Saturday, January 28, 2012

Up-cycled Tshirts

Did I already write about my new sewing machine on here?  I don't think so...

Santa (aka my mom and dad) was incredibly generous this year and gifted me a Brother Se-400 Embroidery and Sewing machine.  I died and went to heaven!  I'd been using a very old basic, basic Kenmore that a friend bought for $20 off ebay and ended up just giving to me because she never actually used it.  It did the basic stitches, but definitely nothing fancy.

My Bro-Fo (we're so tight, it has a nickname) embroiders (no more hand embroidering for me!), it has all kinds of cool attachments, it does free arm quilting (something I really needed), and, my personal favorite: it threads it's own needle!  For serious y'all!  I'm dangerously close to 33, and my non-20 something eyes have definitely been squinting more and more when trying to jab the limp thread into that little hole.

Oh, and did I mention that I'd probably used it 20 times before I even used the presser foot?  That's because it has an automatic feed (in three different speeds!).

Well, enough about my Bro-Fo, because Brother isn't paying me to tell you how much I love it.  (Uh-mm Brother...hint hint)

What I'm here to tell you about is that thanks to my new free arm quilting abilities, I've finally been able to complete a t-shirt quilt project I started almost 2 years ago!!

That's right ladies and gentleman, in July 2010, my sister handed me a bag full of motocross t-shirts that she and her family had been collecting over the years, and she asked me to turn them into a quilt.  "No rush" she said.  Uh, good thing.  Because while I'd made quilts before, I'd never made a big one (only baby/crib sized quilts) and had only used standard quilting fabric, not the stretchy jersey material t-shirts are made from.  I started doing research on t-shirt quilts and soon realized that trying to use a walking foot and feed feet with jersey would be disastrous!

During my research I saw lots and lots of examples of t-shirt quilts, but my favorite was a method used by a woman named Andrea Funk because instead of the quilts being blocks of t-shirts, it was more like a puzzle of random shapes and sizes.  They just looked, well cool.  In fact, that is the name of her business Too Cool T-Shirt Quilts International LLC.  For real.

I hopped on and found a copy of her book How to Make a Too Cool T-Shirt Quilt and I was in business.  When it came in the mail, I read it front to back.  Then I cut out all of my sister's t-shirts according to her instructions.  But then I froze with fear over attempting jersey on my Kenmore, so the cut up t-shirts sat and sat and sat until this Christmas when Santa brought me by Bro-Fo.

Now, just a few weeks later, I'm so excited to send my sister her finished t-shirt quilt!!  I think Andrea would be proud.

In fact, it came together so well, that I immediately pulled out my own secret stash of t-shirts I've been saving.  Some of these were cut pre-How to Make a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt, but I was able to make them work (as Tim Gunn would say) by adding strips of extra material here and there.  So far, I've just pieced together the top, I still have to baste it, quilt it, and bind it.  But, I think you can get an idea of how cool this one will turn out too.

My super cute helper, Thing 2.
P.S. Sometimes I forget just how far removed from college I am.  Then I see a t-shirt from Freshman year dated 1997 and I think my god, that t-shirt is 15 years old!!  Yikes!

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