The minute you decide you want to quilt, a whole universe opens up to you, with all kinds of new terms that may be confusing at first.
Quilting is fun, eventually, and until you get in the middle of it, you need to learn a bit about the ways behind it. The more you know about the terms, the easier it is to you to get it right even on the first projects.
For instance, you may have heard until now about “sashing”, which refers to the fabric that goes around each t-shirt block that you’re using. Some don’t use sashing anymore (it does add some extra time and patience for you) and a high quality quilt does include sashing. You may easily see it in its price, tough.
Sashing presents its utility and has a lot to say on the stability of your quilt top. The fabric around every single t-shirt keeps the t-shirt from stretching and it’s almost impossible to find t-shirts that don’t stretch.
Not using sashing for your quilt is an option that relates a lot on the budget, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice, pretty durable t-shirt quit without sashing.
How do you do it anyway?
When you begin a t-shirt quilt, imagination is the most essential part as there are no special patterns that you should use. You may go the easy or the sophisticated way- it’s totally up to you. Every quilt is one-of-a-kind and the assembly methods have a lot to say when making a project like this.
The first thing to begin with is the t-shirts that you’re gonna use. Take a better look at how long they are, how many you may use. Give a thought if you’re going to cut the panels the same size.
The size of your quilt is also essential and measure right so that you have enough t-shirts for your quilt, especially if you plan not to use sashing on your quilt. Keep in mind though that sashing and borders do increase your quilt.
Quilting a t-shirt quilt is way easier when using a stabilizer for the t-shirts, like the fusible interfacing. The market gives you so many options, but it’s better to go for a non-woven fusible interfacing, which isn’t high priced, but extremely helpful. Play it on the safe side and get interfacing that comes with instructions that are easy to follow.
The stabilizer is great for the t-shirt quilts as it makes it softer and easier the handle for your hand quilting. Some think the fabric gets a bit more difficult to cut and to sew precisely. A stretchy fabric may also give some puckering if you plan to do some machine quilting.
Begin by washing and ironing your t-shirts and continue by removing the front panel, near the side seams. You want to leave some fabric and you’ll come back later for trimming it. Cut off also the sleeves and the connecting seams.
Go below the neck banding as well, removing any hemmed area along the bottom of the shirt. Don’t lose the oversized panels just as yet- they may become helpful in the future. You do need to do this on all t-shirts.
When it comes to the design….it’s very simple. There are no rules, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep in mind some helpful tips.
Try, for instance, to sew same-size shirt panel’s side-by-side. You can make an idea about how wide your quilt is going to be by multiplying the finished width of panels by the number of panels per horizontal row. You should to the same for getting the height.
Get a better idea of your future quilt by displaying the panels on a flat surface. Don’t hesitate to shuffle them around until you get the layout you like the most. You may sew the panels in sections, rows or columns. Adjust the size of your panels as you work.
Some make a small practice quilt, but it’s totally up to you if you do it or not.
Assemble your t-shirts with a ½” seam allowance that you press open to minimize bulk. You may center the images for nicer look. You may use a large square rotary ruler for easier centering of the design.
We get to the point where you may or may not add sashing. If you feel confident enough, simply skip this step.
When your quilt is done, lay back and enjoy your work. Iron it for better and more professional finish and don’t hesitate to try it again, especially if you like what you see.