Monday, April 30, 2012

DIY T-Shirt Rag Quilt

Disclaimer... I am NOT an expert seamstress, in fact I'm just a beginner and since I'm trying to teach myself I probably do just about every step backwards.  But, that being said this was my first attempt at a "quilt" and to my surprise it turned out pretty well so the moral of this silly story is if I can do it you can too! :)
This project all started because my husband has what I like to call a rather larger "t-shirt problem."  I have never actually counted how many he has mainly because it would take too long but it's safe to say this guy has rubber BINS full.  I'm pretty sure he has never thrown out a single one since he was in high school and sadly we haven't been there in a LONG time :)  But to be fair I am in no position to complain about quantity of clothing, the poor guy was booted out of our big walk in closet an exiled to the hall closet just to give me more room!  I know I am awful!!! I did however make him a deal if he would part with some that are special (mostly college t-shirts) that he never wears I would try to make him something useful and the t-shirt quilt was born :)
I am impatient and a novice sewer, so to speed things up and keep my squares the same size I took a little help from "Tucan Sam".
After decidig how big I wanted my blocks I cut out the cardboard and then laid my long ruler just a little over that edge so that I wasn't accidentally cutting into the cardboard and cut all four sides.
You should end up with a big stack of squares.  Don't worry if they aren't perfect (mine surely were not) you are going to rough up the edges later so it will work out just fine.
 I only used the fronts with the logos that I wanted, but I cut through both sides at one time. For one to make it easier and two to have the blank blocks from the back of the t-shirts in case I needed them to fill any open spaces.
Now lay out the squares on your fleece or whatever you decided to use as the back until you have the number and layout you want.  How many you will need obviously depends on how big you cut your blocks and how big you want the blanket.  I chose fleece so it would be soft and cozy.  For a 2 yard cut of dark grey fleece I needed 20 blocks (five rows of four)
Now the sewing begins. 
I took one horizontal row at a time and wrong sides together sewed together the connecting edge.
I plan fringe the excess when I'm done so I don't mind that the edge is exposed.
Once all of your blocks are connected in rows it should look something like this.
Now sew the rows together the same was you did the squares, leaving that 1/2 inch seam allowance so you can fringe it too.
Grab your scissors and get to cutting.  Snip into all those excess seams, you can make those as close or far apart as you want just be careful not to get to close to the stitches you don't want to cut what you just sewed together.
Not only does it look neat this also helps cover up any not so straight sewing... not that I would ever do that :)
To connect the fleece backing and t-shirt front you can cut strips and just tie them together like a no sew fleece blanket.
To keep with the same theme I decided to just sew all the way around the blanket connecting the front and back and then fringing that as well.
I'm pretty excited with how it turned out.  I have been looking at this pile of t-shirts for months terrified to give this a try, but once I got going it really went fast and I think my hubby is going to like it.  Hey at least there's one less "pile-o-shirts" in our house :)
This could be a great way to keep kids clothes that they love or to create a college keepsake.  I'm so glad I finally gave it a try and trust me if I can do it ANYONE can :)

Good Luck, Lindsey

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