Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Log Cabin T-Shirt Quilt

The t-shirt quilt is done, and the customer received it today and is extremely happy with it!

It is an improv log cabin quilt, made into sections that were pieced together. I know where all the sections were, but hopefully it is not obvious to most people. That kind of defeats the purpose of an improv quilt.
Quilt hanger: Dad

The knit fabric was less finicky than I thought it would be and everything was much easier than expected.

Apparently, most people used iron-on stabilizer, but I thought that would make the quilt too stiff. My friend wanted a nice, soft, cozy one, and instead, I used freezer paper on the back of the t-shirts, to tear away after sewing the blocks together, and once the t-shirts were bordered with the regular cotton, almost a quart of starch dabbed onto the t-shirts with a sponge.
Favorite logo.

None of the t-shirts have turquoise in them, but turquoise goes well with green and grey, which go well with yellow and purple. Also, purple, red-orange, yellow, and turquoise match, but even if the red-orange is removed, they still work. I actually forgot that one of the potential t-shirts was blue and thought it was turquoise, but because of the other colors, it worked out fine. Next time, I will definitely make a paper list of all the colors in the t-shirts instead of keeping it in my head.

I found several reference photos for different possible designs and my friend picked out the one to use, and approved the colors, but other than that, said I should make it however would work best. That is a scary thing to say. If anybody else tells me to pick out the fabric and does not approve it, I would have to say something like, "Please pick out the fabric, or at least approve it, before you receive a Civil War quilt when you actually wanted a retro quilt."

In this case, that was very helpful because I ran out of fabric, did not have a ride to the fabric store, and had to dig through the small stash, and also did not have to photograph the fabric, warn her the lighting might not show the true colors, and wait for her approval. Because of that, I could work on the quilt almost constantly from May 27 through May 29, and finished it on May 31. The quilt was too big for the laundry/sewing room and the storeroom was still chaotic, so I worked on it when Mom and Dad were gone and I could commandeer the dining room.

Mom and Dad were very busy on Thursday, when I got the fabric, but still helped me get to Jo-Ann and the quilting store. One of the turquoise fabrics bought on Thursday had butterflies on it, not flowers, but at first look, I thought they were flowers. That turned out better than I thought it would at first because I still had some good turquoise scraps the right size from other projects.

All the fabrics used. Eight of them were from the stash or scrap bag: far left log, bottom log, third log from bottom, first log left from center, third log left from center, second log up from center, third log up from center, far right log.

To prevent as much style confusion as possible, anybody who orders any quilt has to fill out an application that asks about the kind of prints the person likes and the preferred colors. Then I can use that information to design a quilt that matches the person's style.

In my friend's case, I checked that she did not want novelty fabrics, and sent her a color scheme picture for approval. I know her pretty well and can guess the kind of fabric she likes, especially because she and her roommate share a comfort quilt I made and they like the fabric in it. It tended to the vaguely contemporary and not quite traditional side, with as few geometric prints (plaid, stripes, ikat, etc.) as possible. I had to use plaid and diamonds because of the fabric shortage, but the only stripes are made from lined up things like flowers or dots.

Also, no solids, but tone-on-tone or batik fabric instead, which can fulfill the same purpose as solids under the right circumstances (giving the eye a place to rest). Because the t-shirts drew the eye, the other fabrics just had to add interest, and solids would not do that well. The turquoise prevents the other fabrics from blending into the logos too much and not letting the eye move around as easily.

Now I know the actual amounts necessary, and not to get fat quarters--twenty-one prints in 1/4, 1/3, or 1/2 yard cuts. The whole thing, from ironing the fabric to trimming the threads, took 40 hours. I did not expect it to be that long at first, but there was no way to make an assembly line system.

I had to piece some of the strips together, because of the fabric shortage. I tried to hide it by stitching in the ditch on all the seams that are supposed to exist.

Hopefully the uneven quilting will not distort too much, and medium grey thread blended in well with everything. I am not good enough at FMQ to evenly quilt anything that way, and straight lines across would look weird on the logos. FMQ might look weird on the logos, too, but that might just be me.

Backed in flannel.

On this quilt, I got too much thread for quilting (4 spools), but now know 2 spools is enough, and 2 spools for piecing.

To prevent unnecessary shifting while quilting, I basted each t-shirt down, which left tiny pricks that "heal" after a couple washes. Next time, I will use safety pins all around the logo instead, but not on it, instead.

The Baylor bear is so cute, but a little crooked.

The binding is scrappy and mostly turquoise so the color does not look too random. It has two purple bits, though, just for fun.

Square corners because I am bad at mitered corners.
T-shirt quilts are probably the only quilts I will make that should be washed on the delicate cycle and hung to dry. This will prevent the logos from cracking and peeling, because t-shirt logos hate friction and heat. Normally, I wash quilts however will get them cleanest fastest, but not this kind.

If anybody wants a t-shirt quilt with this pattern, she can order here, or if a different pattern would be better, email or send an Etsy conversation through Ingleside Creations (right corner in the header, across from the shop name). I probably will not make the quilt in 96 hours, because that was insane, but it should take no more than 4 weeks after the t-shirts arrive.

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