Harley Happening T-Shirt Finished

The Harley Davidson t-shirt quilt we are making for Deena is complete!  It is actually a surprise for her husband, Tim.  Our friend, Pat, referred Deena to us.  Last year, we made our first t-shirt quilt which was comprised of diving t-shirts from all over the world.  The t-shirts were from places Pat visited and wanted a remembrance of by buying a shirt.  We shared the beginning process for this t-shirt quilt in this Harley Davidson T-Shirt Quilt Update post.  Here is a continuation of the steps.

Harley T-Shirt Interfacing

Interfacing the t-shirts is a necessary step to ensure that they do not stretch.  The step itself is rather simple – just follow the instructions provided with the interfacing.  We chose to use the June Taylor brand t-shirt interfacing because we’ve used it successfully in the past.

Sue trimmed the interfacing to the correct size and then damp-pressed it onto the back of the t-shirt.  Pressing, rather than ironing, is essential with a damp cloth is essential to get good adherence.

Harley Layout

We were able to trim many of the t-shirts to a common size.  If you were to look closely, the t-shirts in the center column are slightly more narrow.  We tried out a layout on the living room floor as the pieces are too big and heavy for the design wall.  As you can easily see, I couldn’t get all of them into the picture.

Harley draft layout

This was one layout but I don’t believe it is the final one.  After a few adjustments were made, we picked up each of the five rows and added a row label to keep them straight. 

Harley Sewing

You will see in the layout photo above that we put a few smaller designs together for the center block.  They came from the sleeve, pocket or back from the only non-black t-shirt.

You can see in the left photo that I used mostly a quarter inch seam allowance.  I also pressed the seams open throughout the quilt to decrease the bulk where block seams met as much as possible.  You can also see the interfacing and how light/see-through it is.  The lighter the better because the weight of the t-shirts increases quickly.

Harley piecing block.JPG

Here’s that cool center block in the process of being pieced.  As the centerpiece, it determined the size of that slightly more narrow third column and t-shirts were selected to fill the other four rows.  The next step was to sew the rows individually together and then stitch the rows into a complete t-shirt top. 

Harley quilt top

It really had some weight to it by now and it was huge.  It measured 75″ by 91″.  We layered it on our kitchen island although it hung off of all four sides.  We had a nice 108″ wide backing in black marbled-type fabric that was perfect for this project.  A 100% cotton batting was added for the usual quilty squishiness.  Pins held all three layers together, although they were used rather sparingly.  I knew a crosshatch quilting design was in the near future so we added the tape for the first quilting row at this time.

Harley layered

Harley Davidson Quilting

Finally, it was time to start quilting this Harley Davidson masterpiece.  As I mentioned above, we layered it on the kitchen island.  We had to put the guiding masking tape on in two separate pieces because it was too difficult to see both corners at one time.

The guide for my walking foot is called upon once I stitch next to the masking tape for the first row.  I won’t lie – it’s a heavy and warm quilt to guide through my domestic sewing machine.  Each pass gets easier and easier though because you’re working toward the smaller corners.  Also, the weight of the quilt stays on the quilting table rather than on my lap.  Once the first half is finished, we mark it with tape again in the opposite direction.  The second half of the quilting goes much quicker since there are no pins to remove.

Harley Ta-Da!

I had a photo shoot all planned in my head for this fabulous quilt.  The Harley Davidson Museum is nearby in Milwaukee and I pictured this quilt draped over a badass Hog.  That was before it ended up being 73″ x 86″ after being washed and dried at the laundromat.  It was just too darn big for our washing machine at home so we took it to a heavy-duty one!

I didn’t have the heart to have this laying on or touching the ground.  I think this quilt is big enough to completely cover a Harley as if it were a tarp.  Alas, the Harley Museum didn’t happen.  Instead, I popped it on my queen-size bed (over Postcard peeking out underneath) and took these photos.  I’m hoping to someday have a picture of Tim with his quilt to share!

And Finally . . .

This project is our July one monthly goal (OMG), so we will be sharing it on Patty’s Elm Street Quilts website linkup as a successful finish.  I’ll also share on Myra’s Busy Hands Quilts and Michelle’s From Bolt to Beauty Friday link ups.


Our other Linky Parties can be found by clicking the link above or along the sidebar on our website for more quilting fun – check out what our friends are up to.  Like/follow us on our Facebook page and you can share your photos of what you’re working on.  We would love to see them!


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24 Responses

  1. Angie says:

    Roseanne – so excited to see the finished quilt! Fabulous! I love orange and black, so this is right up my alley even though I have never been on a motorcycle!

  2. Patty says:

    How awesome!! Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and congrats on your finish.

