Making A Tee-Shirt Quilt | Louise Silk | Skillshare

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Making A Tee-Shirt Quilt

teacher avatar Louise Silk, FiberArtist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Tee shirt Quilt Cutting The Blocks Part 1

    • 2. Tee shirt Quilt Cutting The Blocks Part 2

    • 3. Tee shirt Quilt Making Rows and Backing

    • 4. Tee shirt Quilt Quilt As You Go To The Backing

    • 5. Tee shirt Quilt Gallery

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About This Class

Everyone has a drawer full of tee-shirts they don't wear but can't throw away because of the memories associated with the shirts. This is everything you need to know to transform those shirts into a functional quilt.


Check out some of the Tee-Shirt Quilts I have made.

Meet Your Teacher

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Louise Silk



Hello, I'm Louise Silk. I've been making quilts with meaning and memory for over forty years. I wrote the book The Quilting Path: A Guide to Spiritual Discovery through Fabric, Thread, and Kabbalah.

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1. Tee shirt Quilt Cutting The Blocks Part 1: I'm really excited about today's lesson. I'm going to teach you how to make a very simple T shirt quilt. Everybody has drawers full of T shirts with logo's on them. Don't fit family. They don't wear them anymore, but they have a memory of something really important to them, and they want to make it into a quilt. Functional items fun. It's a great idea if you're interested in making money. Being a quilt maker. This is what I would call my bread and butter I make. I've made a couple 100 of these easy and I know every trick there is. And that's what I'm I'm so excited to share all that with you today and my granddaughter. I was telling her showing her that I'm making these lessons and she said, Oh, I am a pilot T shirt quilt T shirts that I like made into quotes and I said, Great, that's really great. So she gave me these these T shirts, and what I've done right now is I've divide them into two piles. One pile is T shirts that just have something on the front, and the other pile is T shirts that have something on the front and the back and eso I'm gonna show you how to handle both of those. It's a different thing. The 1st 1 is that everything is a multiple of cut in a multiple of five. And what happens is you don't know exactly how these air gonna fit together. But if you cut everything in a multiple five, it will be either five by 55 by 10 10 by 10 15 by 10 15 by 15 And then what happens is I will show you this in the next step, we're gonna put them all up on a wall and or you'll put them on the floor to make them all working to be a pro for perfect rectangle or square to make your quilt. So that's the first secret multiples of five. The second secret is that T shirts are really stretchy, and that's one of things we like about them. Their net. You can stretch them, they they just bend a lot. But when you're working in a quilt, you really don't want something that's so bendy because it will stretch out the shape it won't hold it seem correctly. So what? I always do is use my T shirts. Double a double layer of T shirt makes all the difference in the world of your sewer. You know about interfacing. Interfacing adds that third layer that gives you the stability on this is the same idea in this. So what we're doing That's the reason why I divided up the T shirts into once and have front and just in front and a back here. I have a T shirt that is just on the front, and the first thing I'm gonna do is look at the the height of it and I see here, I could do a 10 inch a five inch is too short. It will kind of get everything but a 10 inches great. And it will be very nice. And now I'm gonna look at it this way. And actually, it turns out that I could do a 10 inch this way too. So that's I'm going to do for this particular T shirt. I'm going to cut it down to a 10 by 10 and it again, we always quilting. We have 1/4 of C Malala ins, so I'm gonna be cutting everything a 10.5. So the first thing I do it's cut off the bottom. And what I do is save all the bottoms over here. I keep all the blood was because when I have maybe need a double for something else about another extra layer, I might use the extra bottoms. I'm going to show you that later. But I just save everything until I'm sure one of what I need. Same thing about this. I'm gonna look at 10.5 and I'm gonna cut it first cut off the sleeve and again. I mean, I saved the sleeves, but the underarm is really pretty useless. So just going forward, I just cut off the underarm and then put all the sleeves in a pile. Sometimes the sleeves are very useful for binding just because you need some extra material . Sometimes they're good remnants to make another quilt. And again, the person who you're giving this quilt tour making it for they don't care about the sleeves. They care about the bottom. They care about the little girl. So now I've cut this 10.5 inches this way, and now I'm gonna finish it off at 10.5 inches this way. And this is the block. That's 10 by 10. And I'm gonna cut all of these T shirts and just pile all the blocks here not worrying about how they're gonna fit together yet it all just trying to get them into these five inch increments. 