T Shirt Quilt Sew Along Part 1: Supplies

This is going be fun, right? Lie with me…

No, really, we can do this. I have had a stash of Vandy shirts for quite some time in hopes of ‘someday’ making a blanket for my father in law. ‘Someday’ has arrived. We have less than 2 weeks until Christmas and I have more homemade gifts to make than I think I can actually pull off. So, just to add a little more pressure to myself, you can do this with me…

A little warning…I have never done this before, so we will be learning together. If you jump over to my Pinterest board, you will see where I have pinned lots of good tips and ideas in hopes that I can get a little help along the way.  I just found all of the info I needed spread out in different places, and everything either too much all in one place, or not quite enough for my novice self…that’s why I’m trying this sew along.  Hopefully it will help you break this down into a manageable project that you can walk away from if need be.  Warning number two: I don’t always follow the rules…so, some traditional quilters may vomit at my methods…promise I will try to behave as much as possible. Let’s just jump in, shall we?

For today, lets gather our supplies:

Wooly sweatshirt type fabric – found this at goodwill. I’m sorry I can’t tell you exactly what it is…seems to be cotton, poly, wool? If that’s even possible. You can use extra t shirts, a sheet, a knit fabric, or just buy some fabric you love that is big enough for your quilt.  If you will be purchasing new fabric, you may want to save this for when you finish the top to make sure you get enough or don’t buy to much and that it works well with your finished top.

Curved safety pins for basting – I don’t know if these are necessary, but I think it will make the job easier.

Lots of straight pins.

Quilting squares in as many sizes as you can get your hands on. These are not required, but you will find the make cutting and measuring much faster. You will at least want these or a large cutting mat with measurements on it and a long straight edge.

Rotary cutter – if you sew much or plan to quilt, now a great time to invest in this. Really. Get one.

Cutting Mat – the biggest one you can afford – at least big enough to accomodate your largest size square.  The measurements on the mat are very helpful and this will also protect your surface and just make life easier.  If you don’t have it in your budget, ask around – you may a friend kind enough to loan one to you. Like the rotary cutter, though, this is a good investment in your time and sanity.

Scissors – any scissors will work…just make sure they are good and sharp. I have awesome ones with a matching little trimming scissor with a lanyard. The person that ‘borrows’ these take their life into their hands. I love my scissors.  Don’t try to cut your squares with scissors – use the rotary cutter. You’ll thank me later.

Matching threads – I know, duh…but really, look at your shirts, consider what color you want your quilting to be and buy extra. You don’t want to run out in the middle of a seam. And, of course, bobbins.

T shirts – as many as you can get your hands on. I will have some links at the end of this post to help you determine how many you need. IMG_3090.JPGI am making a lap quilt, have about 20 in various sizes, and expect to have to creat some fill in pieces because of the designs I have to work with.

Graph paper – they make special quilting draft paper which I am sure would be wonderful, I’m just using some graph paper I stole from our stash of school supplies.

Starch. I used spray starch. I had intended to mix up some Argo starch and dip everything in that to make it super starched, but we are having a stretch of cold and dreary weather here, and with two dogs and 3 kids, it was not reasonable to spread them around the house. We will address my loathing for spray starch some other time. Argo Starch is great, easy to mix, cheap, etc. I will say this now and probably again later…if you starch, make sure you wash and rewash to get it all out. During the research portion of this journey, I read that if you leave any starch residue your quilt can attract silverfish and who wants holes in their quilt they worked so hard on?

Marking pencil or chalk – something washable in case you want to make notes, number your pieces, draft your quilting design, etc.

Templates – this too is optional…there are lots of options for quilting. Got them just in case I want to make some appliqués or some kind of pattern. I went with some see through plastic draw-and-cut-it-yourself ones.

Of course, you will want a sewing machine.IMG_3093.JPG

Wash everything. Read a tip somewhere to wash everything on warm, so I did that. I suppose that will avoid future shrinkage. Did that, everything still looks great…so we are ready to go.

Please let me know if you have any questions along the way and I will do my best to help or direct you a good source.  Any supplies I didn’t already have, I purchased at JoAnn Fabrics. These can be easily found at any fabric or craft store or online.

I thinks that’s enough for one post!

Next time we will deal with prepping the t shirts, design/ layout, etc. Get out there and get shopping!

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