt was finished. And he finally agreed to the t-shirt quilt.  We paused the show and within 5 minutes had unearthed a quilt's worth of abandoned t-shirts.  He was still a little nervous about cutting them all up until I told him not to see it as that- this way he gets to wear all of his favorite t-shirts at the same time and he doesn't have to worry about how they fit.  Tada!

I took them home, washed them all again, bleached a few of them (boys are gross) and got ironing.  I ironed fusible interfacing on the inside of the designs before I started cutting since t-shirts are knit and not woven like most of the fabrics I work with.  Which means that Esther the sewing machine isn't going to like the shirts unless I come up with a way to make a knit behave like a weave.  Hence the interfacing.  Once they were all ironed and interfaced, I got cutting.  The hardest part was playing quilt-block tetris to make everything fit and not have too many of the same color right next to each other.  It took 3 hours from the first ironing to the final arrangement. Pretty darn fast.
I bought a bunch of solid royal blue fabric and I'll be using that as a "mortar" to the blocks.  Since 2 of the rows have 4 blocks and the other 2 have 5 blocks, I'm going to have to do some math to work out how big the blue breaks have to be  so that it all fits at the top.  I'll also do a blue border around the top and I'll try to bind it like I did with Emery's baby quilt- pulling excess backing fabric to the front and pulling it over.

But first I have to cut the blue, sew it all together, and make an appointment with my friend with the long-arm quilting machine.  I could probably have the top done in 2 days once I get my machine back, but I have no idea how long it will take to get in for the actual quilting part. Then if we are able to quilt it and leave enough backing fabric free then binding will only take an hour or two.

But until Esther gets back from her spa trip, Madeline will be dive-bombing the squares. I'm so glad I got a picture before she started.
So that's the t-shirt quilt.  I hope it ends up looking like it does in my head!

I'm also getting farther in the super fugly bath mat.  It's almost done, and that's a good thing. I'm quite over this whole "freeform" thing. Only 1 more ball of cotton left! Hopefully I'll be able to finish it up sometime this week.

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

Sometimes I just plunge ahead with projects and hope for the best. I did that with a t-shirt quilt (I don't know much about sewing), and I didn't realize how horrible it was going to be to sew stretchy t-shirts to normal cotton fabric. I wish I had put interfacing on them! This post makes me almost believe I could make another one without throwing the sewing machine into the front yard. Thanks!