2. Tee shirt Quilt Cutting The Blocks Part 2: I have something that I need both sides. Then what I do is the first thing I do is cut off the sleeves. It's nice orange color than gonna add some color to it. I didn't I don't have a sample off quilt. Have any of these quilts? Because I always do that by commissioner. I don't own any them for myself. So what I'm gonna do is on the next section also give you a little bit of, ah, a portfolio so you could see what all the variations look like. So then what I have to do is separate this out. So I'm half the front in the back or no separate, because I cut off the sleeves and the sides and I'm gonna look at this, and it's gonna be 10. It's also gonna be 10 by 10. So getting cut off the bottom, make sure that the words are kind of even. I'm going to save this in the house. I'm gonna go back and take care of this one in a minute. No, I think I'm gonna have to do this double, so I can either cut it now so I still don't have a piece. That's big enough. So I'm gonna wait a little while. I'm just going to cut it now a 10.5, and then I'm gonna find something to line it with, and it won't matter what it is, but they will be to layer. It does matter. Color is because you don't see it all at the end. They'll just be these two layers. So the first part of the project is to cut all of the logos, make sure there are two layers for each piece and there'll be a multiple of 5 10 or 15. We're gonna show you this T shirt because it's a little more complicated and just it'll help you understand more what I'm trying to do. So the first thing is, there's this really nice logo up here which will clearly be a five inch square. And then there's also this adorable little I think it's a porcupine. I'm not sure of a little animal that is really nice and will be great. Look pretty in the quilt. So the first thing I have to do is figure out how to get this five inch square out, and it's a funny thing because, uh, I want it. I don't want to interfere with her at all. So in fact, I think, really, in this case, I'm going to go straight down the center of the T shirt. Yeah, I am. Put this aside for the moment and then the five I need for this is just a little It says dream design. So I'm just going Teoh, figure out what 5.5 looks like on this, and it's nice this ruler that I use we're going to use. This is the double is a double side for the other piece, but in this ruler ideas, it's a six inch ruler, so it's really easy to mark. Let's do a 5.5 this way. First, it's easier just to cut off sleeve under arm up. And then I could just do this. So this is the 5.5 inch square. This is the second part. Remember this animal? It's kind of on the side, so the first thing I do is how to cut off this leave, and then I'll be able to open it up and look at the measurement and I have the SEC. I use this is the second layer, but I think in this case going easier. Cut it first. So it's 10 for the with and it's 10 for the length. So I think I'll cut this down first goods tending to help that way. And then sometimes I like to keep the edge on, but it doesn't go quite to 15. So I'm not gonna do that on this one. If it was, like, 15.5 and I would keep the edge. But I'm not this morning. So where do another 10.5? I mean, this is a 10.5 a square. You know, what I'm gonna do is laying on this extra piece, which I know will be big enough. And that's just so I can cut it double and have that double layer of T shirt 3. Tee shirt Quilt Making Rows and Backing: This is my pinup wall. It's really an important part of my quote making process, because everything that I do goes on the wall so I could see how it's coming together. And it's very easy to work with. If you don't have a wall, you can. Of course, you can use the floor table, and sometimes people will take a big piece of flannel and pin it up on their wall just to use it temporarily. But this is made of homeless owed, and it's just really great to have. So I have taken all the pieces off the tee shirts and I have put them in two rows, so it's very important. For the next step, we're gonna be quilting. It is that the rose be straight in straight lines, so this is 10 inches, these air 15 inch blocks, these air 15 inch in these or 10 so that all together that will be a 50 inch square going this way. And then it happens that the way they piece together, it's a 50 inch square going down. Also, it could be more could be. Maybe somebody has you need another whole another row. Or maybe they wanted to be queen sides or, you know, you have to work it out and down until you get into a rectangle or square shape. And just to see here like these were five inch pieces. So what I have to do is so them together and then sew them straight down. So this I did so these two worlds together so you could see how they come together, remember their two layers. And I just want to also show you this one just ended here. This one. I needed a 15 inch piece, and it wasn't quite wide enough. So what I did was cut the piece and I cut the backing. And then I saw it on the edges from this T shirt because it's just, you know, pretty and adds a little color to it. So that's what I'm gonna do. Now I'm gonna So all of these rows interest rate rose and then we'll go on to the next step . We know that our quilt top it's 50 inches square. So now we have to make a backing. We need a backing that 60 inches square and 60 inches is a great with because if you prefer . You can just go to the fabric store and buy felices 60 inches wide, and knit fabric comes 60 inches wide. Some denims come 60 inches. Why those were all good choices for the backing of the quilt of a T shirt quilt. Uh, my, uh, my my granddaughter wanted it to be coral colored. That's an unusual color, and also she's worried about maybe someday she might want it to be bigger than it is because 50 Inches Square is a little