Tag Archives: Quilting

T-Shirt Quilt Part One: Preparing Your T-shirt Blocks

Hi and welcome to part one of our T-shirt Quilt Sew Along!

Before we get started, I want to take a moment to go over our quilt’s dimensions.

#1 If you use the recommended 12 blocks that each start out as 15″x15″ squares, and if you use the recommended width of sashing to frame out each of your 12 blocks, (sashing details provided in Part Two of our sew-along)  the finished quilt will be about 54″ wide by 70″ tall.

#2 You are welcome to make your 12 quilt blocks whatever size you prefer, just keep in mind it does affect the finished size of your quilt.

Preparing Your T-shirt Blocks

The first thing you need to do is take a minute to read through this entire post before you cut anything!

For part one of our sew along, you will be cutting out your 12 t-shirt blocks by following the steps below.

  1. The first thing you will do is mark and cut out your 12 squares of light weight fusible stabilizer.  I like to make a 15″x15″ template out of poster board and use this to draw the squares onto my stabilizer.  I know it’s a time eater to do it this way, but it’s the best way I’ve found to not run short on my stabilizer…

    Might be a little difficult to see, but I used red marker to draw 12 squares onto my stabilizer and then I used my rotary cutter to cut them all out.

    2.  After your stabilizer is all cut out, the next thing to do is to cut open the side seams of each t-shirt and separate the shirt fronts from the shirt backs.


3.  Once all your shirts are split, press them to remove any wrinkles.  Note:  If your shirt has graphics, do not lay your iron directly onto the graphics.  (They might melt!)  To prevent melted graphics, use a pressing cloth when ironing.

4.  After your shirts are pressed, take one shirt and lay it wrong side up.  Lay one square of the fusible stabilizer on top of your shirt with the glue side of the stabilizer touching the wrong side of your shirt.  Position the stabilizer so that it is over the area that has the graphics on your shirt and use a pressing cloth to fuse the stabilizer in place.  Repeat for all 12 t-shirts.

5.  Once all your shirts have a 15″x15″ square of stabilizer fused to them, you can use the stabilizer square as a guide to cut out each t-shirt block.  (I like to use my rotary cutter, mat, and ruler for this step.)

See pictures and frequently asked questions below:

Let the cutting begin!

Chop! Chop!


“Why do I have to fuse stabilizer to my t-shirts?”

I have found that if you take the time to  fuse a light weight stabilizer to each of your t-shirts before you cut them into quilt blocks, the blocks stay squared and do not become stretched out of shaped when assembling your t-shirt quilt.

“What if my shirt graphics are really close to the shirt neckline and won’t be centered on my t-shirt block?”

It’s really up to you.  One option is to leave it as is and just have a non-centered graphic on that particular block.  The other option is to do the following:

  • Fuse stabilizer to the area behind the shirt’s graphic design.
  • Carefully cut out the area that has the graphic design.
  • Create a blank quilt  block by cutting a 15″ x 15″ square out of a stabilized, blank, t-shirt or out of a piece of plain cotton fabric.
  • Use your sewing machine to center and applique the graphic design to your blank quilt block.

“I want to sew an applique to one of my t-shirt quilt blocks, but I don’t know how.”

Take a look at these step by step instructions and then experiment on some scrap fabric before you try it on your quilt.

1.  Once you have cut out your section of shirt graphic that you want to use as an applique, you should fuse Sewable Heat n’ Bond to the back of it.

2.  Once you fuse this to the back of your applique, let it cool and then you can peel away the paper backing.  Now your applique is a fusible patch!

3.  Next cut out your 15″x15″ blank quilt block and then lay your applique in the desired position on your blank quilt block.  Use a pressing cloth and fuse the applique in place.

4.  Set your sewing machine for a zig zag stitch or a decorative stitch and sew around the edge of the patch to permanently attach it to your block.  I used a satin stitch on mine.  Here are some recommended settings and also tips to try:

  • select the zig zag stitch
  • set the stitch width to 5mm
  • set the stitch length to .40mm
  • you may need to lower the thread tension a little to prevent the bobbin threads from showing on top of your fabric
  • if possible, attach an open toed presser foot to your machine

An open toed foot allows you see your stitches as you sew an applique so you can keep an eye on what you are doing.

