Playing catch-up, memory t-shirt quilt

My high school t-shirt quilt was the first thing I ever sewed for myself. It was a hot mess, and I learned a ton, but somehow it came together. From there, I made a quilt for my sister, and then sewed my college t-shirts into a quilt. After I felt like I really knew what I was doing, I offered up the service for my school’s Relay 4 Life silent auction. Business grew from there. Social media has helped me reach even more people, and that’s where I met the family for this quilt.

Almost 2 years ago, a mom reached out to my through my Sew Sassy Facebook page. Her daughter’s boyfriend recently passed away and she wanted to use his shirts to make a quilt. The mom had seen pictures of my work, but told me that the daughter had a lot of shirts she wanted incorporated into the blanket. The family was local to Atlanta, so I met up with them to get a better idea of their inspiration. Usually, I use squares out of t-shirts with fabric sashing between. When this family came to meet with me, I knew that my usual pattern wouldn’t work for this. She wanted everything incorporated. When I say everything, I mean everything. She had outfits of his, outfits of hers (that were worn in pictures they took together), concert shirts, music festival wristbands, and shirts from places they visited. Everything.

I was up for the challenge, and this family was beyond wonderful to work with. When the stuff arrived at my house the girl carefully marked things she wanted. I wish I was better about taking “before” pictures, but I think this is all I have. All shirts were marked with painters tape, with logos outlined, or notes stating how she wanted the garment used.

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I was still unsure how I was going to make it all come together, but went ahead and ironed the stabilizer on the back of the knit shirts. While I was ironing (and ironing, and ironing), I had the idea to create squares. Usually, I cut my t-shirts for quilts into 15″ squares. Since I had way too many shirts to do that, I would use multiple shirts to make up a 15″ square. Then, sew all my squares together for the finished quilt.

First, I cut the shirts so they were square (or rectangle). I had a whole box of stuff that I called “filler”, and decided to use those to fill in the gaps. Here you can see some of the shirts cut, and how I started to fill in to make squares.IMG_1305.jpg

Once I got that laid out I knew that this idea would work. I then started filling in the smaller pieces. Below you can see one of the wrist bands (bottom center square).

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Finally, I was ready to put all 30 squares tougher. In my “filler” bag were pieces that she asked for me to use as much as possible throughout the quilt, so I decided to make bands to run horizontally across the quilt between each of my rows. IMG_2352.jpg

I love how the bands turned out and really broke up the monotony of the squares. I was given a flat sheet in my box of shirts, and we decided to use that for the back of the quilt. Over 100 pieces were used to create this quilt. Finished, it fits a full/queen size bed. It’s the largest and most in-deapth project I’ve done thus far, and I LOVE how it all came together. I really hope this quilt is a source of comfort. It was an honor to be trusted with the memories.

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Footnote- I started this project at the end of May 2015. I worked on it throughout the summer, but it was difficult with Zac who was 3 and a half at the time. Once he went back to school in August, I started to kick it into gear. However, it was at that same time decided to list our house. Everything went into storage (our formal dining room was my “office”), but the house sold in a day and I got to get back to work quicker than expected. I’m not sure how it all got done, but it did. Super thankful for our new house and an office with a door to hide my mess.

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilt

Over the summer, I wrote about a special group of friends, The Darlings. This is a group of women that joined together as a birth board on Baby Center back in 2011, and we’ve stayed bonded as a group as our babies have grown into toddlers. This quilt was created using a onesie from each of our children, and the quilt is passed from woman to woman in times of need. These needs vary, but the quilt brings comfort to each recipient. Since my initial blog post, the quilt made it’s way to Savannah, then back to Atlanta, then north to Wisconsin, over to Indiana, and its now out west in Colorado. What is so special about the journey to Colorado is that two of our group members live there and you can see them photographed together at the end of this post. FYI, those fabulous ladies are both photographers. I feel the need to add that tidbit of information because when my husband saw those pictures he was in awe and said it looked like it was taken professionally, and in a way- it was.

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The December Darlings

I am so excited about this quilt. It is an adult size blanket, using baby onesies. 32 onesies to be exact, that came from 30 awesome women (plus myself). The story behind this quilt began over 2 years ago…

Social media plays a huge role in our lives. What you may not know is that sites like Baby Center and The Bump serve not only as online resources for new mothers, but as a community of women. There are groups for everything from pregnancy, to motherhood, those struggling to conceive, dealing with a loss, and everything in between.

