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I’ve decided to start a monthly series called “Making Memories Last.” In this series, I will take old items with memories attached to them, and upcycle them to something new. I’m pretty excited about this first post in the series. I’ve had a bag full of t-shirts in my closets for a while now. And when I say a while, this bag has moved with me 3 times. At first I had great ambitions to make an official “t-shirt quilt” with the borders and binding–basically the whole sheebang (that’s a word, I promise). Being realistic, I knew I would not have the patience to make the perfect square cuts, create a binding, or hand quilt to finish. So in comes the t-shirt rag quilt, also known as the non-quilter’s quilt. Previously, I made a baby sized rag quilt for a sweet friend, and I found that rag quilts are very forgiving. Please keep in mind that I am by no means a sewing expert (and that’s why I also did not make a “real” quilt).
|Left: front, Right: back. Definitely some oldies but goodies t-shirts in there! 🙂|
Let’s get started. Here is what you will need:
~Cotton t-shirts (I used 30 of varying themes such as Auburn, high school, college, races, etc. You could also do an all race shirt or a college themed shirt for example).
~Rotary cutter and cutting mat are highly recommended for your sanity (you can buy a set at most craft stores–don’t forget your coupons!)
~Flannel (we will use this as the filling)
First you will need to go through your t-shirts and see if any are smaller than the others. I had one that fit smaller, so I picked that one to base all of my squares off of. I cut my squares at 13inches x 13inches. Originally they were 14 x 14, but I cut it wrong. You know that saying measure twice, cut once? Yea, I should probably do that haha. It happens 🙂 Keep in mind, that if you have bigger squares you won’t need as many tshirts and vice versa. It is up to you how big you want to make your quilt.
|If you ever have the chance, you should definitely check out the Velcro Pygmies…they are quite the good cover band!|
Once I had my first t-shirt cut, I used that as the template to cut the other shirts as you can see in the last picture on the right. When you are deciding how large you want your squares, remember you will lose an inch or so to the seams. I used both the front and back of my t-shirts by making one cut. If I were to do this again, I would cut the front and the back of the shirts separately to ensure I got the best portion of the picture. You could also use a piece of flannel as the backing. Keep in mind that the cuts do not have to be as perfect as those on a regular quilt because eventually you will be cutting the edges anyway. But they do need to be generally the same.
For the filling, I used flannel. I bought different colors so when the quilt is washed and frayed, the fray-age would be different colors. I recommend white flannel for the white shirts so a different color does not show through. I decided to use three layers of flannel in each t-shirt square. If I were to do this again, I would probably use one or two layers of flannel. My quilt ended up being very heavy, and it was very tough on my sewing machine. Further, using three layers of flannel meant that I had to cut 90 flannel squares…
|See the “X” in the far right picture? Yes, you have to do that on all of the t-shirt squares, which in my case, was 30…eeekk!|
your seams out–you will get use to this, I promise! And don’t forget
to talk nicely to your sewing machine–in my case, when I sewed two
squares together, I was sewing through ten layers! It is up to you whether you use pins or not. Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t. You also need to decide how much ruffle you want. If you want a larger, more noticeable ruffle, leave more fabric exposed at the seams. For less noticeable ruffle, leave less fabric exposed at the seams. I tried to keep my seams at half an inch.
See above how the seam is facing out? That is what will ruffle after being washed to create the “rag” affect.
|Only 5 rows to go!|
And finally all of the rows sewed together!
you sewed. And yes, you have to cut notches on all of the exposed
seams. I know, there is a lot. Trust me, I’ve been there 🙂