T-Shirt Quilting: Warm Up With Your Life Story

Lesson 5/21 - Creating Quilt Blocks


T-Shirt Quilting: Warm Up With Your Life Story


Lesson Info

Creating Quilt Blocks

So let's get a t shirt out let's start with this white shirt wait no that we need to get the center facing to cover the entire back of our quote block right the thing we need to do to make that happen is we need to be able to center interfacing over the back side of the graphic because that way we'll be able to make accurate cuts around it when you have a white t shirt like this one on camera I think you can probably pretty clearly still see the back of the graphic right I mean that's that's pretty easy to see when you have a shirt that is not white a lot of the time the graphic will be invisible to you from the back so here's another shirt on a tan background you can see the graphic but when I flip it over to the back where to go ok so here's my nifty method for being able to see the graphic from the back of the shirt and it involves for straight pins what you want to do is take these pens and put one about an inch away from the top of the graphic about an inch away from the bottom an...

d about an inch away from each of the two sides and this is a visual eyeballed inch there's no reason in the world to measure this so I'm just going to go ahead and pop these into place and you guys can do the same here in the studio if your shirt is not white and you want to be able to see the graphic from the back, just aim to get it roughly the same distance and more or less in incheon again, don't worry too much about this, but this is a hugely imprecise science we're doing here with those four pens in place. Now, once you flip this over now, you can see where the graphic isthe, and now I can take my fuse, herbal interfacing peace, and I can very easily see where it could be centered over that graphic. Does that make sense? Okay, now I actually want to start with the white shirt, so I'll remove these for the moment I'll come back to this question of non white shirts in the second, but I want to show you the basic fusing process first, so for this white shirt, because I can see the graphic and I can pretty much see through the interfacing, I'm just going to visually center him together. So in case the interface has obscured the camera's view too much, I've got pretty much close to the same amount of space on both sides bumpy sat down right bumpy side down yes, thank you that's a hugely important detail, the glue side needs to be a against the back side of the shirt fabric is this the part where the green would make any difference of the fusing the way that we've cut this? You've cut a wits of a piece that's two inches wider, and we've cut so that the grain is running horizontally, okay, which will always happen any time you just take this long strip of interfacing and cut a slice off of it, that grain will always be horizontal. So that's, what we're aiming for is a horizontal grain, but it should happen pretty naturally decision this way or that way, on the back of the t shirt, the rough and bumpy side should face toward, you know, I know that I mean the great there's a stretchy side and there's a not a strictest night, so the non stretch you cite should be horizontal to to you at this point. Yeah, we're gonna move to the ironing board now and here's, where you begin to see I don't know how well this is going to show up on camera, but here's where you really begin to appreciate how off center and wacky t shirts really are, because honestly there they're not manufactured very. Straighter centered it's amazing when we wear them we never see that but his eye line this piece of interfacing up to get its center to the graphic look how much extra fabric there is on this side versus this side where it comes to all the way to the edge it's just one of the many variables of shirts so I'm going to put this over my ironing board keeping the orientation of my layers and then I want a smooth out any wrinkles because if you refuse over wrinkles they become permanent which is a good thing to know not that this has ever happened to me personally actually did it happened on my nephews quilt was very disappointing so take a minute and make sure all those wrinkles air smoothed out if you want to you can even press the t shirt piece itself before you lay the interfacing down on it that works too. Ok, so let's talk about these blue pieces here these air pressing cloths there's nothing fancy about a pressing cloth. I bought a sheet at the thrift store and I ripped it into big pieces any piece of woven fabric that you don't care about using that suppressing cloth you never want to iron a t shirt or a piece of fuse herbal interfacing without one, so put the senior arsenal of tools right away and keep it protected most specific reason for that diane in terms of the front of the shirt many screen printed t shirt graphics are made of plastic bearing inks and iron will just melt them and ruin both the shirt and iron the fuse herbal interfacing fabric is synthetic it's basically a plastic as well so too much contact with the iron khun really cause it to bunch up and start to shrink and melt so it's always safest to put a piece of fabric between the iron and the fuse herbal thank you j k o that was a very good detail to capture their all right so I'm just going to lay the pressing cloth over the shirt and interfacing together and then I've got an iron that's nice and hot and I haven't set to a medium high heat with no steam and the no steam is pretty darn important because if you shoot steam into this usable it will tend to bunch up under the shirt and it's just not a good thing so you turn the steam off you don't need to have any water in your iron and you just get it to a nice medium high heat so fusing is a process of pressing and there's actually a difference