#TBT: High School T-shirt Quilt (for keeps)

The majority of the quilts I make are given away to friends and family.  I have only kept two for myself. For me, it is the best way I can show my love and support for others; even when I can’t personally be there.  When I make a quilt, my hope is that it will be used and enjoyed, not “preserved” by stuffing it into a closet.

Not surprisingly, others feel the same way.  One of the quilters from the 2015 New Quilt Blogger group share a post the other day highlighting a new initiative from Amy Smart, Quilt for Keeps. (I can’t remember who it was at the moment and am kicking myself so hard for not book marking their post. I will find it and link back. I promise.)

For Keeps Pledge

The only two quilts I have kept for myself are the first quilt I ever made (stored in the closet at the moment), and a t-shirt quilt made from my high school tshirts.

This quilt was the third quilting project I undertook. I started sewing it in college.  I would lay out the squares on the floor of the dorm room common area.  I even bled over this quilt; slicing my finger with a rotary cutter, going into shock (I don’t deal well with blood), and getting 4 stitches.  I lack feeling in the part of my finger to this day.

Original Tshirt Quilt

Original Tshirt Quilt

The actual quilting was a simple grid spaced 4″ apart.

Original quilting with part chewed out by parent's dog

Original quilting with part chewed out by parent’s dog

I followed the instructions and a free pattern found at Wal-mart.  Like most t-shirt quilt patterns I have seen, it required the use of sashing between the shirts.

Poor binding on corners

Poor binding on corners

When I first finished the quilt, I was please with the final result.  However; as my quilting improved over the years, I became less and less thrilled with the project.  Out came the seam ripper as I tore the whole thing apart.

Tert-Butyl helping figure out a new layout

Tert-Butyl helping figure out a new layout

Gaia approved the final layout

Gaia approved the final layout

In the second iteration of this quilt, I removed the denim sashing between the blocks. I added in a few more shirts I was finally willing to part with, and tried my hand at free-motion quilting for the first time.

FMQ for the first time

FMQ for the first time

Again, I was happy with the end result.

Revised quilt

Revised quilt

Revised backing

Revised backing

Better binding

Better binding

The past few weeks this t shirt quilt has been getting a lot more use. The rainy season has started and weather is cooler here in Costa Rica and it is the perfect weight blanket for curling up on the couch.  My puppies have been enjoying the quilt as well.

The FMQ job that I was happy with before began to show its flaws. Uneven stitch length and not burying threads has cause much of it to come loose.  Because this quilt has been getting more use (and washes) I once again decided it was time for a redo.

Berna snuggled up on a chilly morning

Berna snuggled up on a chilly morning

So now I am in the process of quilting it all over with 1/4 in spacing to make it more durable.  Taking a short cut, I have decided to simply quilt over the existing quilting.  I am sure that sentence will offend many a reader since it is no where near the proper way to fix a quilt.

Third time quilting

Third time quilting

For the time being, I am happy with the look and progress that is being made. I really love the texture of the 1/4″ quilting. I plan on redoing the binding yet again and joining the end pieces properly instead of layering and causing much bulk.

Personal disatisfactions aside, the quilt has been made to be used and it is for keeps.  Here’s to hoping that 3rd time’s a charm.

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7 thoughts on “#TBT: High School T-shirt Quilt (for keeps)

    • I have become quite friendly with my seam ripper and after taking apart multiple quilts and quilt tops to redo, the binding is not so intimidating. It’s an easy couch project and so satisfying to improve upon those old projects even a little bit.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I find nothing wrong with quilting over the old quilting. Will certainly add to its sturdiness. Plus you can’t take time to pull all that old stitching out! What will the puppies sleep and snuggle on!?!

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    • Thanks for validating my “cheater” way to reinforce the quilt Ashley! I am trying to get it finished as quick as possible so we can all use it to snuggle again. 😀

      Like

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