Scrapbooking with T-Shirt Squares!

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T-Shirt quilts are the perfect combination between sewing and scrapbooking. What better way to tell the story of a life than through the t-shirts that have collected over the years? Whether it’s school, hobby, or work-related, t-shirt quilts can be a snapshot into a time that you want to remember forever.

Choosing your shirts and layout

The type of quilt you decide to make, may depend on the number of shirts you have to work with. One way to choose is to look for common themes: color, sport, music, companies, military, hobby, etc. Another way would be to use all t-shirts from a specific time period of someone’s life, such as childhood or college.

Next, you will need to assess the size of the squares you will need to make. If the images are all similar in size, it is easiest to have squares that are all the same size. However, if some graphics are much larger than others, you will need to choose a design that is more irregular or whimsical. This is where you can make your design unique. Fold the shirts and lay them out to get an idea of how they look best to you.

You will also need to decide if you want your shirts to be sewn directly together or have sashing – strips of fabric – between them. If you don’t have enough shirts to fill the entire face of the quilt, sashing is a good way to create rows and columns that showcase each square, spread out the images, and pull a color theme together. Choose the layout that fits your preferences and needs.

Preparing and Cutting Shirt Squares

Before cutting out your t-shirts, you will need to prepare them with interfacing. The more lightweight the interfacing is, the less bulky the quilt will be. It is important not to cut the interfacing too small. You will need the cut to be big enough to cover the image, plus allow enough room for seams.

Next, you will turn the t-shirt inside out and place the glue side of the interfacing over the desired area. Both the interfacing and t-shirt material will have stretch to them. To stabilize the material, turn the stretch of the interfacing the opposite way of the stretch of the shirt.

When you are sure you have it placed where you want it, place a damp pressing cloth over the interfacing. This will provide a buffer between the material and the iron and prevent damage to the image. The interfacing packaging will state the temperature and steam level that you should use on your iron. Press down the iron for roughly 10 seconds over the entire area. This will bond the interfacing to the shirt.

Then, using a clear quilter’s ruler or template made from cardboard, cut the image out with a rotary cutter. Using the same template keeps your squares the same size and keeps your lines straight. Remember that the template should also allow room for seams. From here, you will turn your squares over, fold and pin your seams together, and begin sewing them together like any other quilt top.

When you finish, you will have a usable, lasting memory keeper for years to come!

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