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Create a T-shirt memory quilt

Posted April 02, 2014 in Advice Column, Ames

Need a perfect gift for the graduate in the family? Give a personalized T-shirt quilt using the graduate’s own shirts. That is, if you can wrangle them away from him or her (be sure to get permission). It may seem like an impossible task to turn a drawer full of shirts into a memory quilt, but it’s quite possible. If you don’t sew yourself, ask your quilt shop for a list of people who will gladly be hired to make your quilt. To make it yourself, you may find the following paragraphs helpful.

T-shirts are stretchy, so the first step is to stabilize them with an interfacing recommended by your quilt shop. Cut the stabilized shirts into squares or rectangles, and treat them just like a block in the quilt.

T-shirt quilts tend to become unmanageably large because it’s emotionally difficult to exclude specific shirts. Sometimes we solve this problem by placing blocks on the back of the quilt as well as the front.

Be aware that T-shirt quilts are not inexpensive, due to the cost of stabilizer, supplemental fabric, batting and labor involved in finishing the quilt. Some non-quilters think the maker has no expenses, because, after all, the shirts didn’t cost the maker anything.

Despite all the hurdles to clear, making a T-shirt quilt is a worthwhile effort and truly captures favorite memories personal to the graduate. Use your local quilt shop experts to help you be successful. That’s what they are there for. Send topic ideas to kelly@iquilts.com. Feedback is welcome.

Information provided by Kelly Irwin, owner, Quilting Connection, 238 Main St. Ames, 515-33-3048.





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