Saturday, June 5, 2010

T-Shirt Memory Quilt Tutorial - Part 3

Most blocks will fit nicely in the 14" x 14" format. Some will not. There are many ways to build your 14" blocks using smaller images.

Sometimes a t-shirt is very small and there just isn't 14" of fabric to work with. In this case, I trim the image down to a nice square, then add a coordinating cotton quilting fabric on all four sides, then trim the entire thing to 14" square. Press seam allowance to the outside. Add it to your block pile!

Long, skinny images can be sewn together in a stack, and then trimmed to 14" square. Four chest sized logos can also be sewn into a square. I usually press the seams OPEN when sewing t-shirts directly to each other to reduce thick/difficult seam intersections.

At this point in the process I have a pretty good idea of how big the quilt will be. Generally I can get a nice sized lap quilt from 9, 12 or 16 blocks. A twin would be 20-24 blocks. Double, 24-30 blocks, and so on.

Once my blocks are made, I sketch out the quilt layout, determining the final size of the quilt and audition coordinating fabrics for the cornerstones, sashing, borders, binding and backing. This can be hand calculated on paper, or I use a program called Electric Quilt to do the same task on the computer. I'm able to enter my finished block size, and play with the size of the sashing and borders to build the quilt out to be the desired size, in this case about 50" x 70" a generous lap quilt. In EQ I can also play with color selections, but I usually do that by hand. I write detailed notes on the printed layout regarding how much fabric is needed, and how it needs to be cut.

I try to choose fabrics that tie together the various colors in the t-shirts so they blend somewhat. I tend toward choosing the brighter colors and so far this has worked very well! Tone on tone fabrics are also great if you have various shades in a particular color.

Next we'll piece the quilt top.

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