Friday, July 25, 2014

5 Tips for a Terrific T-Shirt Quilt!

Dick's Marathon T-Shirts
Have you made a T-Shirt quilt?  Have you been saving all those T-shirts to make one someday?  I've got a few piles saved up...  I think it's a terrific way to save memories!

Collect a bunch of t-shirts, 12 or more.  Cut off the sleeves, neck binding, then slit the sides.  Rough-cut around the logo with plenty of space to cut out a nice size square or rectangle, as wide as the distance between arm holes will allow.

And here are some tips...

1)  Back blocks with lightweight fusible interfacing to stabilize stretch in the T-shirt material.
     I like to use Pellon 911FF.  Follow manufacturer's instructions to adhere stabilizer  to the wrong side of t-shirt squres; med-hot iron, count to 7 in each spot).

2)  Cut out blocks using a consistent measurement.
     Remember to include 1/4" seam allowance on all sides.  If you have smaller blocks, add strips of additional fabric or combine several small blocks to make one large block, (OR see tip #4).

3)  Use sashing to frame the blocks.
     This will help to stabilize the blocks, and provide a pleasing framework

Sashing between blocks
Sashing with corner posts
4)  Use smaller motifs as a border. 
     Use extra strips of the leftovers to fill in border or other blocks.

5)  Quilt the quilt.  Use batting.
     If tying, use a strong yarn or crochet thread, and anchor at the corners and middle of each block.
     If machine-quilting, use an overall pattern.

     PROBLEM:  Rubberized logos and motifs don't allow darning foot to glide over well while quilting without sticking to the logo or stretching the fabric.
     SOLUTION:  Use tissue paper to quilt over rubberized areas.  Then just pull off the tissue paper, perforated by the stitches.  Use a dry washcloth to rub out any stray bits.

Bind the quilt and give to your loved one to enjoy!  BINDING TUTORIAL

Natalie's Wedding Quilt
Have you made a T-Shirt quilt?  Share your tips here!  How about a Memory Quilt with pictures printed on fabric? Maybe that's next...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Binding ~ Faux Piping! (Plus a not-so-secret Formula!)

Try this great binding hack!
"If the Hat Fits" from the Buggy Barn book, Frightfully Crazy
Here's a way to pretend you went to all the work of adding piping to your binding without all the effort.  "If there's an easier way...", that's my motto.  This is also an easy finish for a lone UFO block - Make a pillow! (See TUTORIAL).

1-1/4" x width of fabric strips of main print - what you'll see as the outer edge.
1-1/2" x wof strips of accent print for flange/piping (NOTE:  1/4" difference creates a 1/8" flange)

You'll need 1 or 2 strips for a pillow, 5-6 strips for a baby quilt, 6-8 for a lap quilt, 8-10 for a twin/queen and 10 to 12 strips for a king size quilt.

OR ...
Want to know how to precisely calculate yardage for any binding?  Here's the Mathematical Formula:
* Measure the circumference of your project and add 12" for mitered corners and final seam.

(2 x W)+(2 x L) + 12 = C
* Divide that number by 40" (usable inches of width of fabric) to calculate the number of strips to cut; 
C / 40 = N
* Multiply that number by the width of strips desired to get the yardage amount.  In this case:  
N x 1-1/4" or 1-1/2" = Y
* Round up to the nearest 1/8 yard (0.125) or 1/6 yard (0.167)
Yardage      Decimal Conversion     Inches
(I keep all these quilter's math formulas and charts in my handy pocketbook  Quilter's Bible)

You're welcome.  Now, let's make it!

1)  STITCH all 1-1/4" main print strips together, end to end, using a diagonal seam to join, pressing seams open.  Repeat for all the 1-1/2" accent print strips

2)  STITCH to join both long strips together, using a 1/4" seam allowance.  This makes your binding 2-1/4" wide.  Press seams toward the main print, unless you want to fill your "piping", then press toward the accent color.  You may want to trim seam to 1/8".

3)  PRESS pieced binding in half, lengthwise.  See how the accent color peeks over at the folded edge?  YAY!

Use this neat little trick to roll and store binding.  Here's a little video:

Tuck the end in the back, and it will stay in place until needed.

Pull binding out of the center and it's ready to apply to the quilt.
If it's rolled like this, the binding doesn't twist or roll away.
4)  STITCH binding to quilt BACK using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Place binding with the right side of the main print facing the back side of the quilt.  Accent piece will be facing UP.

