It would be nice if all the fabric pieces were the same size, but if they were, quilting would become boring and predictable. That is why t-shirt quilts are so enjoyable. They are not boring and they are not predictable. You will have to do some creative work to make the columns match.
One of the ways to make your t-shirt quilt look good is to cut the different t-shirts into different smaller pieces. Then arrange those pieces until you get a design you like and all the widths match up. This option will help your creative juices come up with a grand design.
To learn more about t-shirt quilts and the different ways to align the blocks just continue to read our article. It has the information you need in order to cut the frustration level down and get more enjoyment out of your quilting project.
It is not hard to make a quilt using different-sized blocks. You can do a map of the United States with each individual state using different sized blocks. All it takes is a little ingenuity and a lot of patience.
One of the keys to doing this is to be patient and have lots of patience as each block is going to bring its own set of challenges. The next key is to be organized. Make sure you know which colors you want where, and also put different sized blocks in their own groups so that they are easily reached.
That organization will save on time and hopefully cut down on frustration as you mix and match the different sizes of blocks. As long as you get the blocks arranged where the columns are the same size, you should be good to go.
Also, you do not have to have every column the same as all the rest. You can make some thinner, some thicker, as long as each column is the same size from top to bottom. That may take a little time as well as some practice to get it just right.
The organization is going to be the key as you will be able to sew several smaller blocks together to match up with a larger block in the same column. Part of that organization is knowing where you want to be when you are done.
That means that the first step will be to draw out a plan on how your quilt will look. You can use your drawing aids on your computer or do it the old-fashioned way and use a pencil and a piece of paper.
Then you can make the smaller blocks the same length as the bigger blocks. Not the same width, just the same length. For example, if one block is 20 inches long, you can sew 4 5” blocks together to match that length.
If you have a very large block in your pattern, you can sew together enough blocks to match the length and the width of that larger block. In that sewing smaller blocks together, you can create the design you envisioned when you first starting working on this project.
You may find that using smaller blocks will give you more flexibility in creative design as well as practical sewing.
Having irregular shapes in your fabric stash is not necessarily a bad thing. Those odd-shaped pieces can be an inspiration for your next quilting design. One style you can use in irregular quilt block pieces is to use the V style.
This is a simple design pattern that helps you shape those irregular blocks into a nice-looking pattern. Then the color of some of those V shapes can be used to define mountains from a night sky.
Or you can use mathematical to create a simple design using different colored fabrics to fill in the gaps in the blocks. These efforts take a little work but in the end, they do pay off with a nice design on your quilt.
Some irregular-shaped blocks can be turned into decorative stars to give a night scene more elegance. Again, this will take some work on your part to get those starts just right but keep in mind you can cut those irregular pieces to fit the design you want.
Or you can use those irregular quilt blocks to create your own unique design that any visitor will not find anywhere else. These irregular block pieces are more of a challenge to get you to think and act creatively and are not a problem to be tossed away.
The internet is filled with websites that have quilt patterns. While the majority of these patterns talk about using the same block size for every square, there is no law saying you can’t make adaptions.
If you have a 20-inch block and a bunch of 5-inch pieces, there is nothing wrong with attaching those smaller blocks together and make one 20 inch block. Or you can make different cuts to make your design more attractive and unique.
In this case, here is a website that gives you 8 different ways to cut a 10-inch block. Then as you scroll down, you will see a picture of a quilt that has 10-inch blocks cut into little strips.
What this means is that you do not have to spend a lot of time looking for unique quilt patterns that use different-sized blocks. You simply find a pattern you like and adapt it to your needs and material shapes.
Another example is cutting the 10-inch squares into 4 triangles and sewing the triangles back together to make a unique look. This way you can mix and match different colors and designs.
The same advice in the previous section holds true for this quilt option. You have the freedom to design your t-shirt quilt in any way that looks decent and attractive. Plus, you can use different-sized blocks to do it.