  • When you first begin sewing, make sure the right hand swing of the needle is just to the right of the edge of your patch.  Begin sewing at the bottom left corner of your patch.

Just a picture to show that I began at the bottom left corner of my patch.

  • Sew to the first corner and stop stitching when you get to the outer edge.  Make sure your needle is down and on the right hand swing of the zig zag.  Raise the presser foot and pivot the fabric so that you can sew along the next edge of your patch.  Lower your presser foot and continue stitching.

  • Repeat the applique pivoting method for each corner of your patch.
  • When you get back to the beginning of your stitches, be careful to guide the fabric so that your stitches will be able to overlap and re-trace your beginning stitches for about 1/2 an inch.

I'm coming back to the beginning and I've got things lined up pretty well to re-trace my previous stitches. Yay!

  • I made sure my stitches overlapped in the bottom left corner of my patch and everything looks A-ok!

Nice Job!

Here is the 1st finished block of my T-shirt quilt!  Yay!

Now, I’ll take some time to do this for the other 11 blocks of my quilt…..

Oh, and another option is to do a machine embroidery design on your blank t-shirt blocks.

  • Fuse stabilizer to the wrong side of your blank block
  • Mark center front on block
  • Hoop the block
  • Stitch your preferred design in the center of your blank block

Well, that’s all for part one.  I hope you found this post helpful!

Take some time to get your 12 blocks all ready and stay tuned for Part Two:  Quilt Lay Out Tips and Preparing our Sashing Strips….

Let’s get sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Sew-Along Update & T-Shirt Quilt Supply List!

A few days ago I announced that we would soon be doing our 1st quarterly sew-along.

I offered 4 projects for you to vote on…… T-Shirt Quilt, Pencil Skirt, PJ’s, & Rain Coat.

The project that received the most votes is the……. drum roll please……..     T-Shirt Quilt!

(Scroll Down to see the supply list, then click this link to see the “Headquarters Page” that has each step of our T-Shirt Quilt sew along.)

Second place was the Rain Coat, Third place was the Pencil Skirt, and last was the PJ’s.

Perhaps the T-Shirt Quilt’s victory is a blessing in disguise.  Now you will have plenty of time to order the Amy Butler rain coat pattern and your needed yardage of the laminated cotton.  I’ve seen some nice laminated cottons at High Fashion Fabrics and I know a few ladies who have also bought it online….

Anyway, I’m also planning to do a tutorial for an invisible zipper and darts soon, so no frowny faces from our non-quilters, OK?

Let’s take a look at what we need to make the T-Shirt Quilt and also our start date!

Supply List & Start Date

Finished Quilt Size = 54″ x 70″

You will need:

  • Quilt Blocks:  12 t-shirts (please do not cut up your t-shirts yet!)  -or- fabric for 12 blocks that are each 15″x15″  (Suggestion:  If you are not using t-shirts, you could use 3 coordinating fabrics in your quilt.  You will need 1 yard of fabric A, 1 yard of fabric B, and one yard of fabric C.)
  • Fusible Interfacing:  If you are using t-shirts, you will need 6 yards of 20″ wide, Pellon feather weight, fusible interfacing (make sure it’s a very light weight, non-stretchy  interfacing!)
  • Batting:  1 package of low loft, cotton batting to fit a 60″x75″ quilt (batting dimensions are on the packages)
  • Sashing Fabric:  2 & 1/4 yards of 45″ wide fabric for border sashing & internal sashing on front of quilt
  • Backing Fabric:  3 & 1/2 yards of of 45″ wide fabric for back of quilt
  • Optional Binding Fabric:  If you want to bind your quilt, I’ll show you how during this sew along.  You can purchase 3 packages of Wrights, Extra Wide, Double Fold Bias tape -or- make your own out of a coordinating fabric.  To make your own binding, you will need to purchase 1 & 1/8 yard of 45″ wide fabric.  (I’ll show you how to make your own binding during this sew along…)

  • Notions:  Thread to match fabric for border and quilt back, size 14 universal sewing machine needles, 100 or more quilters CURVED safety pins

My friend and yours, the curved safety pin!

Start Date

Now that you have your supply list, it’s time to go shopping!