between pressing in the sense of sewing and ironing in the sense of ironing your laundry pressing involves pressing iron straight down where is ironing is you may be familiar with is sliding the iron around the way that you get the most accurate results here is to actually press rather than iron, so I'm basically moving the iron around it three to five second intervals, and I'm kind of moving it in very small amounts so that I keep overlapping the same sections over and over again as I go, so this fusing does take a little time to do it's probably the one of them. Well, I won't say it's the most time consuming process of quilting, but it is one of the more time consuming process is people with lots of experience on here because seeing five, six, seven, eight is saying they actually used their cutting matt to do that, and they say they they regretted doing that. Goodness michelle b is asking if you ever do accidentally, you know, I am the fuse herbal material directly. Is there a way that rescue iron or you really in big trouble? You can try using? It just really depends on how much damage you've done sometimes not that this has happened to me personally. Sometimes when I've done that, I can actually use like a nail polish remover, asa tone, some kind of solvent to get the sticky stuff off, but sometimes I haven't been able to, if there's an excessive amount of it, so it's worth a try. If you iron over a t shirt graphic my experience generally is there's not a way back from that that's a big that's a big problem so that's a good question that I want to get to on a white shirt it'll be very difficult to see and I actually haven't fused to the entirety of this as you can see, they're still edges that are not yet fused but I do want to step aside from this and answer your question, which is a good one let me take a back panel of this shirt right here and I'm actually going to just fuse a new piece of interfacing to this bottom section so that you can see what the difference is let me just quickly cut myself a piece of interfacing all right, so let's use this stuff to this darker colored shirt and I'll do half of it and I'll leave half of it infused and then you'll easily be able to see how to tell okay that's getting pretty close so there's not a tactile it's a visual it's a visual ok, I mean you can also try to peel up the corners of the interfacing and if they don't come up you're good to go but there is a good visual okay, this would be great to have ah nice close up shot of it we'll get it in the overhead for you guys that are here but in the part of the interfacing that I have fused you should see that pattern of blue dots has vanished because of course those have melted and they fused with the fabric but in this section here that is unfair used you'll still be able to see the dots very clearly absolutely so is everybody pretty ok on the concept of refusing so far it's just mostly a little bit time consuming the question came up oh no I just something this iron todd enough so I'm just trying to get it in the right temple okay there's a heat dial on the yeah you can just feel free to crank that up a little bit okay so I want to show you I want to wrap back to this shirt quickly this is the one where we have the graphic and we couldn't see it from the back of the shirt all right, so I will quickly reestablish my visual inch pins this particular shirt measured out to a width uh let's call that fourteen inches which means I'm going to need a sixteen inch strip of this interface and cut let me do that quickly sometimes too I'll just instead of peeling back my fabric I'll just hold my cutter in place and slide my ruler forward especially for a cut like this that is doesn't matter too much about it straightness because I'm going to cut into it as a block later you can do that method as well, all right, so coming to the ironing board, then when I'm working with this kind of thing where I'm aiming through the pins, I like to lay the shirt on the ironing board first, and then I'll put a rough side down the interfacing over the back of the shirt and all feel around for my pins so that I can make sure that I've got them centered to each other. So there's about the same margin of interfacing on either side of the pen's right now, before I can start fusing this, I got to take these pins out because I don't want to melt them into my shirt and ruin it, right? So how do I move these layers so that I can get the pins out of the front? You do that by tacking the interfacing to the t shirt, which is really easy to do. You just take your iron and you tap it down a couple times and that fuses those corners just enough that these two pieces now operate as one. Now I can flip him over, they're not going to lose their orientation and I can rip out these pins, and then I can flip the whole thing right back over, smooth it out and start fusing, so that works really well. And if for some reason my tak is not allowing the fifth e interfacing to smooth out enough, I could just slide a finger under it, pull it out it it hasn't melted enough that it's permanent, so I can always take it out. We do that, and then I would do my same process later pressing cloth over it and start refusing. So I know that you all here in the studio are sharing an iron, so you're fusing is going even slower than fusing normally goes. I would love to move on at this point to how to cut, quote blocks, but I know that you guys will not be able to participate alongside with me, but it's, but I would like to also move us forward because it's a slow moving process. All right, then cooking show style. I have prepped for us quite a few previously fused t shirts, and I'm going to show you a four step process for cutting quote blocks out of those it's a really good idea if your shirts air wrinkle free before you start, so if you've set them