Saturday, June 8, 2013

putting together a tee-shirt quilt; calling it done.

I have to be finished because it's going to explode if I go any further. It's a great throw size right now, and I think it can go live in my car when it's done.

What did I learn making a tee-shirt quilt? Several things.

  1. for storing the tee-shirts, cut off the whole front/back of the shirt where the image that you want is - don't trim it up, leave a lot of extra room - and discard the rest. This cuts down the pile to about half or three quarters of the original size. It's also very liberating. 
  2. mid-weight fusible interfacing seemed to work the best for stabilizing jersey. I had a variety of weights left over from several projects that I used up to make this project, so this is how I know - tried a bit of this one, tried a bit of that one. 
  3.  Having a pressing cloth to cover the image when ironing the image and interfacing together was handy, because some of the screen printing reacted to the heat setting on the iron. Or ironing with the tee-shirt facing down worked, too. 
  4. Pre-cutting the interfacing to the desired size, and then centering it over the back/wrong side of the design also seemed to work pretty well, rather than cutting out the tee shirt image to the finished size. The jersey would stretch out otherwise, but with the interfacing ironed to the image, it was very easy to cut out the design without the jersey knit material shifting and stretching out. Having about a half an inch extra of interfacing for margin of error was also a good idea. 
  5. Making sure the shirts are presorted by image size, and the largest image is measured for square/rectangle size, and the other images in that size range are cut to match it is an excellent idea. Makes for a far easier sewing experience - see how squished looking Del-a-where? looks? That's because it came into the game late and I didn't measure because I forgot about it in relationship to the other skinny text shirts. The whole project will go together easier later if there are things of equivalent size to put together, instead of a bunch of random pieces making it a jigsaw puzzle. Which makes it a bit of a challenge, if you like that sort of thing. There are a few things missing from this quilt that I can't find, but I have. To. Stop. So no shirt from my elementary school or where I student taught or my other soccer team or the Louvre or... Stopping. 
  6. For my own purposes, having templates might have been helpful, to give an idea of what the finished size looked like, once I had established what finished sizes I wanted, I could have cut squares or rectangles out of file folders or cereal boxes and laid them out over the design, and saved myself some trouble. 

Some of these shirts were hard to accommodate - the Disney shirt in the center bottom and the ruby slipper shirt in the upper left are prime example. They were awkward all around just because of their huge size. I'm sure I've said all of this before about making everything the same size, but for images that were close to being the same size, it was very helpful to cut them to being the same finished size, such as 12 1/2" or 10 1/2" square. Because not all of the graphics are of equal size, I didn't want to have an image floating in a 10" square of blank space, while next to it, the image filled the area. This is why some of my images are huge and some are cut way down; my personal taste says that it would have looked strange to have a square with a ton of empty space. I'm also thinking I should have picked a sashing with some color texture to it, instead of a solid, but maybe the quilting will make up for that.

Here are previous blog posts about this quilt in all it's incarnations - from back in February this year, December last and way back in November of 2012. I can't even remember what I was doing back then, aside from slogging through grad school.

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