June 1, 2009

T-Shirt Quilt Tutorial Part 5 - Piecing Small Blocks, Finishing Width and Length and Connecting Colulmns

If you chose to use small bits of your shirts, this is how I handle them. In this case, I have 3 small rectangles to include in a block. I framed the first one...

The next one is about the same size as the first, but I need some width, so I went ahead and framed it, too...

I connected the two blocks and then squared them up...

The thrid block is going on top. I measured the width needed to fill up the space on each side and added pieces...and squared up the block...and attached it to the other two blocks...

Now, just a piece on top to finish 'er up!
The whole process is kind of like improvisational piecing. You just keep going, adding what you need to make it work.

Here are all the blocks lined up. You can tell the "Lions" in the second column is wide, and the last two columns have a couple of skinny blocks. The important thing is that most of the blocks are as close as possible. I'll take care of that problem now!

You can also see that the last two columns are a little long. No problem!

My first row was basically right on! No adjustments.

Second row, I had to fix the "Lions" block.

I line up the "fat" block with the skinny block I'm attaching it to, so that there's about equal amounts of "extra" on each side. After sewing them together with at 1/4" seam allowance, I then use my skinny block as a guide to remove the extra from the fat block. Repeat on the other side.


Repeat with the rest of the columns!

How did I fix the length of the last two columns? I was able to just cut off 1" from the bottom block without leaving it looking funny. The last row was a bit tricky because it was around 3" too long. I picked a few blocks and sewed another 1/4" seam inside the original seam to shorten the row a bit. Then just cut off the original 1/4" seam. I did this a few times and then was able to cut 1" off the top and bottom without making it look funny.

One happy quilt top of blocks formerly known as t-shirts!

I may or may not add a border...I'll measure and take into consideration shrinkage that will occur during machine quilting and make a decision. It's a pretty good size already and I'm pretty nervous about moving this thing around in my machine! Wish me luck!

If you have any questions, let me know! I'd love to see any t-shirt quilts you make!

Note: While I generally "take off" from the sashing to make things line up, I also had to add some fabric in two places: 1) to the width of the 4th block in the 3rd column (red with black and white polka dots) and 2) to the top and bottom of the 5th block in the 3rd column - funny thing is that I ended up chopping off that bit off the bottom anyway. Ya live and learn...

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