My sister in law Jeanine asked me a few months back if I had ever made a t-shirt quilt. Her daughter Ali graduates from high school this year, and she said she saw them everywhere a few years back when her son graduated. She was hoping to surprise her daughter with one. I have seen these on various blogs and craft sites - but had been intimidated by the stretchiness of the knit t-shirts and the daunting thought of quilting. Seriously, it seemed crazy to me to take on both of these in one shot. After talking with a friend at work, who convinced me of the beauty of interfacing, I gave it a go (with promised to Jeanine that I would sure try, but could not guarantee the quality of my work). Now, I read all over the Internet that many people don't love interfacing for these quilts, but I used feather light stuff and it worked perfect for me. The finished product is still soft and "t-shirty". Best of all, the final quilt is relatively squared up and even. Without the interfacing, it would have been a wonky mess.
Jeanine snuck me a about 15 of Ali's t-shirts. Some had interesting front and backs, so I used them both. Her t-shirts were very bright and fun... and I got a little queasy when I first cut into them thinking that I'd ruin her high school memories if I wrecked this quilt. Then I thought about how many high school t-shirts I still wear or own -exactly zero - and felt a little better. I used some borrowed quilting blocks (same friend at work...thankfully, as these were golden) to measure 16.5" squares for most of the t's. For a few t-shirts that were smaller, I ended up using 12.5" blocks. To make life easier for me, I sewed all these smaller ones together and then added a border of the t-shirt scraps to make them "fit" within all the 16.5" blocks. I had to get creative with math for a few minutes, but it worked fine in the end.
Because Ali was in show choir in high school, I used some fun music note batik fabric I found on fabric.com for the backing. I ended up cutting the back 2" larger than the front, and then just folded the backing on to the front to bind the quilt. After all the time on my knees cutting, I did not have it in me to hand stitch the binding. The actual quilting was just me stitching in the ditch - clear thread on top, and black in my bobbin. The quilting was tedious with such a large quilt- it is bigger than a twin, smaller than a queen.... maybe a tween??. I had some trouble getting the bulk of rolled up quilt to fit under my sewing machine's arm.... but with minimal swears, we are done. Hooray!
I plan to give it to Ali today, so the pics are just Miss Rowan and myself trying our damnedest to get the whole bugger in a shot. Did not work perfect, but you'll get the idea. Here is the finished product.