Friday Funday: T-Shirt Quilt Beginnings

I have enjoyed making t-shirt quilts for a few years…and they just keep getting better and better as I practice my mad quilting skills on them.  For those of you who have never made a t-shirt quilt but want to…my best advice is to do some research with your favorite search engine to see what you can find.  Tutorials are plentiful, just make sure you find one that makes sense to you and has a lot of positive comments with it.

These past two weeks, I have been working on a his and hers t-shirt quilt.  The husband belonged to a fraternity and the wife belonged to a sorority when they met in college.  Now that they are married, the bride’s mom asked me to make a t-shirt quilt that would put both the bride and groom’s Greek-dom together in one quilt.

The t-shirts they sent me for the groom were simple enough – they wanted all of his t-shirts used, fronts and backs.

The bride sent me a HUGE box of t-shirts (and even some sweatshirts) and we had to cull out a number of them so we had even numbers for his side and her side.  Below is how we conducted the culling process.  First, we laid out ALL of the wife’s t-shirts and photographed them:


Next, the wife sent me a list of the ones she wanted included…so that her numbers matched his numbers.  After we pulled her choices out of the box, I then sent her another email with the following photograph, just to make sure we had the correct t-shirts that she wanted:


She emailed me to let me know we’d mixed one up, but otherwise, I was good to go and could start fussy cutting the fronts of the shirts!

We are still quite a ways out from beginning to end…but, the process is just as fun for me now as it was with the first t-shirt quilt I made!

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    2014 Block of the Month for

    I have been working on my 2014 block of the month quilt throughout the week and this weekend.  The EQ7 image of it is awful.  It does not show the true fabric colors of the quilt so I felt compelled to put the quilt together so my viewing audience has a much truer photograph of the quilt.


    All 12 blocks completed


    Sashing and borders are fussy-cut and the binding is trimmed to size

    I plan on finishing the final border of the quilt tomorrow so I can get the quilt listed at  Fun quilt, very simple for beginning quilters and a great quilt to make for more advanced quilters who want to hone their skills.

    Get ready, it’s almost time to launch the introductory instructions and list the fabric and thread requirements!  And the sponsors for this 2014 block of the month quilt are (fabric) and Aurifil (thread).


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      Directional Quilt Fabric Death

      I will repeat what I’ve said for many years – if you are a beginning quilter, do NOT choose to use a directional fabric in your quilts.  This could be something as simple as a gingham, but a directional fabric is one that repeats a design in any symmetrical way.

      These are directional fabrics:




      I consider beginning quilter’s using directional fabrics a ‘quilt fabric death’.  Because unless you are able to fussy-cut the quilt fabric and sew it in a perfect seam – it will almost always end up a bit wonky and you will notice that wonk every single time you quilt.  You will be too embarrassed to gift the quilt to someone and when that happens, the quilt is usually given to a family pet.

      Might I repeat myself?  Do NOT use directional fabric if you are a beginning quilter.

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        Beginning Quilter Basics: Choosing Fabric

        ALL of my original quilt designs on are beginner friendly.  I try to chose colors that either compliment or coordinate with the quilt pattern I design.  But, one thing my patterns don’t always show is how to pick out fabrics that will make a quilt statement but not be a problem for a beginning quilter.  This is mostly because my friend Linda at kits the quilts with fabrics I’ve chosen.

        But what if a beginning quilter wants to use some of her stash…or go to her local fabric store to purchase the fabrics?

        My biggest tip to new quilters is to avoid fabrics that have directional patterns on them.  This would include gingham or stripes.  Unless you fussy-cut each part of these types of fabrics, you will find that the directional patterns in the fabric do not line up and when looking at the finished quilt, it seems that those areas are what catches the eye very quickly and then you can’t seem to get past them to look at the quilt as a whole.

        Let me give an example:


        This is a directional fabric.  The dots/flowers are all lined up in symmetrical rows.


        This is a non-directional fabric.  The flowers are artfully splattered all over the fabric with no clear direction.

        If you are a beginning quilter, do you see the difference in the two fabrics?  My best suggestion to you is to stay away from directional fabrics until you are more comfortable with fussy-cutting and/or making sure the pattern on the fabric is going in the same direction in your quilt.

        And to find JOY in quilting, you want whatever you make to be a special quilt without compromising the integrity of the quilt pattern with directional fabrics.

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          Help Wanted: Paul Bunyan

          As I’ve mentioned before, I designed two quilts for my foster mother’s twin grandkids – who are seniors this year and will graduate from high school next year.  I already made a quilt for her granddaughter and now it was time to make her grandson’s quilt.

          I have shared bits and pieces of this robot quilt already, which you can find here and here.

          This past weekend, I was able to finish the gigantic quilt – it ended up being about 6′ x 8′!

          When trying to take a photograph of a large quilt, it helps to have children who are at least 8’ tall…or 6’ tall.  Since I do not have children that are that size – you get the best quilt photo I could take with the children I have to help me (standing on a chair and the coffee table).


          The photo of this quilt shown above is not worth keeping.  I couldn’t get the kids to hold the quilt so that I didn’t catch all of the furniture and their heads in the photo.  I edited one of the photos that I took and ended up with the same results.


          My husband actually came up with a brilliant idea and that was to hold the quilt off the highest part of our deck and take a photo that way.  It was pretty easy to snap some photos of the quilt, though it did take my husband and all four kids to hold the quilt for me.


          The moral of the story?  Listen to the hubster (shhhh, don’t tell him that, though 🙂 )

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