This is another senior quilt I made. It was from her softball jerseys and shirts; she had been playing softball most of her life. I met with her mother, and one of the first things she told me was that her daughter was a “girly girl.” We used this info to look for the backing. We wandered over to the pink fabric section and saw some lined rainbow fabric. It looked alright, but there was something about it that didn’t quite fit. It was right about then I pulled at another bolt and noticed that it was rainbow as well – a mottled one that moved in a gradient. As soon as I pulled it out, the mother and I knew we had struck gold.
It remains to this day one of my favorite backings! And I don’t think I’ve seen that fabric since. Pity. I would buy the dang bolt if I could.
As I was working on it, I had an idea and asked the mother to send me the earliest picture they had of the daughter playing softball. She sent me a precious picture, and I laughed when I saw it because the daughter still made that face.
The last step was to make her name. I made each letter match one of the jerseys on that same row. I specifically went out and bought zebra print fabric for the “I”. I haven’t used the rest of it and still have it floating around my sewing room.
My first t-shirt/memory quilts were the first four I did for my family from my father’s clothes. The first quilt I did for someone else was a softball quilt I made for a friend. In fact, it was the same friend who commissioned the Harry Potter quilt! Since I’d cut my teeth, so the speak, on those first four, I’d learned a lot and was fairly confident in my ability to do her softball jerseys justice.
One thing I hadn’t done before but was confident I could handle was putting a name on the quilt in addition to the jerseys. For this one, I printed large letters and cut them out against fabric with fusible interfacing. Nowadays I just use a projector, and I can get more creative with my fonts as a result.
The one surprise I managed to work in for her was a picture of her state champion softball team from the high school yearbook. She had softball jerseys from every part of her life except high school. Those had been purged a while back. But I could tell this was important to her, so I found a yearbook from that year, scanned the picture, and printed it on to printable fabric as a nice surprise.
To quilt this one, I chose to use the invisible thread since there were so many colors. My machine didn’t like it even though the quilt itself looked great.
I also made a pillowcase from the leftover shirts that weren’t able to make it onto the quilt. I’m rather proud of this one, but it threw me for one last loop right as I was getting ready to hand it over.
Sometimes people don’t understand that quilts are supposed to “dimple” up, and they’ll do that after the first wash. As a result, I tend to wash the quilt before handing it over to my client so that it already looks like what it will be, no surprises. I did the same with this one, but since the shirts had been in a tote in the garage for years the letters didn’t hold up. I pulled the quilt out of the dryer and panicked when I was cracked and incomplete letters on several of the shirts. I just couldn’t give it over like that! I turned around and grabbed some black t-shirt paint I had from a different project and basically “spackled” the letters, filling in the gaps with that t-shirt paint so that they would hold up better. In the end it worked, and my panic went away.
For the backing, we had a hard time finding a fabric that didn’t scream “baseball”, and in the end we went with this one. I liked the overall look.