Super Hero Set

So, forever ago I pinned these super hero templates from Martha Stewart…it seems to be a very popular pin – I guess Super Heroes just never go out of syle!

Anywho, I tweaked them a bit – changed the sizes, made some templates of my own, and got rollin – the kiddos are absolutely overjoyed – they don’t want to take them off!

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That was my fun sewing last week – jump in make some for your favorite supers, or if your not feeling so crafty, I’d be more than happy to make you one or two or twelve –

These are listed in my Square Shop (look under Gifts & Novelty Items) and on Etsy.

If you make some, I’d love to see!

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No Sew T Shirt to Dress

It took me longer to write this tutorial than to make the dress – no joke.

Give it a shot!

First, grab your supplies –  I started with a youth size medium sleeveless racerback T shirt – this will work with any sleeveless shirt with a binding.  We’ll try it with a regular t shirt next time…

You will also need –

  • IMG_1753Scissors or a seam ripper
  • About 3 – 3.5 yards of ribbon (1/8″ is easy to pull through – you could go up to 1/2″)
  • A Bodkin (this is a sewing tool used for threading elastic and turning things – mine is ball point) or a safety pin small enough to fit into the binding.  Make sure it’s nice and sturdy.

Grab  your scissors and start snipping:

No Sew Shirt to dress

Now grab your ribbon and bodkin or safety pin:

No Sew T shirt dress ribbon threading

A few close ups of the Ribbon Threading to help you along:

And there you go! Pull your ribbons through and tie off as desired, trim to the length you like.  I found it best to make sure the shirt is gathered in the front and not in the back – it will lay better that way.

Embellish your dress, and make it awesome! Here is ours finished (though as of yet unadorned) – best pictures I could get with my ‘I’m not so much in the mood for this right now’ model –

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Hope you enjoy – Happy NO SEWING!!!!!

T-Shirt Quilt Sew Along Part 7: The Binding

 This is the best part.

Because when you’re done, you’re done…

I had a plan for this one…and I made the mistake of working when I should have been sleeping. Don’t do that…but it worked out…and I think I like what I ended up with better than what I planned…

So, what I intended to do was make some diagonal strips with all of my leftover t-shirts in no particular pattern – just randomly picked up and cut into strips and sewn together…so I would have some white, grey, black, and gold in there.  Then, somewhere in the process, I would add some of those thin t-shirt pieces that I took of sleeves and shirts with smaller wording and images on them into the long strip of binding. That was the plan…

HOWEVER…due to my poor sleep habits, I somewhere came up with the idea just to do black and gold and work the t-shirt strips in…so I worked on that for a bit...hated it….went to bed. Almost in tears. It wasn’t hard…it was just…you know…unproductive….

This is what I ended up with when I stopped…adorable…if you want to make a bumble bee quilt or some caution tape…

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So, if you want to do this, or something similar, just cut strips the same width. If you don’t want them to be the same size, cut them different widths.  They don’t have to match up in length.  Then, sew them together on the long cut edges.  If you want them to be straight, line them up straight, if you want them cut on a diagnoal, line them up with about a 1-2 inch overhang on each progressive strip.  I neglected to that on the one shown…but it will save you waste when you cut it for the binding.  Use your binding ruler, and cut it to the width you need.  I cut mine about 2.5″.  

And then threw it all in the scrap pile. Because maybe some day I’ll do a construction quilt or make a bumble be costume?  I’ll happily take a custom order for something of the sort… Sigh.  Moving on…


Here’s what I ended up doing in the end –

I cut some strips out of my leftover t-shirts, and my random skinny pieces from the shirts, cut those all the same height, and didn’t worry about the length.

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I sewed them together as if I were making a long strip of bias tape (great tutorial for that over at sew4home.com – just scroll down about to the middle of the post if you are starting with strips already).  Basically, your are going to lay the strips on top of each other at a right angle, right sides together, and then sew a diagonal line…make sure that when you open it, they form a continous strip (sounds simple, right? It is, really, I PROMISE…just do practice first if you haven’t done it before…) IMG_3399 I didn’t make a full continuous length yet – I took a few long pieces and pinned them to quilt edges to see how I liked the placement with the t-shirt pieces…

And then pinned it around in a few places and made some adjustments…I ended up working on one edge at a time…this made my life easier. Because IMG_3404making my life easier is very important sometimes. This will work on a t-shirt quilt – probably not so much on a traditional one….