aside for a little bit like sometimes I'll do the various process of processes of making a quilt in stages, and I might. Hughes my block excuse my shirts on one day and then a week later come back and cut them, and if I folded them in between and they pick up some wrinkles, it's a good idea to go ahead and press those out. So luckily for us, about eighty five to ninety percent of t shirts come with some kind of line of text in them, and that is certainly very handy for establishing straight cuts if we're going toe cut a rectangular quote block out of this thing, I will show you what to do if you don't have a line of text in just a moment, but so I always start with that whether the line of texas at the top or the bottom that's where I line up my first cut, so maybe I'll cut the top pitch first, maybe the bottom. It just depends on where this text is living on the shirt we've already talked about in early measuring how we're going to do about two inches on either side of the graphic, both vertically and horizontally. So that's the measurement we're going to do here for cutting. So just like I talked about, you can orient, you're cutting that however you need to for ease, you can also orient your t shirt, however you need to freeze and that's what we're going to do here. I am gonna start by cutting along this line of text to to make the bottom edge of my quote block because this looks like a nice straight line of text to work with. So I have my quilting ruler, and it has a one inch grid printed on it. So I know that if I line up with this line right here against the text, that if I cut against the edge of the ruler, I'll have that two inch margin, right? Okay, so I'm going to take a little care to make sure that this two inch line on my ruler is actually right against the bottom of the text all along here, and it looks to me like this line of text is I line up against my ruler actually has a little bit of a curvature to it that happens sometimes sometimes it's an artifact of the screen printing process and sometimes it's created when you fuse, you shouldn't worry about it too much in this case, I'll just try to line up so that at the start, in the end of the text, I'm lining up on the same line, then whatever happens in the middle is pretty ok, that makes sense, so we're going to make a cut that's two inches below the bottom most line here. Now my shirt is quite a bit bigger than my ruler in this case don't worry too much about that because keep in mind that we really only need this kind of business see area of the shirt this stuff out here at the edges doesn't worry us a ce much, so I'm just going to use the length of my ruler as my guide so I'll take my rotary cutter and I'll make this cut and then I can just continue the cut off the edge it doesn't matter and then I can come down here and just snapped that little bit away and as you can see, I've cut right through the interfacing because I made the interfacing bigger right? So now the interface and goes all the way off that cut that's exactly what we want and this becomes another extra piece that I might want to add to my quote design later so I can set that aside now I'm going to spend the shirt this way so that I'm looking at the graphic the way we normally would and I know the width I need to get out of this shirt is what? See this is a fifteen inch block so that would come from your your little notes and ok, you've got that so I want to work with the widest part of the graphic I'm gonna lay the ruler over the widest part of the graphic and then I'm going to move it from side to side until I can determine that the same amount of space exists on both sides to get me to that fifteen inch dimension. So here's, my fifteen inch line right here, right now, I have two inches between the end of the type and that fifteen inch mark over here, I also have the two inches, or I can also scooch them around, but this looks pretty precise every sure it'll be different, so sometimes you'll have to really move your ruler around and figure out the right measurement. And as we do a couple more of these, show you a couple more examples of that, so I know that I need to make a cut that is two inches on either side of the edge of this graphic, so I'm going to spend my ruler vertically, I am going to line the cut edge that I've just made up with the line on my on my cutting that so this is now my authoritative line. I'm gonna base all my other cuts on this line right here and then I'll orient my ruler vertically and all oriented, so that the end of that graphic is two inches away from the end of the ruler, so I'm using the internal measurement lines on my ruler to give me a nice, precise alignment. The other thing I need to do is also make sure that this ruler is nice and straight it's one thing to line it up, but it it could be quite crooked as you can see, I might have the correct measurement here, but the ruler itself is not straight. So this is this part here where I used the internal measurement line is one step to getting a good vertical cut. The other step to that is looking at the two ends of the ruler and how they're oriented to the printed lines on the cutting that so in this case, if I look at this alignment being correct that I want, and then I look at what is aligned here at the bottom of the ruler, this would be a great place for a super close up if we have the ability to do that right now, it looks like if I line up the three quarter inch vertical line of my ruler with this line of my cutting that that looks like I could still maintain my two inch alignment, right? So then what I need to do is pivot the top of my ruler, so it also has that same alignment right now, it's a little bit office just in eighth of an inch off, but that will make a difference in our quilt, so I'm just going to carefully hold this end down and I'm just going to pivot