The Original T-shirt Quilt

I have been busy, really I have!  I just don’t have pictures of what I’ve been working on…yet.

I do, however, have a picture of my very first  t-shirt quilt.  Ta da!

I made this several years ago, perhaps 12 or so?  This picture was taken after a few years of use, though.  You can see wrinkles and evidence of stretching.  When I made this quilt, I didn’t know what I was doing!  I didn’t make the blocks uniform size.  I didn’t even make them all rectangles!  See those hot pink triangles?  Those were set in to make rectangles out of  irregular pentagons!  I didn’t use the right kind of needle to sew on knit fabric.  And I didn’t back the fabric with fusible interfacing.  (Hence, the stretching…and missing stitches…and not very straight lines!)

This poor quilt will need some TLC and a major overhaul someday.  But for now it holds memories of moments in time from two lives–mine and my husband’s.  All the shirts except one are from before we were married.  It was so much fun to combine them into one memory.  Our kids have grown up calling it “the park quilt.”  New memories from old ones.  Love it.


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!