Hope Memory Quilt

*Quick note – the top photo is one of the in-progress ones.  I forgot to get a picture of the finished project due to various reasons. 

This quilt was hard.  Not the design. No, this one was hard because of who it was for.  This was the first quilt I ever made for a mother. Emotionally, I felt a huge responsibility to make sure this quilt was 100% perfect.  It needed to do justice to her son’s memory and who he was.

So I took stock of what I had – about half and half t-shirts and dress shirts.  The son had done mission work and had a ton of HOPE shirts.  He also had bold taste in dress shirts – wearing some pretty gorgeous pastel stripes.  It was almost a shame to cut them up.  Almost.

I’d shown my friend who commissioned this pictures of a previous quilt I’d done that kept the collars attached, but she went for a simpler look.  I used the front of the shirts, sewing down the fronts so the shirts wouldn’t come open.

Andrew quilt

The HOPE shirts were a pretty easy element as well.  The problem came in with one special shirt that had a lot of well-wishes on it.  They were all over the shirt – front, back, sleeves, etc.  There was nowhere I could make a block that wouldn’t leave out a LOT of people’s messages, so I was stumped.  I looked back at the other t-shirts and realized I had a fair amount of free space beneath the HOPE logo, so I went for it.  I cut out each and every well wish, ironed it on with double-sided fusible interfacing, and placed them all throughout the quilt.  I was worried about the ink running off, so I soaked the shirt in salt water in an attempt to set the ink better.  For the most part it worked, but my arch-nemesis, the color red, struck again.  It made a bleed spot on the quilt that I caught after washing it, and I panicked.  However, with some localized scrubbing I was able to get it out.

There was a shirt included with a lot of signatures, so I cut them out and placed them around the quilt so as not to lose any.

This quilt was also a bit funny in that I didn’t do my usual process of meeting my friend at JoAnn’s.  She picked out the backing fabric from some scraps and squares I had to my house. It worked, though, and the blue fabric complimented the pastel dress shirts nicely.

One last element that was new was the message block.  My friend found an idea online that involved having a sweet message “from” the son. When I read the message, something seemed off.  It had his name typed out, and I wondered if I could possibly go one step further.  I asked her if it was possible to get me a copy of his signature.  She was able to, and after adding it the message looked more sincere.  There was something about that signature that felt perfect.

I was asked to include this label. I realized a signature would be perfect, and they were able to scan one for me.

This is also one of the few pictures I have with the recipient holding it.

A memory quilt made from dress shirts and t-shirts. This is the mother holding it after it was gifted to her as a surprise.


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