Thursday, May 22, 2014

Apple T-shirt Quilt

Many people these days are building memory quilts out of old t-shirts.  It is a great way to commemorate a particular time period---college, high school sports, favorite band t-shirts---this way you don't wear them until they have holes in them...but end up with something to happily remember that time. 

This particular assignment came from my brother-in-law, who had worked in Apple retail stores for years and collected quite a few t-shirts, but was transitioning to the corporate side of the business (no more t-shirts).  The nice thing about working with these t-shirts was that for the most part they had a formula and a general size----a pre-curated selection, if you will. 

Here is how the process goes:

Step One: Cut out the artwork and fuse to a fusible interfacing for backing jersey material---thereby transforming your jersey into a stiffer fabric that you can work with more easily.  Make sure to iron with another piece of fabric between your t-shirt and the iron or you will get melted ink on your iron.

Step Two: Select your border fabrics and begin to sew blocks.  In my case, I was in the beginning stages of planning this quilt when Carolyn Friedlander's collection "Architextures" came out (read more about this collection by clicking on the photo below).  

Since my brother-in-law was in charge of managing retail displays and working with contractors in new Apple Stores, this was a no-brainer of a choice---manly enough for him, but stunningly elegant and beautiful to me.  Plus the colors were just right.
Photo by Rita Hodges, Red Pepper Quilts

Step 3: Start planning your layout.  This can be the hardest part.  I like to work improv, so I enjoy the process, but it can still be difficult.  I had many iterations of the layout for this quilt before I settled on one I liked:

Finally, I decided that the blocks shouldn't be right up against each other, but needed some breathing room and rest space.

Step Five: Do you need borders?  I chose some of Lotta Jansdotter's Glimma fabric for the borders.

Step 6: Quilting.  I had this quilt machine-quilted by my friend Kristin with a a square pattern that I felt mimicked the blocks and also had a more manly feel.

The back using Lotta Jansdotter's Sylvia collection and a blue textured solid from Michael Miller.

Some details of the blocks:

This quilt also has a lot of New York references which I loved, since the transition from retail to corporate also meant a move from NY to CA.  

Do you have a stack of t-shirts somewhere you can't get rid of?  Consider making a t-shirt quilt---or asking me to!  :)


  1. Great job. I've made one, for my son. After I did, I have gone back to it and realized the things I did wrong and how to improve on my next one. I just love yours!

    1. Thanks Lynne! I always find things I want to improve after I finish a project! ;)

  2. Love the pictures of the quilt Nell!