Saturday, August 31, 2013

Rebuilding a Top

Happy long weekend everyone!

A few weeks ago I was asked if I could finish a quilt for some dear friends.  Apparently her grandmother had taken her husband's t-shirts and made a quilt top.  Sight unseen I said "of course!"

Before I begin this post I want to make it clear that I am not criticizing the quilter's talents or poking fun at her abilities.  I think that this quilt top is amazing and I feel honoured to be entrusted with it!  I thought that it would be interesting to show you the process I had taken to re-build this amazing and thoughtful memento so that it can be cherished for years.

When I received the quilt it looked like this.


The top was extremely rippled and the seams were wavy.  But, she had done a great job of centering the motifs and arranging the colours!


Aside from those issues though the bottom of the quilt was unfinished.  Can you see how the "no shawarma for you" t-shirt is longer than the surrounding rows?  Those rows would have to be finished off because I was not cutting off the t-shirt!

She had also stitched and flipped the un-stabilized t-shirts to sheet. At this point the top was extremely heavy and there was NO way that I could load this onto my frame - nope - no way.  It was far to way and the top would just stretch and distort further.

The sheet had to come off.  Rip-it, rip-it, rip-it.


After the vertical rows were apart I  could really see the stitching.  The quilter was obviously having some pretty large tension issues with her machine and had trouble getting the t-shirts through her machine.  The result was that there were actual holes in the seams.  I ended up re-stitching every seam.  If I had this to do over again I would have taken the quilt completely apart and stabilized each block independently and re-sewn the entire top.  For some reason I didn't.  I am not entirely sure what my rational was - but I didn't.


After the vertical rows were re-sewn I pressed woven fusible stabilizer to the back of the rows.  Again, if I did this again I would do each piece.


You can really see the difference between the un-stabilized row on the left and the stabilized row on the right.

Next I sewed pieces onto the bottom of the rows to make them all an equal length.


I used a funky batik fabric for the ends and for the border.  Sorry, you can't really see it but it's very nice and I will show more pictures later - promise.


Much flatter and straighter now - yey!  I switched around a couple of the rows by accident but I am not taking it apart now!


Here you can see the stabilized rows and how nice and flat the quilt is.

I have the backing fabric but I am waiting on a Thermore batting, a very thin and light polyester batting recommended by longarmers for t-shirt quilts, and, for some funky Glide black-light threads  I ordered.  Why black-light threads you may ask?  Well, this quilt is very funky don't you think?!  I think it would be cool if some of the thread glowed under a black light and I am sure that the owners would too!  And if I can then why not!?  It will give the quilt an even funkier look :-)

I'll keep you up-dated on my progress now that the quilt is ready to go on my frame and once I get my stuff :-)


Brenda said...

good for you for taking on this challenge. I made a tshirt quilt for someone who started cutting apart her shirts with dull scissors. I had to stabilize the pieces, then square them off, and sometimes add here and there. Next time, I start with the whole shirt!

Cindy P said...

I also have to comment!!!! A friend is making a T-Shirt as well,[ I'm almost speechless].She is charging $900.00 to make the quilt for a customer!! He has requested 2 more T-Shirt quilts as well !! Hope you are equally compensated!!!