T-shirt Quilt, Part 4: the Sashing


Did you think I fell off the face of the earth?  It’s been a fun week and a half since my last post.  My mom and her sister flew into town for their other sister’s surprise 60th birthday party (organized by the birthday girl’s daughter).  Then my mom stayed in town for a week, so I was having fun with her instead of blogging!  I was sewing, by the way.  My mom has 2 adorable new black-and-white themed shopping bags to show for it!  (And, no, I didn’t remember to take pictures of them.)

Onward and upward…

Now that all the squares are completed, they need to be arranged in an aesthetically pleasing way.  And they need to be attached to each other.  Most (maybe all?) of the quilt tops I’ve pieced up to this point in my life have been very simple.  I’ve just stitched the blocks to each other, with no sashing–strips of fabric between the blocks.  Well, this quilt top screams for sashing, because there is just too much diversity among the t-shirt blocks.  Different colors, multiple fabrics, varied looks.  There’s nothing that ties them together as a whole.  Enter: sashing fabric.

I needed to find that PERFECT fabric that will unify this odd assortment of blocks into a cohesive quilt top.  At the beginning of my search, I didn’t know exactly what it should be, but I did know what it shouldn’t be.  It shouldn’t be a solid color.  There’s not a single color in the known universe that looks good next to every one of my blocks.  I toyed around with the idea of using denim or chambray for the sashing–like a “jeans and t-shirt” theme–but I didn’t like the overall look of it.  Denim might have been too heavy anyway.

I imagined a print of line-drawn t-shirts on a white background, each shirt a different color, appearing to have been filled in by a kid with chunky crayons.  I set out on my search with this image in mind.  If it really existed, I would be ecstatic!  Long story short: it doesn’t.  At least, I didn’t find it.  My daughter was with me on this hunting expedition.  She’s got a good eye for color and pattern and what-goes-with-what.  She pointed out several possibilities as we scanned the bolts, but nothing was clicking with me.  I was just about ready to call off the hunt for that day, and I turned down an aisle that didn’t look too promising.  My daughter probably thought I’d lost my ever-lovin’ mind when I grabbed a bolt of fabric and squealed, “THIS IS IT!”


It’s not t-shirts.  It doesn’t have a white background.  It doesn’t appear to have been colored in by a toddler.  But it’s PERFECT!  I would never have  invented this in my imagination, but I knew when I saw it that it was the right fabric to bring all my blocks together.  (By the way, the print is called Autism Awareness.  I found it at JoAnn’s.)


So here are the 4 rows, assembled with the vertical sashing, in order from the top of the quilt to the bottom.





And here are the rows assembled with the horizontal sashing.

I fully expected to have to “square up” the quilt top once I attached all the sashing.  Believe it or not, the entire top is still square!  I still intend to put borders on it, but I haven’t cut those strips yet.  Stay tuned!

Progressing down the yellow brick road…

I love spring break!  I can get lots of uninterrupted sewing done.  Here are some pictures to prove it.

This is my progress on Miss S’s pieces.  Her vest (Simplicity  8567) was a little less time-consuming than Miss M’s (New Look 6129), so it’s practically done already.  Since I’m using the same green thread for the dresses and for the rainbow striped vest and apron, I did all those garments first.  (That way, I don’t have to keep changing the thread in the machines.)


This is Miss M’s outfit so far.  Both green dresses (Simplicity 2845) still need side seams, hem, and elastic at the neck and sleeves.  This vest and vest lining are waiting to be put together, and the apron is still 4 separate rectangles.


That was how I left things at bedtime Tuesday night.  Today I made some more strides toward the finished products.

First, the two dresses.  The girls will be here Friday to try them on so I can check hem length and the fit of the elastic around the neck and shoulders.  There will also be elastic at the sleeve hem, but I forgot to measure their upper arms for that.  Oops!  My dress form (I call her Beatrice…don’t ask why) has really broad shoulders, so these girls’ dresses look kind of goofy there.  Trust me, the dresses will look better on Miss M and Miss S!

