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!
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.
A few years ago I went to a Sewing and Quilting Expo, and I bought some fabric there that featured French women. It was such pretty fabric, and I just HAD to have it. Well, I bought and then didn’t know what to do with it. So it just sat in my fabric stash for a good, long while.
In my recent drive to take care of some of my long-resident fabric, I brought this piece back out. Well, it didn’t lend itself to the usual quilt fabric cutting, so I used rulers and cut out individual ladies. To do this, I ended up sacrificing every other row of the print. It felt positively sinful, but it was either that or put it back in the box for an indeterminate amount of time longer.
I’d wanted to try a technique for a while where you created a block that featured an off-centered focus in the middle. Since the ladies were of varying sizes, I figured now would be as good of a time as any to try it out.
I did have to break my rule a little and purchase some blue, but otherwise I had all of the other fabrics already on hand – even the backing! Yes, I was thrilled when I noticed some fabric I’d purchased at an estate sale in the neighborhood matched the colors on the front and also possessed a slightly French feel. Boom! Backing! All I had to do was make it slightly bigger by adding on some more of the gold fabric.
I added borders to help tone down some of the business from the blocks, and I’m happy with it, especially the pink fabric on the outermost border.
Since gold was featured so widely, I decided to stick with that and use gold-colored thread for the quilting part. The quilting itself being simple waves all the way down.
It was a fun project, and I’m always happy to pick up a new technique.
This quilt came as a result of a find in the JoAnn’s remnant bin. I’d picked it up and put it back several times, and I finally decided to just grab it. I coordinated it using fabrics I already had on hand for the most part. Several of the fabrics were left over from previous projects, and a couple were also remnant bin finds. This is the game I play. And I believe I won it this time.
It’s really a simple pattern – quarter blocks alternating with framed blocks and 2″ sashing in between. The only real issue I had was that the purple fabric I used for the sashing is no longer made. It had been in my fabric stash since almost the beginning of my quilting obsession. I knew nothing else was even close, so I had to think. I finally made a pieced top and bottom sashing using the same fabric that framed the dinosaur print. I think it worked out alright.
I quilted it using a variegated pink thread and used a purple flannel-backed satin for the backing.
Side note: I was in one of the Sunday school classrooms and saw where the same fun dinosaur fabric was used to make the curtains. I commented on it, and a friend said her mother had recently made those curtains and others for all the classrooms. I got tickled and told her I’d probably bought my remnant as a result from her mother’s purchase. As it is, that dino fabric is very popular and is sold out in many of the stores. I can see why; it’s such a fun print!
When I went to my crafting weekend the other week, I started several quilts. Most of them I had to finish once I returned home because I was short on one type of fabric or another. Well I’ve been busy getting those settled and ready.
I three more stadium quilts. One is blue and silver with crepe back satin backing – the color of one of the local high schools.
South Gwinnett High School
Another one is maroon, black, and gold themed. It is the colors and mascot of one of the local high schools. It’s the section in which my church is located, and it’s also where my husband and many of my friends went. (My county is huge, and we have a ridiculous amount of schools.)
Brookwood High Broncos
The third one is another school’s colors -black and silver/gray. Those colors can be bland if you don’t use them correctly. In this case, I made simple blocks and used a pretty gray patterned fabric for the sashing to add texture and interest.
Shiloh High Generals
Another one I made using the split rail (aka rail fence) design, and it’s garden themed. I also used the cute pink fabric as part of the backing as well.
I have two others that are done, but I ran out of daylight to take pictures. I’ll check in tomorrow with their pictures.
I plan on selling these at the craft fairs or on my Etsy shop.