T-Shirt Quilt Top

It’s been several years now since I began this quilt that I’ve titled “A Few of My Favorite Things.” It all started, as I’m sure many t-shirt quilts do, with a cleaning session. I had to get rid of some of these old, sometimes ratty t-shirts. But I loved them so much—there was a reason I held onto them. Some were gifts, many were from places where I had many fond memories, some just made me laugh. But what to do with them?

I had made t-shirt pillows in the past. And those are great for one or two super special t-shirts. (I had gotten the t-shirt above my freshman year in high school on a band trip to Minneapolis. It was well loved, believe me.) But I had a lot to move out this time. A t-shirt quilt came to mind, but I wasn’t really a fan of ones I’d seen in the past. They were so…t-shirty.

After looking at the pile of t-shirts for months, I realized that part of what I didn’t like about some t-shirt quilts was the white space around the individual t-shirt designs. To make the shirt blocks square, you sometimes needed to include a lot of extra t-shirt (thus making the quilt t-shirty).

So, if white space was my problem, I could easily fill that with embroidery! I got out my floss and needle and just “doodled” on the shirts to fill them in.

Next, I thought that if these were my favorite t-shirts, it would only make sense to pair them with my favorite fabrics. I cut strips of the fabrics to make a bit of a log cabin design around each block. I then filled in with more strips to create the three vertical panels that make up the quilt.

With the panels done, the quilt sat, and sat…and sat as I waited for the right border fabric to come my way. I took the quilt to fabric stores a few times looking for the right fabric, but nothing seemed to work.

That is until this year when I brought the quilt out again. I tried new fabrics from my stash and found that I kind of liked this blue city fabric from Michael Miller. I hadn’t intended for this to be a blue quilt, but once I put the fabric by it, it picked up all the blue that was in the quilt already. So now it’s a blue quilt!

Of course, the next step is quilting. This has me stumped again. It needs some good, firm quilting (sewing the t-shirts to the fabric gave me a little trouble, and so the top if not very smooth), which I can do in the fabric parts. But what do I do for the t-shirt areas? Really, what do I do? Let me know your thoughts—I’d love to hear them!

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  1. My Mom the Quilter « Christine Doyle
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