Miss S is the shorter of the two girls, and wanted a little bit longer sleeve.  Miss M is taller and likes a shorter sleeve.












And here are the almost finished outfits…

Miss S…

…and Miss M.


I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.


Guess how I’m spending my spring break.  Sewing, of course, yes.  But what am I sewing?  A friend asked if I would be interested in making costumes for her daughter (I’ll call her Miss M) and another young lady I know (Miss S).  The girls will be in a stage production of The Wizard of Oz.  When I found out they weren’t cast as the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, or the Scarecrow, I agreed.

The costumes required are green dresses for a scene in the Emerald City, and colorful vests and aprons (worn over the dresses) for a Munchkin scene.  The moms of the girls brought me the fabrics to be used and a pattern for the dresses.  I have vest patterns, and the aprons are simple…no pattern required.  I took the girls’ basic measurements–you know, length for dress, length for apron, length of sleeve, waist, etc.

Here are all the pieces of both girls’ dresses, vests, and aprons, cut out and ready to assemble.  (Really bad pictures taken by me.)

The picture above shows Miss M’s ensemble.  I can hardly wait to see her in that sunshiny vest and cheery floral apron!

The picture below is Miss S’s outfit, with vertical stripes on her rainbow vest and horizontal stripes on the apron.  (The green fabric looks more like the real color in this photo, even though it’s blurry.)

Follow the yellow brick road!

T-shirt Quilt, Part 3: the last Squares

Have you picked out a favorite square yet?  Well, there are 6 more to see before you make up your mind!  (All photos by my lovely daughter.)

The first 3 squares in this post had fairly large image areas to work with, so my quilt piecing skills were not as extensive on these.  This first one is just another Snowball-like square.  I did use the handprints that were the same color as the image on my t-shirt, just ’cause.


I just made a frame for this one, and mitered the corners.  The shirt was from an incredible week my family spent with 2 other families.  The horse fabric is from my daughter’s I-love-everthing-about-horses stage.  I made her a skirt by attaching some of this fabric to the top of a pair of jeans that weren’t long enough any more.  She also had a pillow case made from it.  And I believe she cut a few individual horses from it when she was trying her hand at piecing together a doll’s quilt from little squares of fabric.  (We need to find that little quilt.)


I loved working on this one!  The photograph doesn’t look like much, because it was taken inside.  The simple little black outlines of butterflies actually fill with color when exposed to sunlight!  This quilt probably won’t see much sunlight when it’s finished, so this is probably how this square will look most of the time…but you never know.  I still love it!


These last 3 squares took a little more time and creativity.  The original t-shirt images were smaller and therefore needed much more fabric to fill out the 16 square inches.  This first one is the only square for which I had to purchase fabric.  I just had nothing in my stash that would work, color-wise or print-wise.  My daughter has a really good eye for fabric, and she found these two for me.  My husband designed the logo; it’s for our local parent group with the virtual school we belong to.  (You may well ask why I would turn this shirt into a quilt square if the group is still current and I am still involved.  Well…the image was inappropriately placed for a woman’s shirt.  ’Nough said?)  I LOVE how this square turned out!


This is actually the first square I worked on for this quilt.  The t-shirt had front and back images, and I wanted to use them both in the same square.  I figured a 4-patch would be a good treatment for this one.  But why stop there?  Why not make 2 of the four patches into 4-patch blocks themselves?  Here’s how the whole block turned out.


Of course, I saved the best for last.  It’s my favorite anyway.  Again, the logo was designed by my husband for a restoration project you can read all about here: http://www.dregerclock.org  (And, again, the logo was not quite flattering in its placement on a woman’s shirt.)  I cut the original t-shirt image on point so that the final block would show the image right side up.


So there you have ‘em…all 16 squares.  I think I had a grin on my face for a full 24 hours after the last square was completed!  Stay tuned for sashing, borders, backing, and all that good stuff.