Basting & Quilting a T-shirt Quilt

Previously on Man Sewing you saw me putting
together the pieces of this t-shirt quilt. And I promised you if you asked nice, I would
do the free motion machine quilting. Well today is your lucky day. Let’s get started. That’s right, welcome back to the t-shirt
quilting project. I am so thrilled with all the comments and
all the enthusiasm out there. Thank you for encouraging me to take you to
the next step and do the free motion quilting. Quilting on t-shirt quilts, based on the folks
I’ve talked to, can be a bit concerning. And there’s a lot of different things that
happen with t-shirt quilts. So I’m just going to do a little review. These are old t-shirts that I have already
worn pretty well. So they’ve got a bit of stretch to them. They’ve got a bit of life worn out of them. But we want to save our fantastic logos. So what I did is I took a stabilizer as you
can see here in the seam allowances and everything, hopefully there. This white that you see on the back is a stabilizer
that was ironed to the back of the t-shirts. And it’s on all of the t-shirts before I
start any of the cutting or any of the piecing. The first video I was putting together the
basic patchwork. And there’s a lot of different ways to do
that. I just finished by putting together the columns
and using up the scraps, the leftover parts from around the logos. To build out a t-shirt quilt that we could
discuss. I tried to make it big enough that it would
create some challenges for me today because I really wanted to try to answer all of those
questions you were asking in those comments, like what happens when? So here we go. We’re going to try to address a lot of those. Let’s start with talking about the backing
itself. So on the back of this quilt, it’s already
totally basted. I’ve used flannel. And this is a beautiful, fantastic flannel
from Maywood Studios that I just love. People like flannel because it feels like
the t-shirt material itself. But sometimes folks get concerned about their
backing being flannel because of the stretch or the give factor. So let’s make sure you pre wash your backing
down a couple of times because your t-shirts were washed and worn so many times. There’s not going to be any shrinkage left
in them so we want to make sure whatever backing fabric we use, we wash it down really, really
well. Secondly, oop sorry, before we move onto batting
let’s finish the backing. The backings are also sometimes polar fleece
or cuddle fabrics. A fantastic fabric, it also works beautifully
with t-shirts. Same thing, is you, that’s a polyester. You won’t need to pre wash it but you just
want to make sure you have plenty of it. And the other thing I want to point out with
backing is I’ve also left myself a little extra room around the quilt top because I
know that there could be some stretch and there could be some give. So I will be trimming down the entire project
before I bind it, ok? I just want to point out that there’s some
forward thinking in my patchwork itself. I was starting to talk about batting. Batting is one of those things that is optional
in t-shirt quilts. It’s going to add a lot of weight. And it could add a challenge for the machine
quilting. That means one more layer that can be shifting
around and working against us. So I put it in for that reason specifically. I’m trying to make this the most difficult
quilt to quilt so that we can address those challenges together. Most of us if you’re going to use minky
on the back you probably won’t use any batting inside. It’s just going to be so nice and snuggly
just that way. There’s not really a need for the batting. But it will add additional warmth if you’re
in one of our colder areas in the world out there. So anyway, a lot of talk about backing, a
lot of talk about batting. I’ve set this up to answer those questions. Now one of the things we talked about in the
previous video also was using our walking foot. Using the walking foot and I referred to t-shirt
quilting in that video because t-shirts as I said, they want to move. They’ve got some give and travel to them. A walking foot’s job is to kind of claw
from the top and the bottom at the same time and it’s supposed to help move all of those
layers through the machine. So if I was going to do a stitch in the ditch,
excuse me, a stitch in the ditch technique meaning sewing through all of these seam allowances
themselves, a walking foot like this is a great choice. Even if I want to free motion quilt this,
I could do stitch in the ditch and then return to free motion. But I want to address this as all free motion
today because we’ve spent some time with the walking foot before. And we have links for those videos out there. So that being said, I’m going to start in
the middle of this project. And I can already see that one of these seams
has got a little extra character than the rest of the area around it so I want to start
right in this area today with my free motion techniques and see what happens as we’re
going to try to anchor this area down. We’re going to drift over into here and
we’re going to go around this as it was an applique. So I’m using cotton threads in the top and
in the bottom of or the bobbin I should say. I’ve got a sew slip mat down on the bed
of my machine. Now that sew slip mat is a teflon coating
for the machine. And it’s going to make everything travel
more smoothly. It resists the drag. So the heavier the weight, the more physical
weight this has the more it’s going to want to drag. So we really want to not only secure the movement
but we also want to come in here and I want to get a lot of this extra loft in my favor. What I’m trying to say is what’s called
a stuff and fluff method. So we kind of get in here and I’ve got a
lot of this extra so I can just move really nicely before I get started. And one of the things I learned early on is
we get our chores done first at my house and then we play. So right now this is the area I am most worried
about so we’re going to address it first. When I machine quilt if I start to travel
around in tight little areas it’s very possible for me to build up a bunch of pucker really
quick. So I’m going to address this with a large,
broad pass and then I’m going to come in and kind of section it out. And I’m just going to start by having a
little bit of fun. But I did start, got a little bit of a knot
here. So now I’m going to pick up my bobbin thread
by taking a single stitch. And if you don’t know this trick it’s
pretty cool, you hold your thread like dental floss, pull it on through. And now I have the bobbin thread on the top. And I’m going to try to drop that first
