Harley Davidson T-Shirt Quilt Update

Happy Birthday to my brother Jim! ♥ ♥  Last year, we made a t-shirt quilt for our friend Pat.  It was comprised of diving t-shirts from all over the world; places she visited and wanted a remembrance of by buying a shirt.  We compiled these together, and when Pat’s friend, Deena, saw it she asked if we would make one for her.  This time, the t-shirts were all Harley Davidson-related and the quilt was to be for her husband, Tim.

T-Shirt Love

Deena gave us about 30 of Tim’s beloved Harley Davidson t-shirts.  They had all been worn before and we could tell some were really a favorite.  All were black, or shades thereof, except for one orange t-shirt.  We knew we wanted to capture all possible parts of that shirt and feature it.  Deena had the shirts so neatly folded that we hated to mess them up or cut into them.  But we had to and we, did!

It was fun for us to see where the shirts were from, like Sturgis, SD that we visited in the summer of 2017.

T-Shirt Step One

Cutting up the shirts is definitely a scary process.  Until you dissect the t-shirt you have no idea how big the block can be or even the size of the quilt.  It’s not like you decide you want a lap size quilt from 12″ blocks so you make 30 of them.  Some shirts may have a 16″ square design while others have a 8″ x 15″ picture with more on the sleeve, back and/or pocket. 

We cut apart the t-shirt saving as much and as many of the designs as possible.  This time we were striving to have minimal sashing or extraneous fabric on the front other than from the t-shirt material.  Sue spent a lot of time taking measurements and doing math.  Thankfully, she didn’t consult me as we all know that I can confuse the best math person!

T-Shirt Step Two

Once trimmed, Sue records the probable dimensions and labels them with a number.  This system works for us so that we don’t get lost in translation as is want to happen between The Cutting Department and The Sewing Department.  Once all the sizes have been determined and a layout finalized, interfacing is the next step.

T-Shirt Step Three

Harley pieces

Here are several pieces that have been trimmed to size and interfacing has been applied to the wrong side.  These are smaller pieces from pockets and shirt sleeves that we are being combined to match the size of a t-shirt front.  We’ll share more details as this project progresses, including adhering the interfacing, etc.


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16 Responses

  1. Susan says:

    t-shirt quilts are such a fun challenge – you’ve got a great start!

  2. Angie says:

    Truly a labor of love. Does he know about the quilt, or is he just wondering what the heck happened to 30 of his favorite t-shirts?

  3. Jenny Benton says:

    This is going to be a fabulous quilt, and much loved, im sure. Yes, there is a lot of prep involved, but th results are always great. I made my hubby a tee shirt quilt to his 50th birthday and we were both thrilled with the results.

  4. chrisknits says:

    I have refused to do any and all T-shirt quilts requested of me. I just don’t have it in me to go through all that prep. Kudos to you guys for coming back for more insanity!!! LOL

  5. quiltinggail says:

    Great post! I have a bag of t-shirts that are destined for a quilt! It was good to hear your process. However good I am at math, I think I will have to borrow Sue to figure it out for me! 🙂
    Happy Quilting! 🙂

  6. This will be awesome, and they are a lot of work. I have one to do for #1 and only son…but I am afraid one will lead to more. So I am aiming for 2020 on this – either vision or a year to start! The numbering and size is critical and I think I may have done some of it. It will be fun to watch this come together!

  7. Oh goodie! I have not made one of these before and will be paying close attention to your process!

  8. Vicki in MN says:

    Being an original SD person, I was going to correct you also, hehe. Anyways you gals are a well oiled machine, got the process down good;)

  9. Roseanne, I’m loving the orange and black! Thanks for sharing your process — I’ve never made a t shirt quilt. Do you have to do something to stabilize the knit fabrics – I’m assuming that is the interfacing you mention in the post, also do you still use a quarter inch seam?

  10. This is going to be an awesome quilt! I really appreciate you sharing the detailed steps as I may make a t-shirt quilt someday. Have a great day, Mary.

  11. This is going to be a fun quilt, and I’ll bet it’s fun looking at all those different shirts! By the way, Sturgis is in SD, not ND. 🙂

  12. Connie says:

    Loving the look of the Harley quilt!

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