Cutting Your T-Shirts for a Quilt

Okay, about cutting those t-shirts. It’s
finally time to do it. Now I hope you’ve watched the video about planning and
prep and the one on stabilizers. They’re important because those choices, the
planning and the prep and the stabilizers that you use, they make a
difference on how I go about cutting the t-shirts up. For instance, if I’m going to
use an iron-on stabilizer, I usually just cut right up the back of the t-shirt.
Open it out and put the stabilizer down. The t-shirt is already face down on my
pressing mat. And I cut out my stabilizer and I heat set it. And so one
step, right there. Slice open the back of the t-shirt, put
down the stabilizer, heat set it with the iron. Now, if I’m going to use the starch
method it’s a little bit different. I just do a really rough cut along the
sides, very generous along the sides, and only cutting off right at the shoulder
seams, and along the neckline, and across the top of the shoulders. I want that
shirt, the part that I’m going to be using as a large as I can possibly get it. I’ll
be doing cutting again if I’m going to be adding borders, and then of course you
know the trimming process after the blocks are layered and quilted, they need
to be trimmed up exactly before they’re joined up into the quilt. So I need some
room for seam allowances if I’m going to add fabrics. I need some room for
shrinkage while machine quilting, and then again for the trimming process. So the
theory on cutting is cut large. Always cut large. And you know you start with
the largest design that you have. Like this blue t-shirt is going into the next
quilt I’m going to make. Its all about locations, like places I’ve been, and places I want to go. And I really like this blue design but
you can see it’s huge. I’m gonna try and get the full eighteen inches out of that
design. That means that every other block in the quilt has to be that big. I want all my
blocks to be the same size. right? So if I have something that a lot smaller design
and I wanted to fit in, I’m going to add some fabrics around that image before I
put it into a block size and then layer it quilt it. So all of those factors make a
difference in how I cut my t-shirts. Now that being said there’s always
something. There’s always something! So let me go through just a few things that
I run into. For instance this balloon t-shirt – gorgeous – look at this. The design goes right up into the
neckline. I i’m not going to use a ribbed neckline as part of my block. So
basically I’m going to cut across this balloon design. It’s small and it’s
not really an important part of the overall design and it’ll be cut off and
that’s the way life goes. Now this brown shirt, when I flipped it over to
take a good look at it, this is the stabilizer. The same type of stabilizer
I’m talking about using. It was used to stabilize the embroidery on this and
there’s too much of it. Its folding over onto itself. I don’t need that bulk when
I’m going to be making my quilt block or quilting, so I need to trim all of this
away from the embroidery. And speaking of embroidery, look at this green t-shirt. I
have never, ever, seen a stabilizer this thick used to backup embroidery on a
t-shirt. I can’t even smooth it out flat with my hands. It just keeps bunching up.
so I’ve got to press it flat first before I can’t even
measure the shirt and figure out what kind of stabilizer I’m going to use on it.
Just a few tips there on cutting, again, touching a little bit on the stabilizers
and a little bit of planning, like the size of blocks that you want to make
your quilt. The bottom line is: always always, always, leave enough room for all
the trimming that’s involved with making a quilt block and then doing the
quilt-as-you-go process, which includes another set of trimming cuts before the
blocks are all joined up. Thanks so much for watching. I hope you’ve enjoyed the
videos. If you haven’t seen them all I have an intro about the book, I have one
about planning and prep, and another one about stabilizing. I hope that you will
check out the book on Amazon and I hope you are inspired enough now from my
videos to try your hand at making a t-shirt quilt. With our quilt-as-you-go
process is so simple and so easy. Thanks so much for watching.