last month when i made my tenn tshirt quilt i took some pictures for a quick "how-to-prepare-the-tshirts-for-a-quilt" tute...it's a simplier version of my post from way back in june 2009...i've made a few, and LAed a bunch and have seen what works and what don't....
first, you'll need some fusible stabilizer. i use a woven one that is availble at JoAnn's.
you'll want to wash and dry all the tshirts in hot water with NO fabric softner or dryer sheet. they leave a coating on the fibers of the shirt that will not allow the fusible to stick.
i decided to trim all my shirts to 12.5. i had one or two shirts that the logo was 'cut off' and went all the way the the edges. i'm okay with that.
for the smaller designs, i tried centering best i could.
the reasoning- knit is stretchy and it's like trying to catch a greased pig. by cutting the fusible bigger, them trimming to size it assures that the tshirt block will be nice and square. it makes it SO much easier to sew into the quilt. i DO NOT reccomend trimming the shirt, then trying to fuse fusible to the back.
if your thsirt had a design on the back and front, you can use both. if you have logos on the front left chest of the shirt, fuse them just like if they were bigger. you can sew them together to make a bigger block. i use the small chest logos in the borders...
allow the fused shirt to cool. i fuse another while i wait. flip the shirt over, move it to your cutting mat, and trim to your predetermined size. at this point i go back to the ironing board and gently repress the freshly cut edges to double check that all the edges have been fully fused and are stuck.
now you have tshirts that are ready to be sewn into a wonderful quilt. think of the shirts as blocks-you can sew borders to each shirt in fabric that coordinate to the color of the design (like i did) , then sew a simple sash and cornerstone. or you can get more creative- you are only limited by your imagination. i like to keep my designs simple to showcase the shirts....
some think it's alot of work, but i think it's a great payoff for all the effort. it's a scrap book you can sleep under! :) plus, you never have to turn your favorite (ratty) tshirts into dust cloths!
couple of things- i do not reccomend using sports jerseys with the stacked numbers, sweat shirts, or knitted sweaters in tshirt quilts....i would suggest turning these items into a pillow.