This website has 10 examples of t-shirt quilts that you can copy the design. If you scroll down, you will see an example of one option with a border and a piano key design inside that border along with different sized blocks.
You will notice that the designer did not keep the blocks the same width or length in each column and you are free to do that if it works. The same goes for the high school or college quilt in the picture underneath the travel photo.
Notice how the blocks are arranged so that they all fit together and create a unique design. The thing about t-shirt quilts is that they should have different-sized blocks throughout the pattern. They should be different shapes as well.
The key to making it all work well is to arrange them in the right order. The link we provided above has additional links with instructions to help you design and create a similar quilt.
Some quilters don't like to do the math. Unfortunately, if you are going to change the size of a quilting block, you need to do the math to get the size change right. The good news here is that doing the math and making the size change is a lot easier than it looks.
The first step in this process is to determine how big the new size is going to be. Square blocks are the easiest to resize especially if you are going larger. Just add some inches to the total and make sure you add in the seam allowance. That seam allowance should always be 1/4 of an inch.
Rectangular blocks are also easy to re-size as again you just need to add a little fabric, or take some away, to fit the size you want. With this re-sizing attempt, you need to make sure you add an extra 1/2 inch to all dimensions to cover all sides for the seam allowance.
For a half-square triangle block, the extra measurement is 7/8ths of an inch. So if you want a 6-inch size you need to cut the material at 6 7/8ths. Re-sizing the block is only a matter of cutting and remeasuring the fabric to the size you want.
One of the most important benefits you get when you decide to make a t-shirt quilt is that you get to revisit fond memories of romantic encounters, fun escapades at the beach, or even a trip to one of your favorite cities.
Also, you can be reminded of those wonderful days when your kids were little. Another benefit is that the new quilt will always have sentimental as well as practical value. Every time it is used, you can think back to those days of your youth or early married years.
Tip 1: T-shirt material is usually a knit fabric that is usually flexible and stretchy. It also may not be in top condition anymore. That is why you should use a fusible, non-woven interface to stop the stretching, curling, and flexibility.
Tip 2: Use a lightweight fusible interface material. This lighter weight will not add a lot of weight to the quilt plus it will help keep blocks nice and smooth. The lightweight interface will also stop your blocks from stretching out of shape.
Tip 3: The amount of interfacing you will use depends on the size of the t-shirts you are turning into a quilt. generally, you should be able to stabilize 4 to 8 t-shirts per yard of interfacing.
Tip 4: Heavier weight t-shirt material usually won’t need any interfacing or very little. But the light to medium weight knits will still be too flexible and stretchy to use without interface. Make sure to cut a piece and add a little interface first to see how it will work out in the real project.
Tip 5: Because your t-shirt quilt will be unique to you and your family, take your time and plan out the design carefully. Make sure you sketch how you want the layout to look to help guide your work.
Tip 6: Decision-making is not always easy but in the layout phase you do need to make some decisions. Ask yourself ‘do you want a uniform look or off-kilter design?’ Or “what size blocks would be best?” You can mix and match block sizes, designs, colors, and shapes and all these decisions should be made before you get started.
Tip 7: Be flexible and creative. You can use diverse groups of t-shirts to the quilt’s advantage and give it a truly unique look. Don’t forget, you can add your own border style to make the look pop.
Tip 8: Make sure to make a list of supplies and tools you will need before you get started. Having all the items needed to make the quilt on hand at the beginning will save you time later on.
Tip 9: use scissors to cut the sleeves of the t-shirt and the different seams. Then switch to your rotary cutter for the block cutting segment. The blocks need more accurate and precise cuts than the seams and shirts sleeves do.
Making a t-shirt quilt out of older t-shirts is a way to keep your memories alive. Plus, the quilt should keep you or a loved one warm through those cold nights that come from time to time.
A t-shirt quilt is actually killing two birds with one stone and that makes quilting projects more enjoyable. It is also a great gift for loved ones.