When my paternal grandfather passed away a few years back, I had asked for a few of his shirts to make a quilt. So many times I sat down to think of ideas and nothing was coming to mind.
Emotionally I wasn't ready.
Recently, in the midst of cleaning out my own closet the idea popped into my head. What about taking some of my old favorite shirts, my grandfather's shirts, and stealing some from my dad to make a three generations quilt.
The idea was a winner.
To start ...
Take all the shirts (I had ten in total) and cut them up using a pair of scissors. First, remove the sleeves from the body of the shirt. Then cut following the seam to make a panel of fabric. Second, remove the collar. Then cut from the neck to the sleeves seam following the shoulder. Third, cut down the side to create three separate panels of fabric. One from the back and two from each side of the front.
Iron and starch all the pieces. When I did this process I didn't starch and only have regrets.
Next, start cutting! This part was a bit scary due to the irreplaceable nature of the shirts.
When cutting I intentionally left some of the parts; cuffs, buttons, pockets, seams, and other details from the shirts themselves. I also took and cut some on the bias so the pattern would shift visually. Be careful when sewing the bias pieces went a little crazy.
Here are some of my favorite details ...
Hint: Make sure buttons and bulk are away from where seams would fall. This will make piecing easier. Hand (or machine) stitch any open seams so they will not open in the finished quilt.
Some filler fabric was also added to break up the heavy plaid and stripes in the shirts. Last year I picked up some fabric with architectural prints. My grandfather was a builder and my dad is a builder. I was supposed to be an architect, oops. The fabric fits the family. Then some brighter solids to break up all the blue and plaid.
The finished size of each block is 4 inches square, so cut to 4.5 inches square. Cut some 4.5 inch squares and some 5 inch squares blocks from each shirt.
To add more interest, HST are also scattered throughout the layout. Cut the HST blocks to 5 inches square. Draw a line diagonally and sew a scant quarter inch on each side. Trim to 4.5 inches square.
Layout all the blocks so the pattern is appealing to the eye. Be sure to take note that different values are used throughout the quilt. Sew the blocks together into rows, then sew the rows together.
TWIN QUILT: 17 blocks x 22 blocks = 374 blocks needed
THROW QUILT: 14 blocks x 16 blocks = 224 blocks needed
BABY QUILT: 10 blocks x 14 blocks = 140 blocks needed
SHAM: 5 blocks x 7 blocks = 35 blocks needed