MEMORY QUILT

Photo to be uploaded soon

Do you or your child have many blouses or tee-shirts that they can no longer wear ? Are you taking up space that you could utilize better because these items are too sentimental to throw away? I have the perfect solution. I wish I could claim it as my own idea , but I first heard of this from a girl I worked with. She made a quilt from them and gave it to her daughter for her 18th birthday.
Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of hers. It turned out fabulous. The one photographed is one I am working on to celebrate my sons twenty years of service in the U.S. Navy. It is made of many of the tee-shirts he has bought for me , as well as many he has worn himself that no longer fit. You can also do this with sweatshirts. Just do not mix the two fabrics as they stretch differently.

YOU WILL NEED:

1. Old Tee shirts or sweatshirts that no longer fit.
2. Fabric to frame each shirt after cutting,  so that all pieces are the same size. A solid color without stretch or design will work best.
3. Iron on stabilizer  to iron to the back of your shirts before cutting them.
4. Thin cotton fabric to use as the back of your quilt. amount will vary based on the size of your project
5. Transparent thread ( because you will be sewing on top of design on many of the shirts.)
6. Fabric scissors
7. Seam ripper tool
8. Thin Cotton batting to put between the front and back of your quilt.
9. Tape measure ( or yard stick)
10. Piece of white chalk
11. Sewing machine (optional but easier) with quilting needle
12. Straight pins ( can use safety pins but they do tend to shift)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Take all your shirts and iron them inside out.
2. Take seam ripper and remove the thread detaching arms , shoulders, neck piece and sides of shirts. ( there will be shirts that have no side seams . For these  you will have to iron flat and cut down the sides with good pair of fabric scissors.
3. Now measure all your shirts. Write it down on a piece of paper. Labeling each measurement with which shirt the measurement is for. DO NOT DISCARD THE FRONT OR BACK OF ANY SHIRT because you may need them as filler squares for your quilt.
4. Iron stabilizer to the shirt pieces you will be using for front of quilt.
5. Lie all shirts flat on a floor or bed to determine which way placement of shirts look best. I found floor to be best. It is easier to see all shirts.Try different placements and take photos. After reviewing photos  decide which you like the best. If you are able to print the photo you like best, it can serve as a guide later on when you are piecing things together.
6. Now, using a tape measure mark backs of shirts to the size you determined squares should be, PLUS two inches more and mark with chalk. THIS IS CRITICAL. You will need this so that when you sew shirt to fabric you have a seam allowance and face of all shirts will be the correct size. It is helpful to measure largest one first if it has words or logos on it to determine the size that you need all squares to be.
7. Cut all shirts on lines you have drawn with chalk and set back on floor and place where you want them to be.
8. Now you must determine how wide you want the borders of shirts to be.  All shirts will have a border on all sides. Kind of like a picture frame.
9. Once you have determined your border size you will need to measure that fabric in the same way you measured shirts before you cut. Leave an inch more so that you have a seam allowance for when you are attaching it to shirts.
10. Position shirts on floor exactly as if they had the border on already. Be sure that you measure in between the shirts  that are placed on the floor to see that it is the exact measurement that is needed for border.
11. Measure now across entire quilt adding one inch at each end and between each shirt. ( ie… if your quilt is three shirts wide, you would automatically add two inches ( 1 inch for end seam allowance on each side and two inches extra between each shirt (because each shirt  needs even border all around)so you would need six extra inches total .
12. Iron border fabric and  do the measuring before you cut fabric . Cut border fabric into long strips that will fit across all shirts and have one extra inch at the ends. Be sure you allow for one inch more when you are figuring width of border fabric. Determine how many strips you need and cut them all at once and iron.
13. Pin border fabric and top of shirts facing right sides together, start sewing  SHIRT ONE to the border fabric  making sure you have a 1/2 inch seam on each side of border and shirt fabric. You also want to leave the end of strip with two inches overlap on each side. You don’t need to cut long border strip yet.
14. Now that shirt one is connected, measure  the amount of space you need between each shirt plus one inch and pin second shirt onto the border strip, right sides together and sew together , again being mindful of your need to have half inch seam allowance. And continue measuring and spacing that way .
15. Now you have a long border strip with three shirts attached. Measure in center of border strip that is in between shirts and cut across the center point. OR if you are not adept as sewing like I am not, you can leave shirts attached to border to avoid all that measuring and sew bottom border strip onto shirts. REMEMBER TO PUT RIGHT SIDES OF FABRIC AND SHIRTS TOGETHER WHEN SEWING. ( been there, done that! It wasn’t pretty. )
16. Continue attaching bottoms and tops of shirts to  border fabric and measuring in the same way till they are all done. Then cut each border piece down the center between shirts.
17. After you have cut all of them now do the side borders in the same way.
18. Now that you have all shirts attached to borders, iron on reverse side flattening your seams where they are attached, fabric for shirt should be ironed toward shirt and fabric to border should be ironed toward border.
19. Now place all on floor again or refer to your photo and pin borders together. Attach leaving 1/2 inch seam allowance. Once done, with this part, celebrate. Ha ha.
20. Lay your front of quilt on floor facing down. Measure dimensions and cut your batting. Write measurements down.
21. Place batting onto your quilt and then iron the back cotton fabric. Cut fabric two inches wider on all sides. So if your front measured 50 inches long you will want to cut 54 inches length  long. Measure width and add four inches as well.  This is because you will be taking excess and bringing around to front of quilt for border. Place cotton back on top of batting.
22. Pin batting and back of quilt onto front on quilt. BEFORE PINNING BE SURE THE EXCESS OF BACKING FABRIC IS EVENLY PLACED OVER ALL SIDES. I like pinning down the center of the shirt to avoid having to remove pins while sewing.
23. ONCE pinned together securely. ( don’t skimp on pins) flip over and sew down the right side of the quilt front in the center of your borders and then across. You can use regular stitch or a zig-zag stitch is nice too. It will be transparent thread but zig-zag always seemed nicer to me. Sewing machine needs to go slow speed as you are going through a lot of fabric. Nothing more frustrating than getting this far and having thread constantly break or you sew in wrong place because you were going too fast, or worse, you break your needle. Take care never to sew over pins.
24. Now that all border lines are sewn to batting and back fabric remove pins and wrap excess fabric around front of quilt and tucking edges under pin in place. This is easier to hand sew. I like to iron it in place then pin.
25. Yea! You are done!

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