When Erik graduated from A&M, his mom wanted to have a t-shirt quilt made for him just as she had one made for Monika when she graduated from UT. He said he didn't really want one, and put that off for a few years. She finally insisted and won and we went through the process of picking out the t-shirts, the fabric, the quilt pattern, etc at a quilting store in Houston. I was convinced that I could make one for myself. I just needed to figure out how to handle the t-shirts....
So off to the Internet I went to find instructions on how to make a t-shirt quilt. Voila! Step by step instructions, pictures, you name it. Thanks, Goosetracks! So I bought my fusible web, took the scissors to my prized Aggie shirts and got them ironed on safely. That in itself was quite a process and I honestly did a lot of cutting and ironing not knowing how the shirts would go together and how big the quilt would have to be. I decided to go the variable t-shirt quilt route, so I just cut up any part of the shirt I liked and ironed it on realizing I would have to figure out how to make it all work later.
Laying out the pieces and deciding on a column width was tedious. I had to figure out which t-shirt piece was the widest and go from there. Any arm or small back pieces needed sashing wide enough and tall enough to make them the right width and once I had width figured out, I had to get all those columns the same length, again by using sashing. Along with all of this, I had to arrange them based on color and content. It was a bigger task than I ever imagined. Luckily I had the entire guest room all to myself and could lay everything out on the bed (the quilt is a full/queen) as I worked. I also had a big space in the living room to lay it out on the floor.
Once the task of piecing was done, I picked out the backing, pieced it and had to figure out what pattern to quilt. I learned a trick where you use masking tape to lay out the lines you intend to quilt around, so I picked a lattice fence kind of pattern and taped up my entire quilt. Then I pinned like crazy (I'm a safety pin baster) and started to quilt away. Hand quilting through backing, fusible web and t-shirt with writing on it (in the case of my Phi Lamb letters, 2 more layers of appliqued fabric) proved challenging and I had lots of sore fingers.
But all the hard work was totally worth it and I think my t-shirt quilt is just as good (if not better) than Erik's and I'm proud that I could do it on my own!