I picked an edge and started sewing. I did the sides first, then let the top and bottom binding overlap that.  I stitched over those once finished to make sure they were closed and wouldn’t get snagged…sorry, I didn’t get a picture of that – were at “go time” by now…I’ll try to get one later if you’d like to see it. You may be able to zoom in to the picture at the bottom of the post and see that?

All I did was fold it over, pin it in place and sew a straight stitch – I did not do the pressing, ironing folding over (I did press as I added the strips together). So, you I have a raw edge. It is not folded under and it is only sewn once…instead of attaching the binding, folding over and then stitching on again.  I just didn’t see that going well with t-shirt fabric…and I like the look of the raw edges.

Anyway, there’s the binding…all it’s finished glory. You’ll have to wait for the next post for the big reveal and full shot of the entire quilt…because I have to tell you the story of the man behind the quilt and why I enjoyed this project so very much. So, get sewing and I’ll get that last post up soon! In that post, I’ll also share some links to helpful tutorials and tips and some final thoughts on the process.  In the meantime, I’ll bask in the glory of having actually finished this project and loving it.  It’s a a beautiful moment…

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T Shirt Quilt Sew Along Part 6: Backing and Quilting

Time to add the backing!

Woot Woot!  I think this is one of the things that frightens people the most about quilting.  Surprisingly, it’s much simpler than I anticipated.  So jump on in and don’t be afraid.

Unfortunately, the fabric I had stashed for this project ended up being a little too small once I had everything put together (yes, I didn’t do enough pre-planning of my blocks…don’t judge.)

So, I measured out my finished top and headed to the fabric store (with the top in tow  – you know, just in case).  Found some yummy soft sweatshirt fabric after fondling some knits and fleeces and flannels…took it over the cutting counter…the nice lady cutting my fabric was kind enough to help me double check my measurements, and we were good…so back home for more sewing!

I did not use any batting because the backing material was pretty thick already.  Probably wouldn’t have, anyway, on this project.

I laid it out folded in quarters and squared everything up, trimming as little as possible…IMG_3098

Spread it way out on the floor, pressed it on the floor…made sure my top was good and pressed and ready to go –

Grabbed my basting spray and got started.

I started by folding the top over in the middle and sprayed and smoothed small sections from there, and then did the same thing on the other half.

Once basted, I used those fancy curved quilting pins (yep, they’re awesome – who would have thought such a simple little thing could be so life altering?  I probably put in way too many pins…but oh well…I pinned the heck out of it  – starting from the center and working my way out again.  I probably had a pin every 5-6 inches or so.

That’s it. done there. If you want, you could stitch baste by hand or machine around the edges a little just to hold things in place – I did not do this.

Moving on – gotta get some quilting done!


Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star…

To get this baby quilted, I started by straight stitching around the stars (through the top and back) that were already on the blocks.  That gave it a good hold, but not really quite enough IMG_3453quilting.  So, I called in my little elves to help me cut out some stars from scrap fabric.  This is where I used the templates  – I traced some of the stars from the blocks onto the template and cut those out.  The elves cut the stars from some left over t-shirt scraps. There were three of those little guys, but this is the most cooperative one that let me get a sort of decent picture.

The stars where sprayed with basting spray and pinned on where we thought they would work best and then I headed of to the sewing machine again – It was quite an adventure IMG_3457sewing around all of those little stars on my machine (no long arm…), but I managed to twist and roll and tuck and turn and get it done.  That’s about it! Not a ton of quilting, but enough…on the back, you can can just barely see an outline of the stars.  And they are very random, so I didn’t have spend a riduculous amount of time making sure everything was placed just so… Hard to see, but here are a couple of shots of that…

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Side note – I have not at this point trimmed away the excess fabric from the back – you can do that if you want…I saved it for when I put the binding on just in case I needed a little wiggle room.

And, that’s it! All done with that…now we can move on to the binding….Next time!




T Shirt Quilt Sew Along Part 5: Little Details

This quilt was a bit more challenging and time consuming than I originally intended it to be…but it was worth every minute…so here are a few tidbits on how I made some things work – I suppose I could have included this with the blocks and rows and such, but it just seems so overwhelming and like so much information. Had this not been my first, though, I don’t think I would have had to work so hard at it.  It all came together quite beautifully.