  3. dezertsuz says:

    Wow, good for you! That was a big, hard, unwieldy project that turned out absolutely stunning. What a lucky man he is!

  4. Connie says:

    I LOVE THAT QUILT!! Excellent!

  5. Melanie says:

    Thanks for the instructions. And congratulatons for this beautiful finish! enjoy xo Melanie

  6. Kathryn says:

    The quilt is amazing. Turned out so well. He will love it I bet. I can appreciate how heavy it was to put through the sewing machine to cross hatch. I am doing a slightly smaller one (cross hatch) with a fleece on the back and I am surprised at how heavy it is to do. Oh well, all for love! Great finish.

  7. chrisknits says:

    When I get home I have to decide if I am facing or binding my July OMG. The quilting is done, I just need to see if they fabric I bought here in Florida is the right color for the binding. If not, I will just face it with the backing fabric. Glad you got the Harley quilt done!!

  8. Barbara Esposito, The Quilted B says:

    Whew! Absolutely amazing. Every thing about this is absolutely amazing! I made a few tshirt quilts before I knew any better (I had no idea that interfacing existed never mind using it to stabilize the shirts, and so to this day I just get a bit queasy just at the mention of a Tshirt quilt!) You totally knocked this out of the park. Too bad you couldn’t get a picture with a badass Hog :0) Quick question: How did you press the seams open and not scorch the interfacing? Thanks for the share – it really is amazing!

  9. quiltinggail says:

    Hi Roseanne!
    Thank you SEW much for your detailed tutorial of the making of the Harley quilt. I have a bag of t-shirts that I need to make into a quilt … your tutorial is inspiring! Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get the quilt started!
    Happy Quilting! 🙂

  10. Dawn Tornes says:

    Roseanne, that is a striking T-shirt quilt! The color contrast are so bold! Someone is going to love this quilt!

  11. Rochelle Summers says:

    Congratulations on meeting the OMG for July. This is one awesome quilt and I’m sure Tim will love it. I think it deserves some kind of a reward…ice cream, a trip to a quilt store, a dip in the pool. You name it!

  12. Danette says:

    So awesome! I have made 1 tshirt quilt and not sure if or when I will make another. I sewed mine very similar to the way you described yours, although I followed a pattern. Some of my shirts were so small, I had to piece 2 of them together for a block. Your Harley Davidson quilt is wonderful!

  13. Shannon Fleming says:

    That looks wonderful! I know how much work a t-shirt quilt can be. Lots of love in this one.

  14. Wow, what a quilt!!! The size and logistics! It came out beautiful! Kudos for quilting it on your home machine, crosshatching, no less! Interesting to read that June Taylor has interfacing specifically for t-shirts.

  15. T-shirt quilts are one of those types of quilts that non-quilters come up to us quilters and say casually, ‘hey I have these t-shirts…could you…”
    And in reality they are one of the hardest to execute…this one has got to be the biggest success story on the art of the entire process of creating a quilt from t-shirts I’ve ever seen. From the prep of the shirts to the size of the blocks – fast forward to the quilting for goodness’ sake!
    Very impressive and labor intensive – I’m thinking this was a labor of love and not to be done again anytime soon?!
    Brava, girls!

  16. Yay! You got it done, and it looks great! On our recent Door County trip, we could’ve chosen to stay in the Harley Davidson room. We should’ve, just to tip a nod to your working on this quilt. Love the Harley museum in Milwaukee. I’ll send you a picture via email that you’ll get a kick out of.

  17. WOW — this quilt is definitely a masterpiece! I’m sure Tim & Deena will treasure this beauty for years to come!

  18. Lisa J. says:

    This is such an awesome quilt. I have been asked to make a T shirt quilt in the future so if I need help I’m coming to you!

  19. Vicki in MN says:

    I seriously can’t believe you quilted that on your DSM, very nicely done and her DH will love it. Ahhhh, I hear your sign of relief!

  20. This is a great quilt. The hatching is fun and so right about it getting easier as you go. I do have one in progress but no plans to get back to it – number one’s (only really) t-shirts.

  21. Wow, I’ve never tackled a t-shirt quilt. (Honestly, cutting into someone’s cherished tees seems stressful to me.) This one turned out brilliantly, and I’m impressed that you quilted it yourself because, let’s face it, it was a beast!

  22. How wonderful did this turn out?! What a wonderful way to keep all those shirts and have a really useful and special quilt. Great job, it is truly a masterpiece.

  23. Laura says:

    The Harley quilt is an awesome keepsake! 🙂

  24. Oh my goodness, Roseanne and Sue, this quilt is spectacular! I loved reading about all the steps involved. I will definitely be saving this post in case I ever make a t-shirt quilt. Awesome job! And by the way, do you have A/C now? Have a great day! Mary

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