I found out I was pregnant with my son, March 30, 2011. I was already a member of the Baby Center online community, so I searched for a due date group to join. I had no idea then the impact that decision would have on my life. The group was called “The December Darlings,” and was a private board for women due December 1-10, 2011. People shared every aspect of pregnancy- the good, the bad, and the ugly. We grieved together as some women suffered miscarriages, prayed together as some (myself included) received troubling news, and rejoiced as our babies were born.

As the year drew to a close, our group dwindled. What was once close to 200 women was now 73. Anyone who’s had a newborn knows that sitting down at the computer can be a challenge, so most of us accessed Internet through our phones (especially those up nursing a baby at 2 am). For convenience, we decided to move our group over to Facebook. Not everyone made the move, but for the ones who did, our bond grew stronger.

We’ve supported each other through the loss of parents, miscarriages, deployments, sick children, and spouses with cancer. We’ve celebrated as our babies reached milestones, new pregnancies and the birth of younger siblings, homecomings, and more. Somewhere along the line we started sending gifts, and that’s where the idea for the quilt came to be. How cool would it be to have a blanket made up with something from each of us… I was eager to take on this project, and after weeks of nagging, I got enough onesies to make the quilt.

I’ll spare you the details, and focus on the highlights. What started off as women with one thing in common (motherhood), and over the past 2 years we’ve become great friends. Our group consists of 36 women, spread out over 23 states. We range in age from 22-42. Some of us are first time moms, others have 7 children. Many of us have had the opportunity to meet one another; I’ve been fortunate enough to meet 3 of my fellow darlings (pictures below). As a group, our dream is for all 36 of us to meet with our babies. Anyone out there with the power and funds to make that happen- my contact info is available on the blog.

I think our story is powerful. Support comes in all forms. These women, most of whom I’ve never met, I consider my closest friends. I truly don’t know how I would have made it through the past 2 years without them. In an online arena, there is no shame in asking the kinds of questions new mothers have. In our group, sometimes we jokingly wonder how our ‘real world’ friends get answers to their personal questions.These women are my sounding board for everything, and I’m so so thankful for that decision I made, back in the spring of 2011, to join this group.

If you read through this, thank you! For those here for the quilt, this blanket consists of 32 onesies and 32 flannel squares, each measuring 7″. The teal border is 2.5″ and the snowflake border is 4″. The finished blanket measures 69″ square, and its backed with pale grey anti-pill fleece. We plan to “share” this blanket, sending it to those in need when they need it. I’m hoping nobody “needs” it soon because I’m not ready to part with it.

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Are you ready for some football?

Goodness, it’s been awhile. I’ll keep this post short, because really the pictures speak for themselves. I made this quilt for a friend, as a father’s day gift for her husband. He’s a huge Minnesota Vikings fan. The shirts were a combinations of his and hers, and then new shirts she bought specifically for the blanket. I love the fabric used on the front. I really don’t feel that pictures do it justice. It’s purple with metallic gold polka dots. I’d love to do a quilt like this for myself or family using Pittsburgh Steelers shirts…

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Surprise for my sister

Since my sister graduated college, I’ve been bugging her to let me turn her t-shirts into a quilt. She finally turned them over to me this summer. I planned on making the blanket for her birthday in November, but decided it would be awesome to surprise her. My sister recently moved to Baton Rouge to attend LSU. She is getting her Ph.D. and works for the university. This is a phenomenal opportunity for her, but between hurricanes and bomb threats, she’s had a rough couple of weeks.

I am a horrible secret keeper, and I hate waiting, so this was difficult for me. It was hard not telling her what I was doing. Perhaps the hardest part was waiting for the package to arrive. (It didn’t help matters that I wrote the wrong zip code on the box, but we’re not going there…). I paid for Priority shipping, thinking that the package would get to her on Thursday. It didn’t. I thought it would get there Friday. It didn’t. I gave up hope, especially when tracking said the package was sent back to the sorting facility Saturday morning, but at 4:58 Saturday afternoon, I got a call from my sister- the quilt made it! She was surprised, excited, and in love with her new blanket. That phone call made all the stress of waiting worth it.

Here are pictures I took while making her quilt…

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