T Shirt Quilt Sew Along Part 8: Final Tips and the Man Behind the Gift


In our family, all you have to say to solicite a smile or a giggle is that one name: Papa.


Photo by Stella Dolce Photography photography. Used with permission (c) 2011 Edited by me.

Who is he?  A father, a brother, a husband, an uncle, a grandfather, and a great grandfather.  I have lost count of all of the children that can call him their own.   It is rare to meet a man so full of love for his family.

Papa is retired from the United States Post Office and spends his spare time bowling, attending Vanderbilt Men’s Basketball games, attending his grandchildren’s sporting events and school programs, and taking care of his family. If he’s not doing that, he’s probably talking to somoeone about Vanderbilt or reading something about Vanderbilt.  I have the blessing of having been married to his son for 10 years and just two weeks ago was finally able to attend my very first Vanderbilt Basketball game.  They have season tickets, you see. But they so rarely miss a game (and Papa, like NEVER), that I have not had the opportunity to sneak into one.  My children have made it to games…but not I.  Finally…I made it.  It was awesome.

Papa is fierce, stubborn, set in his ways, opinionated, and outspoken.  He is a God-fearing, and faithful man that gives a beautiful, Godly example of what a husband and father should be.  He is not afraid to tell us if he does not approve of our choices, especially when he knows we can do better and know better.  And yet, he loves us all just the same.  His love and openness to serve and assist in unending and far reaching.  And, often, this can be taken for granted.  I only hope that he knows how very much we all love him and appreciate his love and wisdom.

And that is why this project was such a labor of love.  I have been planning it for at least 3 years – I think the idea came when I was cleaning out my daughters closet and couldn’t bring myself to part with the Commodores onsie and bib set Granny bought her to…stashing away shirts from my household, other family members, and even enlisting Granny to sneak some of his shirts out of his stash.  This has been the cause of a I’m sure more than one arguement, as he has told me on more than one occasion – “I don’t know why she keeps throwing my shirts out….there ain’t nothing wrong with them…”  Bless his heart.

Well, I think he was happy with the finished project.  


Final Thoughts, Tips, and Helpful Links

Starch & Interfacing – I did starch my shirts well in the beginning, I did not use interfacing at all – I did not use starch throughout – I found it more cumbersome than helpful – I did iron very well, and am comfortable with knits.  I can see, though, on the finished product, how interfacing might be a good thing – but I am very happy with it without and like the weight with nothing added.

Tools – I used pretty much everything I listed in Part 1.  I did go back for more shirts and backing material because what I originally planned to use was just not quite enough.

Things I would do differently – 

  1.  Maybe use interfacing?
  2. Plan ahead a little more before cutting.
  3. Use more uniform squares to avoid measurement errors…
  4. …or measure more 😉

Things I loved that I wouldn’t change:

  1. The binding – I absolutely LOVE the way the binding turned out and plan to do that again.
  2. Having some uniformity – I don’t know why that matters to me – I usually love randomness…but I love some balance to things like this.
  3. The backing – I used sweatshirt fabric. Love the weight of it and sturdiness when sewing.  Might experiment with something closer to a t-shirt weight or use t-shirts themselves, but I really liked this.
  4. Having some flexibility to change my mind as I worked.
  5. The time – wouldn’t take it back – worth every minute.

Useful links and resources – These are some of the places I found great advice, tips, and inspiration for this project and t-shirt quilts in general – please browse through them and study up!  There are some folks way more talented than I am that offer some wonderful advice!

My pinterest board for quilt resources – all of the below, and then some, are here.

Inpiration for tagging/dating the quilt…Loved this idea – and, of course, hers is much lovelier than mine…Photo by Nana Company: http://nanacompany.typepad.com/nanacompany/2012/02/a-postcard-from-paris.html

Photo by Nana Company: http://nanacompany.typepad.com/nanacompany/2012/02/a-postcard-from-paris.html

This pin shows you how many shirts you need for different sizes – that was a helpful starter – the link leads to a blog where I can find nothing about quilting or t-shirts – but a good pic, nonetheless.

Visual Inspiration with lots of pictures of completed quilts on about.com.

Starch & Sizing discussions – VERY informative…on equilters.comniagra

Drafting your quilt tutorial from Bee in my Bonnet – great site!

Another tutorial and visual inspiration – this one uses much more detailed quilting…Normal According to Me

Those are just a few!  Lots more on the pinterest board.  My best advice? This is a REALLY fun project – make sure you are ready to tackle it and don’t worry about mistakes.  They are easily corrected.  If you have any questions along they way, or need any advice or suggestions, I’d be more than happy to help.

AND I must add a special thanks to all my friends that helped me make decisions and the folks at Creative Village in Old Hickory for their input and encouragement, as well.  I’ll try to update this ASAP and add links to all their fun stuff!

Here is a good spread out picture of the finished quilt – I ALMOST forgot to add…sigh…


  My pastor shared a woodworking quote with us a couple of weeks ago, and it very much applies to quilting experience. Not sure I got it exactly right, but I will leave that for my final thought.

What I make may be for someone else, but how I make it is for myself…


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