small. Maybe she's gonna want to add T shirt someday. That's another story, but at any rate, what I did is I went to the Goodwill and I bought a bunch of large size coral colored T shirts, and I've cut them and I'm gonna piece them to make the backing. So what I did is I determined that I could cut them about 20 inches in with, and then I could take 20 inches pieces and sew them together. And just to say that I try to keep so the edges so the sewn edges of the T shirt in there because it just gives it a little more stability, and also it doesn't bother me if there's, like a little logo or maybe this is another piece. Sometimes I have just a little bit of, Ah, a shirt which doesn't really mean anything. You just add some interest, so I don't mind keeping those on there. But that's up to you. How much you want to cut out of it. But I just want to show you now how I cut a shirt. So what I'm gonna do is I cut off the first end and then I see what 20 inches is, and then I cut off the second side. That's waste. Then what I do is cut it here so it's straight across. This is waiters also, but I have these nice big pieces that air 20 inches square and then I can put together to make a 60 inch square were the backing of the quilt 4. Tee shirt Quilt Quilt As You Go To The Backing: we're ready to take the rose that we have four rows off T shirts and we're ready to take those rose and so them to each other and at the same time. So them to the back, and it's were using a technique called quilters. You go. And so what I'm gonna do is I just want to show you that there are four rows. Take this one off for the net for later, and this would offer later. Here and now you can see the backing a little bit better. And what I going to do is I'm gonna take the middle two rows and I could have centered them into the middle of the backing. And the backing is right sides down so you can see scenes in year and this is the backing and that the backing is just one layer, but the T shirts or two layers so altogether it will be the three layer, so we'll be pretty substantial. Quit when it's done. So you put them right side up, make sure they're the way you want them. Make sure they're center properly, and then you're gonna take this and put them right sides together. and in the top, make sure you're pinning really five layers. It's two layers for this, two layers for this and one layer for the bottom. Then come all the way down here and pin this end. It doesn't really matter how you put the pins in. You should always when you're sewing in these cases, take out the pins before you get to them anyway. So it's just it's just holding it in place and try to be generous with the pins on this. A lot of times I don't do any penny, but in this case, the more you pin, the easier it will be for the sewing, because this is a big, a lot of fabric. It's a little bit bulky to put over the machine, and the more pins you have more, the easier it is to just keep control of it. Make sure you don't miss any of the four layers off the T shirts. Now we're gonna take it to the sewing machine, and so it you Now we're going to so again two layers of one T shirt, row, two layers of the other T shirt road to the backing, and you want to make sure that the backing is open flat. You know, this could be really a lot of fabric, depending on what the backing is and how big quilt is. But we're starting in the middle, and we're gonna be sewing down this the seam allowance. So what you do is back stitch at the top, and by the way, it's made for 1/4 inch. But just to be safe and make sure I'm catching all the layers, I go a little bit beyond the orange here. Every time I get to a needle, I leave. I mean, I get to a pain. I leave the needle in, just take the needle out and keep on going. Just make sure it's flat. Sure back, but I'm not pulling or stretching. Speeding through the machine. - Judge . Help threatened. We're gonna go back over to the table to put on the next to Rose back at the table. It's time to add the other outside rose, and again there could be more than just these four rows. It could be six rows, but if you start in the middle and you do the first center row and then you can do the next to at one time because they're not. They don't connect with each other. So what you're doing is put it right side up, make sure it's right. Make sure all the T shirts are right side up. Sometimes I end up finding what I put upside down. That's a drag. You have to take the whole thing out and then do the same thing that you did before him. Through all five layers of the top, all five layers of the bottom pin, the rose all the way along, generous with your pans. Do the same thing on the other side. Take it to the machine and do the sowing on both sides. And then we'll be back here again. All right, so now we have sown all Rose quilt. His cool top is finished and it's attached to the backing in each of those straight lines, and now we're going to make the binding. So what I do is trim off and leave. You can use a heavy gauge to measure. You want about an inch, an inch and 1/4 just enough so they will be able to turn in. And so this is waste you could do this around all four edges. And then what you do is you take the edge of the raw and you turn it into the T shirt and then you turn it again. I'm kidding. You do that all the way along all four sides, and then you do a row stitching the ghost that here you turn it in the corner. And this did you will go all the way through all the layers and the fold of the binding, and you will have a really nice T shirt welt. 5. Tee shirt Quilt Gallery: