This t-shirt quilt was for a friend in memory of her father-in-law. Apparently it was a tradition for him to get her funny shirts from the crawfish shacks he frequented. I’ll admit some of them were pretty funny.
I liked this one for another reason, too. If I’m correct in my thinking, this is the first quilt where we picked out fabric via online; she lives in a different state. I liked the whimsical fabric choice for the backing, and I used a coordinating fabric for the sashing.
It was a nice thematic change of pace for me. I’m in Georgia, so I probably won’t get the chance to make many crawfish quilts.
This is a short update on the sloth t-shirt quilt.
For the fabric around the shirts, my friend likes apple green, among many colors, so I thought it would be a good match. Normally I go for darker colors when making the frames and borders, but since there’s so much room here I think it’ll look nice.
For me, there’s not much else that compliments apple green better than beige. So for the complimentary fabric, I chose an unbleached muslin. I love how it has texture and little flecks in it.
I’ve framed the shirts so far and made most of the blocks for the other parts of the top. I have about four blocks left to make before I can assemble the top.
The sloth quilt is going to be on hold for a bit while I get a more time-sensitive commission taken care of. I’ll post updates on that as well. Stay tuned!
This quilt is a great example of why I tell folks not to worry about not having enough t-shirts for a certain size quilt. I can always add in more blocks. For example, this person had 8 shirts but wanted a twin-sized quilt for her daughter. So I simply went in and added quartered blocks alternating with the shirts. I like the overall look.
Also, I had a couple of clients want to know about embroidery. That is one service I do not offer as of yet. Sometimes I think about getting a fancy embroidery machine, but then I remember that I am limited on space and funds and time. I don’t know if I would even have the time to fully learn it. I still have a serger that I am too scared to touch.
One thing about this quilt that I especially love is the backing. It is made from a fabric called “shirting flannel”. So it’s extra soft. Basically, it’s pajama pants material. Can you imagine?! A quilt with pajama pants material on the back?! I keep looking for more ways to incorporate this kind of material into my quilts as it’s just so darned comfy!
I’m at the beginning stages of a sloth t-shirt quilt and thought I’d share. This one isn’t a surprise, so I can post along the way.
I’ve seen some online tutorials and such on t-shirt quilts, but unless the person is an actual quilter they all forget one thing: stabilizer. T-shirts are made of jersey knit fabric, and that stuff likes to curl, shift, and stretch. So you NEED stabilizer to make your shirts look properly flat and keep the picture straight.
I’m cutting these blocks in a smaller one than usual. They’ll be 12″x12″.
I am happy when shirts are such as I don’t have to re-center them or add on fabric at the neck and shoulders so that everything is squared properly. It makes for a quick evening’s work!
One thing I love about the quilting community is that we love to “talk shop”. When I’m at my booth at craft fairs, I always have at least a couple of quilters come up. It feels good when they admire my work, and we chat about patterns, etc.
This past weekend I had a quilter walk up and say hi. She commented to me that I was under-priced. The truth is…she’s right. And I know it. I looked at her and nodded. All I could say was, “You know, those who don’t know about quilts think I’m over-priced. Those who understand quilts know that I’m under-priced. What can you do?” I’ve been lucky for the most part in that most folks will quietly look at a price tag and walk off if it’s too high for their expectations. I’ve only had one person gasp and comment about how high it was. I didn’t even argue. I’ve become very good at shrugging.
Basic economics provides an understanding of price points. You have to find the lowest you can go without sacrificing profits while also going as high as your customer is willing to pay. It’s get tough, though, when store quilts come into the picture. A quick search for “quilts” at Target.com turned up exactly what I mean. Take a look. Some pretty quilts…not a single one above $150 in price. This is the starting price for a t-shirt lap quilt for me. That same lap quilt that other quilters have commented was under-priced. So you see my struggle.
So I’d like to take a moment and let you in on the world of store-bought quilts. I’d like to start off by saying that I have absolutely no issue with owning them. I have one my grandmother gave me for college, and it is precious to me. What I DO have a problem with is folks who expect store prices for handmade quilts. I’ve seen charts and stuff floating around the internet, but I decided to go upstairs to my own store quilt and show you what I mean.
Firstly – quilts are supposed to have 1/4 inch seams. That is standard. And at first glance, you’ll notice that this seam is 1/4 inch. This is a double-wedding ring style quilt, and the 1/4 inch seams were where the multi-colored fabric was joined to the white fabric.
However, if I looked a little closer at other parts, I noticed something different. My ruler is set to 1/4 inch for reference.
Yup, you’re seeing correctly. That is about a 1/8 inch seam. I love this quilt, but I did notice certain parts of it came apart rather quickly. This is one of the biggest differences between the store quilts and the handmade ones. You can see in this picture where my pretty store quilt has come apart at the seams in a couple of places.
Another difference is the batting. For those who don’t speak “quilt”, the batting is the inside of the quilt. It’s sandwiched between the top and bottom fabric. It’s what helps to give the quilt its weight and warmth. Now some folks are picky about their quilts in specific areas. Some only use the highest quality fabric and would most certainly give me the stink-eye for shopping at JoAnn’s fabric store. Some are picky about their binding (the sides of the quilt) and only hand-sew it, disdaining anything done by machines for finishing elements. For me, I’m picky about my batting. I’ve seen some mighty pretty quilts that I felt weren’t quite “right” because they had polyester batting in them. That being said, it’s the quilter’s choice, and I would never criticize someone else’s quilting choices, mine being up for scrutiny in return. It’s simply my personal preference to use cotton batting. In store-bought quilts, you’re almost always getting sub-par batting. My store quilt is nowhere near as heavy or warm as the ones I’ve made for my family or to sell.
For those playing along at home, my preference is the Warm and Natural Company 100% Cotton Batting. It’s warm without being bulky (aka low “loft”). I like my quilts thinner but warm, so cotton batting is ideal. Polyester batting is what you want when you’re going for a puffy look.
As for the process, I documented my steps in making a t-shirt quilt for my cousin. Here’s the link to my Facebook page photo album. In it, you’ll see all of the steps. Here it is.
So if you’re new to the whole quilting deal or are looking to buy one and are getting overwhelmed by the prices, then consider what I’ve told you. If you would like even more insight, take a look at this article. It is a goldmine of information on pricing, etc.