this into alignment so now I have my correct distance from the graphic and I know that at the top and bottom of my ruler the same line is lined up with the printed line on my cutting matt and now I have a nice straight cut I can make and I know that this cut and this cut will be perfectly perpendicular to each other and now that I know that I need a fifteen inch block I don't have to measure this I just flipped my matt and I place zero point on my left because then if I spend the shirt over I could line up this cut edge I just made like so and then I just come out to the fifteen inch mark and there's my next cut so it makes it very easy and as I'm doing that, I can double check that that's a two inch measurement between the end of the graphic thie edge of the ruler again, everybody close in their rotary cutters is they cut guilty? James says no, wait get a question about the grocery customers just wondering how often you have to replace it the blade they last a pretty long time for this kind of cutting actually I don't think I replaced my more than once every six months or so have any issues at all that way new blade is always a dandy thing you you know it's like having a fresh sewing machine machine needle with every project you starts super great idea you can fudge it a little bit because I answer a question I hope other people still asking questions about the interfacing refusal you do different weights except they've seen that some products for the midway's to say that you do need to scream when you want obviously for the feather weight you don't does it very depending on the time and I assume you should always read the manufacturer instructions you should every interfacing will come with a very long strip of either paper plastic that's wound into the bolt that they should fabric store should cut off for you with the interfacing that will tell you everything you need to know about using that france so just referred to that thank you so then our final cut will just use the top of this graphic and will line up two inches from there since we know we're using a two inch margin and again I'm just going to use these internal measurements at the top and bottom my ruler to make sure I'm making a perpendicular cut I don't actually have a that alignment here you may notice this center the ruler comes right over this line but the scent of the ruler is before the lines so I'm not actually straight yet what I'll d'oh is just pivot the rulers so that I can get one of the internal measurement lines on here tow line up with the cutting that lines and in this case they're made to maintain my two inch distance I can use the tiny little one eighths inch line on my ruler whine that up with the printed cutting that line and now I've got a straight cut you can really use any of these lines and then I'll make my last cut here and now I've got something with center graphic straight edges and this is ready to put into our quilt you may notice there's a little dip it in the top edge here that's totally okay so we so seems for quilting as a quarter of an inch away from the edge of the fabric so if you've chosen to cut kind of close to the bottom point of a neckline, as long as this is not less than a quarter inch from the edge of the fabric it's going to be just fine sometimes you have to fudge a little extra height out of something that way I don't see a question anybody else complete a block cut? I know a lot of us refusing so that makes it tough good job, june all right, so what happens then? If you don't have a straight line a type to work with, sometimes you'll get a shirt let's see I did want this way that's more like this where it's a big circle graphic or something like this so when you have something like that what you have to do is get a little bit arbitrary about what you are going to establish as your baseline and then once you've established that baseline you khun face all the other cuts on it and the block is going to look straight so it'll work just fine so I'm gonna first press my fold marks out of the shirt now I lay this out in front of me even though the outer edges of the graphic or curved there are points of straightness that can exist within a graphic like that for example the ends of the line of type would be something tow line up against right or here is well the ends of these two ends or even here these two spots are lined up horizontally from each other on the circle those could be the basis of a straight line to see always can assess the graphic you're working with and kind of figure out what it's hidden straight lines are and then that's what you would base your cut on does that make sense? So for this one here I think what I'll do it's all use since I know that lining these up makes a straight edge I can kind of do the same thing with each of the letters heading in so I'll just use the point of the d and the point of the l sorry the point of the day and the point of the oh what you're both two letters and from the edges and that'll be the basis of my straight line so all line those up and I'll go ahead and make this first cut and again I don't need to worry too much about the success, so I'll just turn that away save this extra piece, I'll spin that horizontally and aiken line it up with a horizontal line on the cutting that and then I'll do my measurements so in this case I need to get this fourteen inch block out of here now in this case I don't quite haven't even measurement I can't do a straight two inches on either side to get my fourteen inches because sometimes we fudge that right we may have added this shirt from one stack to another early on and plan to cut it a little differently. All I need to do if I know this needs to be a fourteen inch wide block is get the same margin a space on each side and so I'll just move the ruler around until I get there it's looking to me this