At this point, of course, I am writing up the information after finishing the quilt – because, as life does happen – my internet connection in the workshop did not cooperate, nor did time…I have to admit here that I put the finishing stitches on this quilt about an hour before everyone showed up at our home for dinner on Christmas day.  But, it was finished and wrapped up and under the tree…

IMG_3161  First, Laying it all out to make it work was a challenge.  I think I mentioned that I wanted everything to be same size in each row – and that I wish I had thought this through a little more in the beginning…I love the finished product and, when all is sewn and done, I am glad it worked out the way it did – but would have much rather have started with something much less complex…like, you know, cutting the same size squares out of t-shirts, and simply sewing those together.  I would highly recommend that if this is your first go around.  I can’t count how many times I rearranged, layed out, rolled up, stacked up…and so on and on and on and on….


A few outer column details…

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This piece was fun – I wanted to somehow hang on to the buttons – because these were two of Papa’s favorite shirts – and I just it would be fun….So, I put the shirt, right side down, on top of a square the same width as the others in the column and stitched it on in the center – opened it up, pressed it open, and did a quick top stitch. I also basted it on around the open edges so it would stay put. A little visual sequence:

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IMG_3140Here is one little piece – I had two of these, so I put one on each side.  I simply stitched these to a square that matched up with rows with a contrasting piece of scrap t-shrit behind them to give them some pop. I used a zig-zag stitch – a straight stitch or pretty decorative stitch work here as well.  I used a quick shot of basting spray to hold it still while I sewed.  There are some pictures of that process for another piece below…

IMG_3146Same thing here…had two, so balanced those out on either side – did a straight stitch outlining the V, and then trimmed away excess leaving about 1/8 or 1/4 inch or so on the outside of the stitch. I had these overlapping the buttoned shirts above.

And, here are those three pieces all put together — the third photo gives a little sneak peak of the finished corner.

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 The next block in one column required a little piecing – so here are a couple of shots of that.  – the two whites were sewn together, with the grey piece sewn onto one with a black piece of scrap sandwiched between the two – and the gray strips added to get the width right.  This is what I did ablve for the little oval pieces….

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One of my faves…

Next to Elmo, this is probably one of my favorite details, and I’m probably the only one htat will ever know it’s there…except for my husband…whom is painfully aware of more details than he ever cared to hear about. Bless him. And any of you that have managed to read this far…bless you, too.

There’s a quilting rule that says you MUST put your name or at least your initials and the year somewhere on your quilt.  This is usally tucked in corner, or on the back or on a tag…sometimes even hand written somewhere on the quilt…Being the lucky owner of several family quilts that are not marked, I get this.  It’s not about being narcissistic.  Whoever owns this quilt 50 or 100 years from now will want to know who made it… so I found this sweatshirt at Goodwill – It had ‘Vanderbilt’ hand embroidered on the chest.  I don’t know if this was someone’s homemade creation, or if it had at one time been available on campus?  Who knows! If anyone has ever seen one before, I’d love to know!  No, I don’t claim to be an embroiderer…didn’t even try to pretend that I could make such lovely stitches…

In the beginning, I wasn’t sure where I would use it – maybe it would be a big star on the back? Maybe a little circle or square or triangle?  Possiblities are endless…I did manange to NOT cut this one because I knew when I decided where I wanted it, I didn’t want to have worry about having cut it incorrectly.

When I got to the binding (More to come on this in Part 7, and if you jump over there and see what I did with that, you’ll see why it was a perfect fit), I finally figured it out…yep. It took that long.  I cut into a strip the same width as the binding, and ’embroidered’ (I use that term loosely…) my initals, the year, and ‘For Papa’ onto the strip.  I almost dug through looking for some embroidery floss – pretty sure I have some somewhere, but then remembered that I had at some point pulled away a super thin thread of t-shirt while cutting something – and well…hello!  Let’s do it with a piece of t-shirt 😉 –

I grabbed a black scrap and sliced off a slither, and stretched it out as much as I could – if you try this, don’t make too thin or it will snap on you.  Dug through my needle stash, found the one with the biggest eye I could, forced it through, and got to work…a little cheesey, yes, but maybe that’s why I love it so much…

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 Ok, I think that’s it for now – I’m sure I could prattle on some more…Next time, we’ll add the backing and get it quilted.  Are you seeing a light at the end of the tunnel yet?

Hope you’ve gotten started on yours!

Much love, Cindi