Fran Gonzalez, Instructor
You must have standard sewing equipment and basic quilt making skills to take this class. You must know how to rotary cut, press, sew a 1/4" seam, square blocks, measure for borders, calculate and construct backing and apply quilt binding.
The 66" x 83" class quilt is a lap/twin size, but your t-shirt quilt measurements will vary, depending upon the number and size of the designs you include in your quilt. I will give you instructions for making three different sizes of this vertical strip quilt. I will also suggest other layout options for future t-shirt quilts.
66" x 83.5" class quilt
You will need:
You will also need:
** Note: The large square ruler that you use for this project must be an adequate size for the designs in your t-shirt collection. To find the minimum size square ruler that you will need, measure the largest design in your collection, from printed edge to printed edge, and add a total of 3" for horizontal and vertical margins.
I own a wide variety of large square rulers that I use throughout the construction of my t-shirt quilts. My largest and most versatile ruler is the 18 1/2" acrylic square Quilt Sense by Marti Mitchell. I often use my 16 1/2" and 15" rulers to cut out designs and/or to trim them down to their final block size. Large square rulers are very useful when making pieced blocks.
***Note: If you have access to a steam press, use it for this project. Consider purchasing one if you are committed to making several t-shirt quilts in the future. This is a tremendous timesaving tool that will make the stabilization process much quicker and easier. The first time I used my steam press, I was able to stabilize 48 blocks for four different t-shirt quilts within one 90 minute session!
I own a SS-P200 Digital Simplicity Quik Press that I purchased several years ago online from Target for $210. I have been very pleased with it. It is easy to use and has six fabric/temperature settings. It heats up quickly, signals when it reaches the desired temperature setting and generates bursts of steam. It has an automatic shut-off and sounds an alarm when the presser shoe has been down for more than 10 seconds. These are important safety features.
I set up my steam press on the countertop in our guest bath, but there are steam press stands available for sale online. My press is approximately 22" x 24" x 9", with an actual pressing surface of 9.5” x 22”. It weighs 22 pounds, generates 100 pounds of pressure, stores easily and has a non-stick Teflon coating that wipes clean.
The only drawback I have discovered with this particular steam press is that the water reservoir cannot be emptied, so it leaks when it is in carrying position. This is not a problem for me since I rarely move it. In any case, since the water is so hard in my area of the country, I prefer using a spray bottle to dampen the fabric instead of using steam from the water reservoir.
In addition to using a steam press to apply fusible products to fabric, I also use it to iron large objects like tablecloths, bed linens, fabric yardage and drapes. With a little practice, I have been able to press clothing with excellent results. I have also found it to be very helpful when making photo transfers and when pressing embroidery.
Three sample layouts
I will give you instructions for making three sizes of my vertical strip quilt, with two layout variations for each size. Here are approximate quilt sizes based on a 14 1/2" finished block. I have also included the minimum and maximum number of t-shirt designs you will need for each size.
Small: 55" x 53" - minimum 4 / maximum 11 designs
Medium: 56" x 69" - minimum 5 / maximum 14 designs
Large: 66" x 83" - minimum 6 / maximum 17 designs
In Lesson Two, you will choose the vertical strip layout that is most appropriate for your particular t-shirt collection.
I recommend one of these soft, lightweight tricot stabilizers because they allow the t-shirt fabric to retain much of its softness and draping quality.
You can use a non-woven or woven fusible stabilizer instead of a knit, but your stabilized t-shirt blocks will be thicker, heavier and less flexible.
Count the number of designs you want to include in your quilt and use the following information as a guide for purchasing the right amount of stabilizer for your quilt.
If you are using 20" wide stabilizer, you will need
If you are using 60" wide stabilizer, you will need
Read the instructions for the particular type of interfacing you select. Some manufacturers recommend pre-shrinking, but I have never done this with the lightweight interfacings that I use.
Tip: Save any wide leftover strips to stabilize later blocks, no matter what product you use.
It is best to wait until after you have stabilized your blocks before selecting fabrics for your quilt. At that point, your t-shirt panels will be much easier to handle and there will be no danger of stretching them out of shape. It will also be easier to audition fabrics with the blocks after they have been stabilized.
Use a low-loft, lightweight batt such as Quilter’s Dream Poly Request. This product is especially suitable for t-shirt quilts because it is thin and lightweight.
It is best to wait until after you have completed your quilt before purchasing the batting. At that point, you will know the exact size that you need.
It is best to wait until after you have completed your quilt before purchasing the backing. At that point, you will know the exact size you need. Backing size will differ depending on whether you choose to do the quilting yourself or send it to a long arm quilter.
You may check the Class Supply Glossary in the Library for generic descriptions of products that may be sold under various names in different countries.