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T-shirt quilt: Part 1

We are doing some spring cleaning, which includes going through all the boxes in our closets and basement with the goal of having an epic yard sale and getting rid of lots of junk. I am a big-time clothes hoarder, with boxes of clothes that I hang on to either because I hope to fit into them again one day (not likely to happen anytime soon) or because I am emotionally attached to them. I have recycled some of these old clothes into new ones or into other projects, but for the most part they just take up space. Although T-shirt quilts are maybe a bit cheesy, making one seemed like a good use of all the T-shirts I will never wear again. I collected a big pile of these: shirts from schools where I taught, my high school graduation shirt, a couple of band shirts, and some other old favorites. Jared pitched in a few as well. There are many tutorials for T-shirt quilts online, but they pretty much start the same way: cut away the sleeves and separate front from back, iron on fusible interfacing for stability, decide on a size, and cut. Pretty simple. I saved the unused side and sleeves of each shirt for rags.

I bought 6 yards of lightweight fusible interfacing at 99 cents a yard. This should have given me 12 18-inch lengths of interfacing, but since I didn’t measure very carefully, I ended up with only 11. I also had more T-shirts than I thought, so I’ll need to buy more. After ironing on the interfacing, I measured the largest designs and decided to cut 15-inch squares. With a half-inch seam allowance, they will measure 14 inches square in the final quilt. I made a template of newspaper and checked the placement carefully, trying to center the design. This wasn’t always possible, as many of the designs were too close to the neck opening to work, but I did the best I could.

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At the end of the night, I had 11 squares ready; the rest of my pile will have to wait until I buy more interfacing.

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Here are a few of my favorites, including the anarchy shirt that I loved in high school (I thought I was such a badass), my high school graduation shirt signed by everyone in the class, a school tie-dye shirt from my elementary teaching days, and my beloved Tripping Daisy shirt.

A couple of the shirts were too small to fill out the square so I will have to find some way of filling them in or framing them with another material. I will also have to decide on a layout and choose whether or not to add sashing between the panels. Should be fun!