Monday, May 3, 2021

My Dad's Tees

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.... Just a quick note that I am back to .com.  Sorry for all the mess this may have created. I found that many of my old posts, such as tutorials, yoga Sunday Stretches, and some of the Gallery would either give me a 'site is not secure' or 'Safari can't find the site' or it would just bounce you to the home page, most frustrating. All hopefully will be fine with you; one thing you can do is clear your history and cookies or just restart your computer too, and it should find as it did up until the past two weeks!

I got a stack of t-shirts at the end of last summer to make a t-shirt quilt for my grandson Brady. His Grandma Hague had given a bunch of t-shirts to Brianne that had belonged to Tim, Brady's dad. They went through them and chose the ones to include in a quilt. Some he elected to keep for himself to wear, awww.

I hadn't made a t-shirt quilt before, and I admit, I had a little trepidation.

At first, with only ten t-shirt fronts and backs, I didn't think I'd have enough for a decent-sized quilt. I was going to make some extra blocks for a three by four layout, but then started doing the math and realized with sashing and borders I'd have a fine size of a quilt!
Was it ever windy Sunday morning but a mild enough temperature that I could  do some 'earthing' and walk barefoot in the sand after taking the photos. I had the beach to myself for most of my walk ðŸ˜Ž

I was thinking of a black or navy for the sashing, but when I looked through my yardage of blacks, I spied this math fabric I've had for a few years, with a quilt for Brady in mind, and I thought it would be perfect. Brady excels in math, and Tim was a teacher, so win-win.

As with most new things, the biggest hurdle is just getting started. I followed Sarah's very helpful tutorial at Confessions of A Fabric Addict which includes great tips and advice. As she says, the biggest and most time-consuming part is cutting apart the t-shirts and applying the interfacing to the backs of them.
Silva was Tim's favourite Brazilian mixed martial artist. This shirt was 19" long, so it dictated the layout.

The white t-shirt in the photo below that has Empire Clothing and Coleman Heating on it also has Tim's own logo, a stylized TH, over the upper left chest. It stumped me for a bit as to how to incorporate it, since I'd lose it by cutting a 15" square as I had for the other shirts, but I didn't want to have it get lost if I used it as a 4" square in a border... When I hit upon the idea of maybe including the neck part and putting some of the extra fabric behind it, I knew that this was perfect, a tactile 'this was around my dad's neck' touch.

As for the backing, I'd bought a 4-yard chunk of Windham Fabrics gorgeous flannel at Alma Sue's in Sarasota FL, on one of our trips, knowing it would go onto the back of a future quilt for Brady. This was that quilt. It's perfect. So snuggly. 

It is the coolest plaid: at first it appears to be just two greens and then you realize there's a purple/navy strip, and then you see a third lime green... You can see that I incorporated the other half of the Empire Clothing/Coleman Heating shirt on the back. Underneath it is another chest logo that was too important not to have in the quilt, an Alberta Powerlifting Union Provincial Championships crest.

That's the place where a little drama with the quilting occurred.

I had loaded the quilt top to bottom, and then realized I had a long vertical seam down the back, so took it off and loaded it sideways, so that the seam was parallel to the roller bars. Well, I should have loaded it with the right side of the backing at the top instead of the left side flannel edge, so that I'd be sure that the powerlifting logo wouldn't get cut off. This meant that when I got to the last two blocks in the final row of the quilt, the top was about 3" up from the lower edge, and I would end up cutting off part of that powerlifting logo... nooooo. What to do...

I realized I could rip the powerlifting rectangle out, move it more toward the quilt centre, by cutting off 3 or 4" off the left side and then sew a piece of flannel to the right side of it. But I'd have to take the quilt off the longarm and then finish that final corner on my Bernina. Argh!!

However, I did it; Brady and Tim are worth it. I think it took me almost as long to do the ripping, resewing and inserting, and then quilting on that corner as it did to quilt the entire rest of the quilt! And that is what prevented me from finishing it ON April 30. Ah well, it was done the morning of May 1. All good. I'm counting it as my April finish for my PHD!

Here is the label:

I bound it with a rich marbley kind of fabric called Handspray by RJR Fabrics. I even remembered to add my satin label and another satin tag off the Silva shirt.

As I wrote on Instagram, I only wish I could give it to Brady in person. I plan to send it so he can open it on Father's Day. 😍

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  basic t-shirt quilt layout
Size:  51.5 x 60"
Fabric: T-shirts, Bear Country School by The Berenstain Bears for Moda
Backing:  Flannel Elements by Windham Fabrics
Batting: Warm & Natural 100% cotton
Quilted: mostly on Avril 35 241 stitches; finished lower corner on my Bernina
Threads: pieced Madeira polyester; quilted with Essential 100% cotton in Stone, Superior's The Bottom Line in the bobbin

Here is my PHD progress charts for April. Three starts in April, all three completed (and gifted). One of the eight USOs that is now a finish, and feels so good!

I'll be back tomorrow with the next step of the FYOP Follow Your Own Path QAL.


  1. The hardest part of any T-shirt quilt is definitely preparing the T-shirts. This one definitely packs a punch of lots of important details, and I know Brady is going to adore it and be so grateful that you made it for him.

  2. Hard work, but beautiful result. Your T-shirt quilt is fabulous

  3. You have done a great job. Tee shirt quilts certainly take a lot of planning and preparation but well worth the effort. Especially as in this case, they are a memory quilt honoring Brady's dad. I have made a couple of these myself, the saddest being when my grand daughters boyfriend died at 21, just before they got engaged. I offered to make her a memory quilt and there were so many items in the bag that I could make one for Geoffrey's mum as well

  4. It's beautiful. You did a great job. Brady will love it.

  5. I am sure Brady will treasure it.

  6. What a lovely memory quilt for Brady! Sending things in the mail isn't the same as face to face, but I know he will love and cherish it! Getting those shirts cut and ready to incorporate into a quilt takes a lot of planning.

  7. what kind of pen do you write with on your labels?

    1. Hi Susan, hope you see this as you are a no-reply so I don't have any way to contact you. The one I used here is a Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric. You can get it on Amazon. I also have used with great success Sakura Pigma Micron and they are archival. And I have used a Sharpie! Here is a great article about all three, and some test results:

  8. My goodness, you have been busy & such a lovely memory quilt for young Brady. Well done on all your finishes etc., way more than I ever achieve. This is a bit late as your blog wasn't coming up on my sidebar, but I fixed it my own way & now read that it was a problem & not my old laptop. Thanks. Take care & hugs.

  9. You did a fabulous job, Sandra! You threw your heart and soul into this quilt, and it shows.

  10. It seems daunting to work with t-shirt! So many things to consider! I love that you incorporated the neckline, to ensure no precious logo. I am sure Brady will love it.

  11. Impressive fix! I love what you did and what a treasure for Brady! I have been knee deep in blocks and being in Boston so I am a week behind. So strange nothing written in my calendar since what I put in last Sunday...I use it to write my to dos for the week. Gotta get back int the saddle.

  12. What a heart-filled gift! Thank God for all the wonderful tutorials out there! I'm sure this will be treasured for years to come!

  13. You’ve inspired me! I have tee shirts I’ve been hoarding!
    This is a wonderful gift you made for Brady. I enjoyed the bit of backstory on the tee shirts. They are so personal,Thanks for sharing!