Concert T-shirt Quilt
What is one to do with over a decade’s worth of concert shirts? Many well worn with holes and stains. Some never touched. These were not to be used for cleaning toilets or waxing cars. But it’s a shame to let them sit useless in a box, gather dust.
A quilt is a way to repurpose these Ts and still keep them close to the skin, or on display. It became my oversized scrapbook.
I had 31 shirts from concerts passed. Reminders of great music with good friends or family. But cutting out the art on the front and/or back for large squares didn’t interest me. I wanted more of a puzzle. A piece of abstract art. Something to study.
The most difficult part of this whole project was making the first cut. I started by removing collars and shirt sleeves, then separating the front from the back. Iron-on interfacing was used to stabilize the stretchy fabric.
6″ squares seemed to make best use of each panel. I cut a 7″ square piece of clear glass and used layers of masking tape to cover the sharp edges and provide me with a half inch border for my seam allowance. The clear glass also allowed me to see how the designs would be cropped. There were some parts of shirts where I wanted words or faces kept whole, and positioned the template so. It also provided a solid edge as a cutting guide
I needed 272 squares to make a queen size bed spread. I was short some by the time I had all the shirts sliced. I created a smaller glass template of 4″ to cut smaller sized squares (3″ with .5″ seam allowance) and used 4 pieces to make a larger block. In the end, I had very little left over, and the slightly larger pieces have been great as rags.
Having so many pieces can be overwhelming. And I didn’t have a large enough area to arrange them (I was working in a 13 x 15″ studio apartment!). I scanned each individual piece and imported them as individual layers in Photoshop. This allowed me to freely arrange and rearrange the ‘puzzle’ pieces.
The Complete Guide to Quilting was a great resource for working out my first quilting project. After basting the top/batting/backing sandwich together, I spent many nights in bed, watching tv, tacking the corners of each square with red embroidery tread. This was a little easier than quilting the sandwich together. It took a few months to get through them all. The finishing touch was self binding the edges.
- (31) t-shirts
- embroidery thread
- cutting wheel
- cutting mat
- 7″ and 4″ square glass
- masking tape
- sewing machine and tread