People underestimate the time it takes to make a t-shirt quilt. There's a lot of cutting, interfacing and squaring up to be done. Not to mention the color coordination issue that goes along with t-shirts. I had everything from neon orange, forest green, tie-dye and purple to contend with and make coordinate.
I actually like that kind of challenge, it really gets the brain and creativity flowing. I decided that using a ton of different fabrics was the best way to make all the different shirts play nicely together. I also decided that outlining each shirt in grey would unify them nicely and make them coordinate w/the other fabrics more easily.
Then Michelle and I traded emails about the other blocks and came up with the the design for the other front blocks, inspired by this quilt by Hyacinth Quilt Designs. I liked the way the grey kind of ties the blocks together and moves your eyes around the quilt. For the back, I decided to do a simple pieced sash of 2" finished squares between the shirts.
I was only going to use the front of the dance recital shirts, but DiscoJen pointed out that the names of the cast are on the back, and that's the most important part, remembering the people who were there with you. I ended up with 30 shirts on the back and 20 on the front. It was HUGE by the time is was done, I would say it's a large queen sized quilt.
The front and back:
The back had an oh 'insert cursing here' moment, or if you prefer the glass half full 'there's no mistakes only design opportunities' moment. I had bordered all 30 blocks in the grey, and was all in a tizzy to attach the pieced sashing to see how it looked and it didn't fit!!!!
By a simple math error I had made the blocks 13" not the required 14"!!! ARRRGGHHHH!!! I then bordered them all in white too! I was really unmotivated by the time I was 1/4 of the way through the bordering a second time. I was taking no chances, I made them larger than necessary and then cut them all down to 14".
I worked some of the smaller t-shirt elements into the pieced borders:
And added a bit of fancier quilting to the blocks that had fewer motifs:
I have to say, pinning it was THE WORST!!! I literally used every single pin I had, and that's saying something. The quilt weighed a ton by the time it was finished being pinned. And yes, it had to be pinned, not long armed, because I had to perfectly line up the front and the back so the shirts would all be straight on both sides. Note to self, don't ever do a two sided tshirt quilt again!Lining up the front and back took quite some time and patience. Lots and lots of patience. The backing was 119"x99"!!
This is what makes all the effort and time worth it: