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Forum > Quilters' Corner > Ideas for quilting the top of a t-shirt quilt? ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Ideas for quilting the top of a t-shirt quilt?
ElizabethK

ElizabethK
Intermediate
Member since 3/28/08
Posts: 84
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Date: 11/26/13 6:25 PM

Hi All,

I am working on my first quilt: a t-shirt quilt for my kids' elementary school principal. She just took a new job so this is a going away gift from our PTO.

I am an experienced seamstress but this is really my first work on a quilt. I have pieced together the top quite nicely (stabilized the t-shirts, created sashing) but I'm wondering what to do about the actual quilting once I start sandwiching everything together. It is a block quilt - 12x12 t-shirt squares, surrounded by sashing. Should I stick with just a square pattern for the quilt top? Or any other ideas that are simple but nice? Diagonals? What should be the distance?

I just have a very simple straight stitch machine and have no experience with free-arm so I don't think that is an option, although that would be lovely.

BTW - I have loved this project and am already planning my next quilt!

Thank you!

wildwinowoman
wildwinowoman  Friend of PR
Intermediate
Kentucky USA
Member since 7/29/13
Posts: 62
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In reply to ElizabethK <<
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Date: 11/27/13 8:42 AM

I made a t-shirt quilt for my son's graduation from high school (the ONLY way to get rid of t-shirts he couldn't/wouldn't wear but wouldn't part with). I ended up tying it and I think it's much better than machine or hand quilting.

m/m

m/m  Friend of PR
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New Jersey USA
Member since 4/4/05
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In reply to ElizabethK <<
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Date: 11/27/13 12:36 PM

I'd tie it too. Use the information about how far apart your batting needs to be stitched for an idea for spacing. If you feel comfortable stitching in the ditch working on the woven sashing you could do that and then tie in the knit blocks. If your sewing machine can do a decorative stitch or even just stitch backwards and forward you could tie the blocks together using that instead of hand tying. A small single motif won't show too much. If you tie by hand fine wool yarn that's not machine washable will felt up while being washed. That will keep the ties in place. I've used odds and ends of crewel embroidery yarn and fine knitting yarn to successfully tie quilts for the long haul.

This sounds like a great gift!

ladyv
ladyv
California USA
Member since 7/21/05
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Date: 11/27/13 2:24 PM

I tied mine, too. The stabilized t-shirt seemed too heavy for regular quilting. I used fleece on the back (yeah, that stuff that they have a mountain of at Joann's). The fleece didn't need to be tied closely so that helped. My grandson loved the feel of it on the back of his throw. What a great going away gift!

------
Mardella in N. California

QuiltsShoots&Leaves

QuiltsShoots&Leaves  Friend of PR
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Massachusetts USA
Member since 10/25/05
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Date: 11/28/13 10:57 PM

I made a memorial t-shirt quilt several years ago and I used a combination of stitch-in-the-ditch (with 50 weight cotton thread in the bobbin and Sew-Art invisible nylon thread through the needle) and free motion with 50-weight cotton on top and in the bobbin. If you don't want to learn free motion before you quilt this quilt, you could stabilize by stitching in the ditch along all the sashing, then do long curving lines of stitching across the length and width of the quilt with your feed dogs engaged. I feel that curved wavy lines give you more freedom to play as well as not requiring the precision that many straight, parallel lines would need. Practice drawing some sample lines on paper with a pencil first until you get a look you like, then practice on a sample square of t-shirt, batting and backing. Then go for it. I'd quilt it rather than tying it because it will hold up longer and be sturdier. Just my two cents!

ElizabethK

ElizabethK
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Member since 3/28/08
Posts: 84
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Date: 11/30/13 11:07 AM

Thanks so much for your suggestions! I am going to take QuiltsShoots&Leaves suggestion to do a sample and I will try out samples before starting on the full quilt. It is going great so far! The funniest part has been matching all of the t-shirt colors - I have everything from neon green to pink but managed to arrange them in a pleasing manner!

sewkind
sewkind
Beginner
Connecticut USA
Member since 8/4/13
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Date: 12/1/13 12:55 PM

Hope we can see a picture of finished quilt.

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