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Shirt Quilt

Making a quilt from shirts requires some extra steps compared to sewing from new fabric.

First, the shirts must be cut up, and everything that is not flat must be removed. From just 13 shirts I got a bucket full of seams and hems:

These are going into the garbage at once, but by looking into the bucket, I can get an impression of how the fabrics are going to look together.

Then I collected a plastic bag full of collars, cuffs, and shoulder pieces:

These will go into the garbage too, eventually. But they are going to stay till I see that I will not be  “just one little piece short” of any of the fabrics.  Although that is a situation which can spur creativity, it can also be very annoying, especially if you have “just” thrown that one piece away.

As a hoarder of almost everything, I now also have a small tin full of shirt buttons:

… and even a few button holes.

I also have a fairly large stack of fabrics:

I was a bit surprised at just how much fabric I could get from the shirts.

I decided to cut 5,5 cm wide strips from the fabrics. Then I can get fairly large blocks without too many seams.  The fabrics are not quilt fabric quality, – some are thinner, some are heavier, and some have a weave that makes the fabrics quite unruly.

I decided to start by cutting up one sleeve from each of the shirts. Three of them had only short sleeves, so I cut both of those. Many had stripes or plaids, and since some of the fabrics were a bit drawn from use, it was difficult to get the stripes straight when cutting lenghtwise, so I decided to cut them crosswise. That meant shorter fabric strips, but most of them are still long enough for the longest strip I will  need in the blocks.

Here I have got 12 blocks pieced together. I sew log cabin style, but with the same fabric going all the way round. Then I get the “square in square in square” effect. I sew alternately dark and light blocks, – the light ones being light – dark – light from the center and out, and the dark ones being dark – light -dark. Only a few fabrics are decidedly light or dark, – the ones in the medium range can be either in a light or a dark position, depending on which fabrics they go with. My aim is to have not two blocks alike, but I have not worked out yet if that is possible. I’ll just see what happens. I will need only 63 blocks for a small quilt to snuggle under for a nap on the sofa, so I think it is possible.

At 12 blocks into the quilt, there are a lot of fabric strips left from just 1 sleeve from each shirt. Some fabrics have not even been used yet.

I will be sewing for a long time if I am to make use of it all.


6 Responses

  1. Eldrid, I love the look of this! I would guess that the fabric is very soft, too. It will make a wonderful quilt.

    Have you tried using some starch to stiffen up the fabric for ease of cutting?

    • Thank you, Lydia.
      I have never used starch when sewing, – try to avoid everything messy. But while I was cutting the fabric the thought crossed my mind that maybe now is the time to try it 😉 I’ll see if I can get hold of some.

  2. This looks super, so effective and so well-organised in all the preparation. Looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

  3. Trudde at dei raude, storruta, flanellsskjortene var slitne i filler for lenge sidan. Dei var mykje brukte

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