could be hard to see on camera but a margin of two and an eighth inches on both sides will get me that fourteen inch with than I need so what do I do there? I spend the ruler vertically and then I have a two and an eighth inch alignment vertically as well because there are eighth inch lines that run vertically on my ruler as well a saurus donnelly so I can line up my ruler against that and then I can check the top and bottom and it looks like if I line up this half inch line at the top and bottom then I've got a perpendicular cut I can go ahead and make that and then because I know I need a fourteen inch block I'll just line up my cut edges here with the edges so that with the lines on the map here's my fourteen inch line make that cut and I still have my two and an eighth inch margin you always want to keep this same basically you want to have it you never want to have like for example the top and bottom march and be thinner then the then the outside you can you totally can it doesn't hurt for that to be the case at all I think and then we'll do one last bit way wanted do the interfacing before you cut your block you d'oh ok because the interfacing allows you to get a much more precise cut the interfacing takes the stretch out of the fabric which means that a life flatter and more precisely and speaking of those agents lines for me to get two inches from the top from the top edge of this graphic and still get a perpendicular I'll be lining up my cutting that line with these little eighth inch lines in the ruler again would make that cut that's pretty amazing when you start with these sort of floppy, wrinkly t shirts that you end up with something that's got a bit of precision to it. I mean, I always love this part of the project dearly, which is cutting the's into these nice, precise blocks because then they stop being t shirts and they start being creative elements of the new projects let's say, I think I have just enough time to show you one other example that's kind of useful which is this shirt here once you have fused to the shirt and you just need to take out some folding wrinkles you could do like I'm doing and just very quickly run the iron over the back never run an iron over the front of the shirt without a pressing cloth but this will just take those wrinkles out now this shirt here there's no type right? So what are you getting uses a baseline for this cut you get to decide you can he's is a baseline for this cut to me if I were to line my baseline up on her feet what happens is her dog is floating in space so I would actually line up using her foot and the dog's feet is the basis of my straight cut and then this other foot is kind of doing something qiqihar off to the side and so that's how I would base this cut does that make sense so every shirt is going to be a little different but you always have something that you can create it that first straight line and once you have that all the other lines fall from from that so I'll just take the two inch mark on my ruler and line up with all those little feet and we make the first cut so as you can see that actually turns the t shirt quite italic because she was not printed perfectly straight on the shirt to begin with but once we make straight cuts off of this it's not going to matter it's going to look like this is how it was meant to peace or sort of imposing order on this is we go so this one needs to be a twelve inch block and it's looking to me like two and three eighths inches on either side will get me there we'll spend the ruler vertically and I'll do it two and three eighths inch alignment and then I'll make sure that I've got a straight alignment top and bottom and this is a good moment to show that sometimes when you're doing this, the t shirt will extend beyond the end of the ruler if it's a section of the t shirt that you don't actually need for your project, which the shoulder piece isn't there's no reason in the world that you can't just cut it out of your way so that you can get a better alignment with your ruler so it looks like the three eights inch lines vertically on my ruler lining up with the cutting. That line will get me that perpendicular I'm looking for, and then I'm going to cut to fourteen inches. This will sort of preview for you something we're going to talk about in the next segment after our lunch break, which is what do you do when the cut you need to make doesn't have enough fabric to make it and we're going to deal with that? So for now, I'm just going to leave that edge rough. We'll deal with it later, and I'll go ahead and make my last cut. What I usually do is I make all my cuts first, and then I'll go through and repair the quote blocks that needed all in one step.

Class Description

Are the t-shirts you saved for their sentimental value starting to pile up? Making them into a t-shirt quilt is an incredible way to preserve memories of the marathons you’ve run, family reunions you’ve attended, theater productions you’ve appeared in and more. Join Diane Gilleland and learn about the coziest way to share your life story.

This course will cover everything you need to know to create a t-shirt quilt from start to finish. You'll learn three methods of simple quilting: tie quilting by hand, machine ties, and simple straight line quilting. You'll learn two methods of finishing the quilt: a sewn edge and a binding. You’ll explore the tools professional quilters use, but also learn how to incorporate the sewing materials you already have into your quilting. You’ll make accurate cuts using a ruler and a rotary cutter and construct a simple patchwork. You’ll also learn best practices for sewing straight seams and working with knits.

No matter how many t-shirts you have saved up or how much sewing experience you have you’ll leave this course with the skills you need to create a lifelong keepsake.