5)  MITER the corners as usual.  Stop stitching at 1/4" from the corner.  Remove from the sewing machine and clip threads.  Fold binding up to the corner at a 45-degree angle ↓.

Fold binding back down, keeping the folded edge evenly aligned with the previous corner, and realigning raw edges together ↓.  Begin stitching at the folded edge and continue around the quilt, mitering at each corner.

6)  FINISH the final mystic seam joint for a continuous, non-lumpy binding.  Here's a link to the tutorial: Binding Tutorial < or see in in my first (self-conscious, terrified) VIDEO <.

7)  Bring binding around to the front of the quilt and PIN the corners to form identical miters.

 NOTE:  I always take a minute to PRESS the binding away from the quilt, before folding the binding around to the front, getting a nice crisp fold at the seam.

8)  STITCH in the DITCH.  Pivot at the corners.

I'll sometimes use a stiletto or seam ripper to hold the binding in place as I stitch.

I've recently tried using those Clover Binding Clips, and those seem to work well too.  OR - skip the pins and the clamps and just get out the glue stick!  That works as well as anything!

Overlap beginning stitches, and you're finished!

 Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!  And maybe another UFO checked off the list... now to work on those Christmas quilts!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

4-H Summer Quilt Camp!

Each summer, I get to teach 4-H Quilt Camp in our county.  Held four consecutive afternoons, Moms are invited to come and it's definitely a team effort!   We teach these kids (ages 9 to 14) how to take perfectly good fabric, cut it up, then sew it back together again, with super fun results!

This year, there were 6 kids and their Moms or big sisters who would help to pin and press.  The kids had a choice of three different quilts to make:   (Some of my pictures were deleted, but maybe you can get the idea...)

Cut 10 @ 8-1/2" x 4-1/2" rectangles from 9 different prints, 1/4 yard each.  
Lay out and arrange blocks.

Have Mom help, then take a picture to help you remember the layout. 

Stitch 7 bricks together end to end to make 6 rows.
Stitch 8 bricks together end to end; make 4 rows.

Stitch 3 rows together to make a set.  Use 2 rows of 7 bricks and 1 row of 8 in the center.
Scoot to alternate the middle row (like bricks) and trim off the excess.
 Make 4 sections.  
Karissa stitches her sections

Cut 5 @ 8-1/2" x width of fabric strips (1-1/4 yards) for sashing. Join short ends together.
Measure the width of all the sets, and cut three sashing strips to that measurement, about 56".
 Stitch an 8-1/2" x 56" strip of coordinating fabric between each row
to grow the quilt to a nice twin-size quilt, 56" x 72".
Shelby's 1st quilt!  BRICKS: envelope finish, tied with rainbow yarn.

Using a walking foot

Mom helps...
Straight Line quilting!
Kaimbry's BRICKS:  A good start to a great finish!

Stitch 42 @ 2-1/2" x 42" strips of fabric together, end to end, using a diagonal seam. 

Cut that in half and stitch together (just keep sewing, just keep sewing...);  

 If you lay it out in the hallway, it will reach to the end of the building.
Cut that in half and stitch back together.
REPEAT the process as many times as needed until you get a decent-size, cool-looking quilt!
Lizzy's JELLY ROLL RACE, 52" x 64" quilt top, ready to send to the longarm quilter!

Cut 12 sets each of 3-1/2" x width of fabric light and dark strips (1-1/2 yards each light and dark, or 1/2 yard cuts of six different coordinating prints).  Stitch together into sets of 3 strips, alternating Light-Dark-Light for half, and Dark-Light-Dark for the other half.  Always press toward the dark.  Cut into 3-1/2" sections; PIN to nestle (kiss) the seam allowances (have Mom help), then chain-piece to sew those back together until you have a checkerboard with 3 x 21 squares.

Make 4 sections (just keep sewing, just keep sewing...)
Cut 5 @ 5-1/2" strips x width of coordinating fabric and join short ends together (7/8 yard).
Measure the length of each section, and cut 3 strips to that measurement;
Stitch 5-1/2" strips between the checkerboards for the perfect size lap quilt.
CHECKERBOARD lap quilt top 51" x 63"  
Since Lizzy's Jelly Roll quilt went so fast, she shopped in her Momma's stash to make a checkerboard too!
Lizzy's CHECKERBOARD -  60" x 72"
LOVE, love quilt camp!  I am continually impressed with what kids can create - well, any new quilter, for that matter.  They're pretty much fearless.  The kids had a blast, Moms also learned some great tricks.  Now it's nearly time for the County Fair!  These quilts will look great on display - Blue-ribbon winners, every one!

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