Saturday, April 13, 2019

Waste not, Want Not - Shirt Quilts

For the last year or so, I've been on a bit of a self-imposed fabric buying ban, (with a few exceptions for buying mostly backing fabrics here and there). I mean, it's not like I don't have enough fabric, right? But then again, can you ever have have enough fabric? 

With that second thought looming more prominently in my brain, I decided to allow myself some indulgence, with the caveat that all "new"  fabric would actually be old reclaimed fabric. 


So off to the thrift store I went in search of men's shirts, (which we all know is made from much higher quality fabric then women's clothing, but we will save that discussion for another day).

Here's a pic of some thrifted shirts after dissecting them...

A good seam ripper and a sharp pair of fabric scissors, coupled with a little patience, is the key!

And look at all that nice fabric! We've got cottons and linen. 
Shot cottons and chambrays. Stripes and ginghams, too!

And here's what I've made so far...

Shirt Quilt # 1
Cotton and linen
Freehand cut, machine pieced, machine and hand quilted.
19.5" x 14.5"


Shirt Quilt #1 Detail

Shirt Quilt #2
Cotton and linen.
Freehand cut, machine pieced, machine quilted.
29" x 18.5"

                                                                 Shirt Quilt #2 Detail

Freehand cut, machine pieced, machine quilted.
22.5" x 20.5"

Shirt Quilt #3 Detail

Shirt Quilt #4
Freehand cut, machine pieced, machine quilted.
20.5" x 17.5"

Shirt Quilt #4 Detail

Shirt Quilt #5
Cotton and linen
Freehand cut, machine pieced, machine quilted.
33" x 30.5"

Shirt Quilt #5 Detail, front and back

And to end with I shall share a little bit on the making of that last quilt.
I call it...

The Saga of Shirt Quilt #5

Compared to other quilts I've made, there was nothing out of the ordinary nor technically difficult in the making of this piece. However, I have never been so happy to be finished with a quilt, then with this one. Were it not part of this on going Shirt Quilt series, I simply would have named it "Petulance". 

As a general rule, I try to listen to the work and respect where it wishes to go. This usually creates a working harmony and respect between myself and the piece. This quilt however, WHINED its desires and when I did as it requested, it threw its head back laughing, as it waved a five finger salute at me. Every. Single. Time. 

 The one and only thing that seemed to make it play nicer in the sandbox with me was if we listened to Johnny Cash, specifically the songs from his American Recordings and American IV albums. The quilt still stuck its tongue out at me, but at least it stopped throwing sand in my eyes and hitting me over the head with its bucket. 

The only reason I didn't walk away was to show it that I am just as stubborn!



Ziggyseamstress said...

Hi, I'm a new subscriber and wasn't too sure what I'd find here. I am blown away! I, too, buy my fabrics at thrift stores and I think you have a wonderful eye for color. I'm not much for quiltmaking, myself (I'm more of a bag and clothing gal). But I very much appreciate the skill and talent.
Beautiful work!

Ziggyseamstress said...

Sorry, I'm not sure how this blog site works so I didn't post my name correctly. It's Jan, a.k.a. ziggyseamstress.

lorrwill said...

You so are creative and prolific! I love the saga of quilt 5, but quilt 4 is my favorite because it has (to my eye) both pi and overflow symbols. :-)

EYSchmitt said...

I love these shirt quilts.....especially the first four! I'm glad though that you persevered to corral #5 into shape...sometimes you have to show the fabric that you are the boss! These quilts are inspirational and make me want to run to my scraps box. Thank you for sharing these.

mamifleur said...

j'adore ! j'aime les quilts avec de vieilles chemises !

christine said...

Inspiring!! And beautiful. Good to be stubborn (sometimes).

Gina said...

These are fabulous! I have long collected my husband’s old shirts (and silk ties) with a thought that they might end up as a quilt one day. You have inspired me!

CraftyBeth said...

Victoria, these are gorgeous and real works of art. You are so talented and you began my morning with inspiration for what to do with some old linen clothes of my own that I keep hanging on to (they're unwearable due to holes where I've work them out!).
Thanks for your inspiration.

Diane J. Evans said...

So when I started reading this post, I figured you'd be showing us one beautiful quilt you had created. But of course! You've created not one, but five master works. My goodness, Victoria -- you even used seam rippers on the shirts -- I would have simply cut them apart and been ready to sew. You have the patience of a true artist. And I know EXACTLY what you mean about #5 -- I've had quilts do that to me, and it's not nice, not one bit. We deserve more respect than that from our offspring.

A beautiful accomplishment.


The Inside Stori said...

Mind blowing accomplishments….as always you set the bar at the highest level…….

Nifty Quilts said...

I LOVE this series! There's something so good about working with old shirts and their soft, worn ways. Love the designs, the textures and the colors.

Gayle from MI said...

These are all great! Glad you decided to get some new to you reclaimed fabric.

Margo said...

I resist buying new fabric, too, although I will see what's lurking in the thrift stores besides shirts. I call what I find "found fabric" :)

Your quilts are so appealing in color and texture - I'm especially taken with the quilting on the first one, the little polka dots of handquilting between the machine quilted lines. I would like to up my machine quilting game - I need to check through your previous posts and see what your process is. I love your results!

Victoria said...

Thanks to each of you for your very kind comments. They are all very much appreciated!

Margo, just to let you know, when I combine hand and machine quilting I generally machine quilt first, then go back in and work a row of hand quilting in between the rows of machine stitching. For hand quilting I like to use 12 wt thread, (Sulky brand makes lots of beautiful colors in both plain and variegated) and I use a John James Straw needle size 9. It's longer then a traditional quilting between needle so easier to use in my opinion, and it's nice and thin yet the eye can accommodate the 12 wt thread. Hope that info helps a bit.

JeanneMc said...

I'm constantly blown away by your work, and this is no exception. So inspiring! I've thrifted some men's shirts for this very purpose but so far I haven't attempted to use them for anything. Now I have a mission to make something from them.