stitch in a seam. So I can take a couple to hold it in place. And then what I’m going to do is I’m going
to trap this little ripple right away. And we’re going to come around here and
we’re just going to come wide. Now you notice my pace is a little bit slower. And I came back on it. And the other thing I just felt there, let’s
talk about that. I felt the extra thickness of the stabilizer
and the two seams of the t-shirt. So you should expect whenever you’re coming
over those seam allowances that there might be a little more bulk there and for me when
I have bulk, I want to have extra speed on the machine to penetrate so that it’s not
slowing it down. And I don’t want to push. So let’s go over that seam again and see
what happens. So we’re coming here and as I hit this bulk
I want to keep driving through it, driving through it. And of course I had that worse spot I was
dealing with, that’s what we said. We were doing our chores first. Now what you can really see though, is because
I have stabilize and I’m addressing this in small passes now that everything is starting
to quilt very nicely. So I just want to get this thread out of my
way. There’s my little scissors. And I’m going to start working now into
this blue area. And I”m going to build myself a corner section
so I can get onto what would be like that applique of the really cool Man Sewing emblem
there. Notice how I had to throw the plug in for
the Man Sewing of course. So what we’re going to do now is let’s
do some fun echo quilting along those lines. And I’m just trying to work myself, still
respecting that concept of pushing the pucker. Now I”m down in the area where I can go
ahead and address the logo itself inside. This is the fun of this here. So now what I want to do is get my thread
right on top there. Now this is not a silk screened logo. This is an iron on logo. So I really don’t want to put the needle
in it. It will just make holes. So I’m going to sew close to it. And then when I’m done going around the
outside edge I will not go back in and sew in the middle of it because then the logo
itself will lift off. It will have more like that crest or that
shield effect. And when you’re dealing with t-shirt quilts
remember, the reason a lot of us wear our t-shirts is it’s a logo we love. So when we’re going to be quilting around
those logos we want to make sure that we give that logo the love it still deserves even
though it’s a quilt and not a t-shirt anymore. So let’s not over quilt on our logos. Let’s not hide them too much with our quilting. Ok let’s address this. I think this is a good teachable moment. I’m coming down here you can see that there’s
a little bit of a ripple starting to develop. So what I want to do is I’m just going to
smooth this with my hand down towards the seam allowance. And I’m going to continue on with my outlining
here. So what I did is I moved that ripple out of
my way. And then later on when I’m sewing in the
blue background I can use blue thread and sew in that area and try to knock it down
like I just did with the black area. Or I’ll just use the same white thread and
do a cool little circular design in there. The circular designs are great because they
push the batting around and hide little ripples. Where the straight lines a lot of times they
kind of form that ripple and at least in my world, in my quilting. We are all a little bit different when we
do this and so it’s fun to learn a lot of different techniques. I appreciate you all enjoying our videos here
at Man Sewing. Ok so I’m coming back up in this area. And a lot of times when we’ve gone around
the perimeter of something, as we’re coming back into that final zone, now we might be
starting to create a ripple or create a pucker. So what I want to do now is I want to make
sure that this is as flat as possible. I’m kind of spreading my fingers away here
and just looking at it. And then as I come in I’m able to drop that
down really nice. And I did not create any pucker or any ripple
there. That looked really good. And then I started this fun little arrow motif. So now I”m going to float back out into
the background and do something fun. And with my straight lines I’m kind of trying
to keep my channels a little further apart. As I was saying earlier so I don’t create
the puckers. And now what I have effectively done is I’ve
started in the middle of this quilt, I created some fun little motif. I was able to travel over and get around an
applique. So all of that area between where I’ve started
and this applique now, I can come in here and just play. And when I say play I mean I’m going to
do what I like to do because this is my quilt. My style of quilting is I set some lines and
then I just free motion using some of those favorite motifs that we’ve created. And so that’s why I hope you’re spending
some time in our skills and drills section at Man Sewing because a lot of these motifs
are when I talk about being background I use them over and over again to create the flattening
or the background quilting to make the rest of the design show up. So that’s what a lot of those are designed
for. And I hope you’re learning with me as I
go. We created a few new ones recently that I
hope you’ll like. And with that said, I kind of keep forgetting
your paying attention because I’m so getting into my zen of my machine quilting here. So I’m hoping that this has gotten all of
those questions answered about backing, batting choices. I didn’t talk about the safety pin basting,
I probably should have. I laid it out as a standard basting. I just tried to avoid putting the pins anywhere
that I’d want to be sewing because I don’t want to put a bunch of holes or a bunch of
pins in my way. I’ve addressed talking about that walking
foot. Use that when you need for your stitch in
the ditch if you like. But I’m really going to encourage you to
play with your free motion machine quilting. Remember these t-shirts are special, special
to the person you’re going to give this quilt to. So put some time and effort into the machine
quilting. And do not be intimidated. People maybe have told you it’s difficult. But there’s a lot of great ways. If that stabilizer is in place you shouldn’t
have any problems. Just take your time, enjoy it, review this
video a few times. And we’ll see you next time right here at
Man Sewing. Thanks for being a Man Sewing fan. It’s great to have you out there encouraging
me to create fantastic new content. If you’ve missed any of the videos we’ve
got links for you here and here. And when you’re checking those out make
sure you’re subscribed. We don’t want you to miss any of the action.