In January 2020 I began the adventure of making my first quilt. I had stashed away many tee shirts from my daughter’s days of sports and wanted to pull them together along with a few of my late husband’s shirts. My plan was to put this all together and then in March which would be the tenth year anniversary of his death I would surprise her with it as a gift. Well as we all know 2020 started out normal but quickly turned into each month adding restrictions. By March I could not meet my daughter to give her the quilt but I recently mailed it to her so I could begin posting the process to built a tee shirt quilt.
My first step began with making choices of which tee shirts to use. I also had to order some pelon to fix the tee shirts so they would not stretch while being cut and sown together. I next had to plan out how large the quilt would be and how it would be pieced together. My co worker had recently made a quilt and gave me the idea of buying a summer quilt that was already padded and attach the topper (the tee shirts sown together) directly to the quilt. It seemed like a quick and easy way to proceed.
This is the plan I came up with after getting my measurements figured out. I would cut the tee shirts and label them with each row and piece. So the first piece in row one would be 1-1. The second would be 1-2. I would label them until I had them sown together. I placed some rows of material to separate the tee shirts also. This plan at first had me thinking it might add too much additional color and design but after I completed it I was happy with the results.
The above two photos are some of the tee shirts being cut out.
To get to this point I had to sew each of the shirts in the correct order together in panels. Then I sewed them together in sections of two or three.
Next the above three panels need to be sown together. Starting with the left piece being the top of the topper. The right top photo being the middle of the topper. This panel had the two extra panels of other material than tee shirt. The bottom right piece being the bottom of the quilt.
I liked this panel. I needed to add the black panel due to this shirt being worn so much by my husband that there were some discoloration near the volleyball. Since their colors were gold and black I finished off the square and was pleased with the result. The rock material on either side was in memory of what a rock my husband was through my daughter’s college years. He would encourage her and look up stats on teams that they were going to compete with. We also made many long trips to PA leaving Maine on a Friday evening and traveling all night to meet our daughter at 6 AM or at the college where she was playing a tournament and then following the matches we would travel back to Maine. I cannot remember if we did it five weekends one fall but though we were weary it was a great way to spend quality time. We did not know at the time how precious that time would be once he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The MDI high school is another favorite square. The high school is on an island and I made the tee shirt bordered by water material. Another piece further up in the center of the quilts also is a swimming tee shirt that is bordered by the same material. The tee shirts on either side of the Cedar Crest Volleyball piece are tee shirts that my daughter designed in high school.
This photo shows the summer quilt I used for the backing. I wasn’t crazy about the color but my daughter loves the color! The most difficult part was getting the large queen size topper of the quilt attached to the back. I tacked it in many places with thread before I could sew it around the perimeter. I then tied the quilts as seen in the below photo. The tying allows the quilts to stay aligned after washing.
I am very happy with the final product and glad I tackled it. Though the seams don’t always line up I feel that for a first time attempting a quilt it came out fabulous.
I was super glad that it finally got to my daughter and that she liked the merging of all her sports and education.
I also made two pillow cases. Though they really don’t go with the quilt they again are a favorite color of my daughter’s with her favorite island shape. My cat stayed with me through the entire project though she wasn’t much help she worked well weighting down the material!