Finished in December: A tee-shirt quilt for my college freshman daughter. It's only one semester late!
One of my favorite shirts, because it so sums her up:
And below is the lovely going-to-college tee shirt quilt for my now-23-year-old college graduate son:
Yeah, I haven't made it yet, My son did a lot of sports. Sports bring a tower of tees. He's now in grad school, and probably doesn't realize that he's still waiting for that quilt, which, if I ever make it, may double as a termite tent.
On the other hand, my younger child, bless her heart, loathed sports, no matter how much I
She was a Girl Scout...
...and performed in school plays.
Still, I might not have even had enough tees for a bed-size quilt if she didn't have several shirts that weren't extracurricular-related - school spirit shirts, PE shirts, graduating class shirts.
Last summer, after she finished high school, I decided to embark on making her quilt, which I figured would be fast and easy, compared to the hypothetical quilt for her brother.
But in August and September, I was too morose about my empty nest, and abandoned the effort.
As the fall wore on, my sadness was replaced with wonder, then glee, at not having to drive her to school and rehearsals. More time opened up in my schedule! And by late November, I was happily hacking away at her shirts!
For the batting, I used a trick I developed during a previous upcycled clothing project, a memorial quilt for a young man who lost his life at the World Trade Center on 9/11. His wife had given a great many tee shirts, and they smelled wonderful - like him. I wanted to preserve that smell for her, as much as possible.
So for that memory quilt, I sewed together the unprinted rectangles cut from the backs of the tees. (If you have a serger, this process will be even easier and neater. Update: Load the serger with wooly nylon to make sure the seams stretch, says my friend Deb. Thanks, Deb!)
I used tee pieces as the only batting in the quilt. I did NOT add interfacing of any kind to the rectangles used for batting.
Same thing for my daughter's quilts. I cut large rectangles and squares out of the tees I used, either the back or large areas under the logos.
Overlapped pieces by about a half inch. Remember, no need to interface.
The reverse side is below. I just don't worry about that overlapped half inch, as long as its lying flat (iron if necessary.)
#1. What about those little ruffles in the seams? Once the three layers are together, they vanish, as do the overlaps. Maybe someone with extreme fingertip sensitivity could feel the "batting" seams if the quilt were put on a very hard flat surface, but it would take a monumental effort.
#2. Won't the deep colors show through on the finished quilt? No, because there's fusible interfacing behind each tee shirt front. The back - I can't see them from that side, either. Plus, if they did show through, who cares? Tee shirt quilts are never in the running for quilt show prizes!
#3: Does a tee shirt batting make the quilting less indented? Yes, a little less indented than my usual batting choice, Warm'n'Natural cotton batting. You can see the indentations below. My theory: Two layers of tees + 1 layer of fusible interfacing behind the front tees + woven backing fabric = almost the same thickness as two layers of woven fabrics + thin commercial batting.
#4. Does a tee batting affect the weight of a quilt? Yes - I think it makes the quilt lighter than regular batting. The quilt is also not as cushy as it would be with real batting.
A tee batting also saves money, and helps the environment - you won't have to throw away as many tee leftovers. Whatever large rectangles don't make it into the quilt I use to make tee shirt yarn for crochet projects. My sister-in-law spotted my growing ball of tee yarn and made slippers that double as floor cleaners!
PS Shared on Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday compendium of art quilts - find it here.