Thursday, August 25, 2011

A disillusioned creative monster (part 2)

As I said in my previous post, I'm so stinkin' excited about my new little blanket. It's so cozy. Now I'm gonna break it down for you and give you sort of a play-by-play. This is by no means a "tutorial"...that would seriously be a laugh for anyone to take sewing lessons from me! I just wanna document what I did on my project. This is only the second quilt I've done in my life, and the first was about 6 or 7 years ago when I went out and bought this pre-packaged quilt for a little girl just cause I wanted to. A few weeks later we found out that my sis-in-law was pregnant, and then some months after we found out it was a girl! (I wonder if that could count as God ordering my steps?) I made her a sweet little baby quilt and had it monogrammed. But anyone can do that packaged stuff, right? 

This was a bit more tedious than the straight-edged, easy peasy of back in the day. So I'll just start from the beginning. 

I started with a generous stack of old, sentimental t-shirts.

 At first I was going to simply cut all of designs out, but then I decided I might need more fabric here and there, or I might want to do kind of a straighter-edged, easier-to-sew, type quilt. So I made this for a template to cut the shirts. Basically just find a stiff cardboard material that works for the size you want and go with it. This is a boutique style picture package from Carson's 1 year pictures, and it was the perfect size for all my shirt designs. Shout out to All Heart Photography! I just shoved this in each shirt and cut around pinning or anything, just a simple guide is all this was.

 More shirts.

After I cut them all out, I pieced together a puzzle. It only took me 2 first I put them all down using the entire cut section in a straight edge style design. I quickly decided that it did not fit the look I was going for. So then I came up with this. I put my favorite shirt down and built around it. (My favorite, if you were wondering, is the green "redheads have more fun" shirt in the top-ish center area. See it? I was wearing it when I met my husband!)

I don't have pics of the next few things I did, but pinning and sewing this beast was a bit of a challenge. I just took it one scrap at a time, since there's no rhyme or reason to the puzzle, and sewed the pieces together. In the beginning I was going to pin it all together and then try to sew it all at once. I made it about half way down that first row before I realized that was NOT going to work. So I'd pin a few pieces together at a time and then sew it. After sewing an individual section, I put the puzzle completely back together...I'm so glad I did this because when you're a novice on the machine, no line is ever straight and most don't fall exactly where you want them to. So the quilt changed a good bit from beginning to end.

 All the scraps, saving those for a future project. Pinterest has tons of cool ideas for using old t-shirt scraps.

 Next I cut out all of the front sayings from the shirts. I only kept the ones that didn't have dates and other important info on the back of the shirt. But I did cut them all out just to have them in case. I used them to cover holes and corners that I wasn't quite sure how to stitch together.

See the hole that's covered up there? Also, I used Heat 'n Bond interfacing stuff (can't remember the technical name, but it's NOT the one that irons it down to both sides, only one side.) I cut it very close to the design so that when I hand stitched the piece on, the edges would still curl up. I wanted an unfinished look on these, but didn't want to run the risk that later on down the road they would unravel completely.

Then I used an embroidery thread and a simple hand stitch to put them on. After stitching I cut off the excess. Some may say I did this backwards, that I should have cut it first and then sewed it on. But I did it this way so that I could give each one a little bit different look. Plus I didn't know exactly how much I'd need or have the confidence to sew a straight enough line. 

 Showing the back where the piece is hand stitched on.

And here are all of my t-shirts, sewn together at last. Sewing the big picture really only took about 2 nights of interupted work. So it didn't really take that long at all. I was kinda shocked. And I did all of the hand stitching in one night while watching a movie with Marc. 

 I did throw a few of Marc's shirts in there as well. The glove is covering up a BIG hole!

 A few more stitched fronts..

And the back.  Note that before I stitched the front patches on, I went through and trimmed up all of the sewn edges and the ironed the entire thing. Made a big difference.

See all the holes? I told you it was highly imperfect. 

And here's the finished product! I went to JoAnn's fabric store and took the quilt with me. Originally I was going to get thin batting for the middle, but after laying under just the t-shirts a few times, I knew it would be way too hot. But I knew I wanted a super soft fabric, so I picked out a few different ones and the chick working in the store was a big help in deciding that a simple black was the perfect choice. She really like the quilt, but laughed when she measured to find that all four sides were a different measurement! Imperfection at its finest, folks. 
She ended up cutting me a 2 yard section. I got home, laid it on the floor, picked the "right" side and placed it face down. Most of the time when you make a quilt, you put your right sides together, sew it all up, then turn it right side out. But I wanted a border, so I didn't have to do any of that nonsense! Yay! I just laid the black fabric down, the quilt on top, and started folding in and pinning the edges. I didn't even cut off the excess's just all tucked inside the border. And no measuring, so the border is certainly uneven in spots, but that doesn't really bother me. (Mom, just look away. lol)

 Closer up of the border.

 Showing the back.

You KNOW it's soft when you touch it and leave a handprint! 

Would you believe that I used white thread to sew the black material? I didn't have black thread, so the lazy side of me thought it would just be an awesome look to have the white, double-stitched border. But as I began to sew the thread just disappeared. I had to check to make sure I was even getting it stitched! 

Well, that's it guys. I hope you enjoyed my little creation as much as I enjoyed making it. I'll give y'all some Carson updates soon, but for now I'm sleepy. Gonna cozy up under a soft, warm blanket and veg out. Happy crafting!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A disillusioned creative monster

Well, it's been a long time....where have I been? When we weren't on vacation to San Antonio or chasing a toddler, I've been pinning things. "Pinning things, really?" you may be asking yourself. Yes, if you haven't checked out Pinterest, you should. Er -- maybe you shouldn't if you tend to have an addictive/procrasinative (don't think that's a word, but go with me here) personality, like myself. So yeah, check me out on Pinterest if you don't like going to bed til 2 in the a.m. like me. By using this site, I have disillusioned myself to believe that I'm a crafty, domestic goddess, if you will. I could really write a whole post on my love/hate relationship with Pinterest, but not today.

Today, I'm gonna tell you how I've channeled my inner-creative side to create a quilt. I give credit for the ambition to Pinterest -- although I didn't find this idea on the site, a dear friend had one of these made and I wanted one -- but Pinterest made me feel like I had the skills to accomplish such a task.

When we returned from San Antonio with (practically) a new wardrobe from all the shopping we did, Marc and I decided to clean out the closet. I have all these t-shirts from college that I can't fit into, but they have so many memories associated with them, so I've kept hanging onto them. We got home on a Saturday (one and a half weeks ago to be exact) and on Sunday I had my stack of t-shirts on the couch with a pair of scissors in hand. I was using them to make a quilt.

**I can see this post is getting pretty long, so I'm going to break it up into two posts for your reading enjoyment. :) Aren't I a jewel? Haha...moving on.**

Before moving on to the pictures post, let me tell you a few things about this quilt.
  1. I have very little real sewing ability, although I know the basics of a sewing machine and how to work it, thanks to my dear college professor, Mrs. Dianne Murphree (shout outs for awesome teachers!) which means if you want one, I'm positive you can do it too!
  2. I didn't follow a set pattern or have any instructions, and therefore this blanket is far from perfect...don't look too closely. 
  3. Each and every shirt I used has a memory attached with it, and most of the shirts are attached to one (or several) person(s), which has made this project extra special. 
  4. I'm super excited and kinda proud of my little creation, so if you hate it or know of ways to improve it, please don't burst my bubble. :)
Here's a sneak peek:  

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