Sunday, July 08, 2012

Lessons learned from T-shirt Quilt #1

Clearly this was poorly measured.

I learned a few things when making my first t-shirt quilt.
1. I cannot cut in a straight line. In my defense I don't own a pair of sewing scissors but even with a pair of toenail clippers I should have been able to cut in a straighter line. Part of the problem was the material(which I'll address below).
2. On a related topic, I can't sew in a straight line either. There is a lot of talk among quilters online about "sewing in the ditch". This involves sewing in a straight line between the squares already pieced together. This is a plus because you can hide your stitches. I am unable to do this with any regularity.
Look at this crappy border job
3. I didn't do a great job choosing material. T-shirt fabric is pretty stretchy stuff so even if you can cut like a laser if you pull to tightly when piecing the top of the quilt together you can get things off line. I ventured into a quilting store in the 11eme and all of the material that they had for sell was a stiffer cotton that had no stretch to it at all. I should have gone with something like that for my first quilt attempt. The biggest material snafu came when I started the border with a cool striped and sparkly jersey cotton material that stretched like a rubber band. It was a nightmare and after a couple feet I abandoned it for a much stiffer material.
This apple material is a much better boarder choice.                                                      
4. This should probably be problem number 1 but I didn't spend a lot of time carefully measuring the squares as I cut them out. Later I learned that things go together much easier when they actually line up.They are also much easier to sew together. It isn't easy for me to do ninety degree turns with my machine but I did get a lot of practice putting this quilt together.
I did get smart and went down to emmaus and bought a used sheet to use as a back for my quilt. It was a little narrow but a line of squares down each side made it the perfect size.
All in all the experience of making a quilt was really fulfilling. I love the responses I get to it when friends see it. The work itself was a bit tedious but it was really enjoyable figuring out how to make it work as I went along. I have what I feel like are a couple of really cool quilt ideas that I'm going to try to get made in the next few months. Here's hoping the next one is even better.