On Wednesday, Feb. 8th, I will post Part One of the T-Shirt Quilt Sew Along:   “Preparing Your T-Shirt and/or Fabric Blocks”

Feel free to comment here with any questions about your supply list or if you are wanting to make your quilt a different size and need help figuring out how much fabric to buy…

Check out the T-shirt quilt that my friend made!

The quilt shown here was made by Patty Holmes (pretty lady on the left) who took my quilt class when I offered it at Sew Crafty Houston.

After her 1st quilt, she decided to make another, extra special quilt.  She had each member of our Sew Crafty crew make one block for the quilt (Mo made 2 blocks) and Patty put it all together.  Once the quilt was finished, we all got together for dinner and presented it to our friend, the owner of Sew Crafty Houston, Sarah Gabbart (pretty lady on the right).  We love you, Sarah!

For this quilt, Patti chose to use 9 blocks with sashing and borders to frame all the blocks.  Instead of binding the quilt, she used the “pillow case” method that I shared during our class.  (I’ll demo this method during the sew along as one of your finishing options.)

The quilt shown below, is the one I made as a class sample.  I used 12 blocks and the finished quilt size is 54″x70″.  This lays nicely on a twin sized bed.

Well, that’s all for now!

I’ll still be blogging about other sewing, serging, and embroidery tips and techniques while our sew-along is in progress, so keep checking in!

Let’s get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Place Mat Luv – Video Tutorial “Mitered Binding”

Let there be much rejoicing!!!!  After 3 prior attempts to film a sewing tutorial, edit, render, and upload it with EPIC FAIL results….. My dear, sweet, hubby, stepped in and rescued me!

He filmed me demonstrating this mitered binding method that does not require any hand sewing and I am sooooo HAPPY!  Yes, I am doing the dance of JOY!

Watch the 3 part video tutorial to see how you can get from this....

To This!

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Well, thanks for watching!
That’s all for now!
Let’s get sewing!
Jenny Gabriel – alter ego: StitchinJenny

Bias binding with the Adjustable Bias Binding Foot.

Babylock and Husqvarna Viking offer an adjustable bias binding foot.

Attach 1/4” to 3/4” wide bias binding in place with either straight or decorative stitches using this adjustable foot. This is the foot for attaching pre-packaged and pre-pressed binding. It’s capable of handling a variety of binding widths and decorative stitches.


The adjustable bias binder is a clear plastic foot with a screw and markings on the foot that allow for the adjustment of the width of the finished binding. The width of the finished binding is determined and the foot is adjusted to achieve the desired width.

MACHINE SETTINGS Stitch: Straight, zigzag or all forward decorative stitches Stitch length: Pre-set Stitch width: Pre-set Tension: Pre-set

The Baby Lock Adjustable Bias Binder Foot is a useful foot whether you are a beginner or an experienced sewer. When using the Adjustable Bias Binder Foot you are able to use various widths of bias binding. Then, use either straight or decorative stitches to sew the binding in place.

1. Thread with sewing thread on top and in the bobbin.
2. Snap on the Adjustable Bias Binder.
3. Use the screw on the right side of the bracket to adjust the width of the opening to fit the bias tape.
4. Cut the end of the bias tape to a 45 degree angle. Insert the bias tape from the outside of the bracket, into the slot that matches its width, and pull it down under the foot.
5. Place the edge to be bound into the groove on the left side of the bracket.
6. Loosen the screw on the top, in the back of the foot and adjust the bracket as needed.
7. Select a narrow zigzag, a straight stitch or a decorative stitch. Sew slowly, keeping the fabric to be bound, snugly in the groove as you sew.

Use the Adjustable Bias Binder Foot when applying bias to vests, placemats, wall hangings, baby bibs or many other things.

Babylock Bias Binder Foot (Adjustable) (ESG-ABB).
Husqvarna Viking Adjustable Bias Binder Foot (412 98 50-45)


Hand Quilting by Machine with your Janome

Hand-Stitched By Machine

Would you liketo create the look of hand-work using your sewing machine? This technique is perfect for attaching a bias binding to finish a garment or craft project. A bias binding can be added to a skirt, top, and pants in place of the hem. If you use a contrasting fabric, or the same fabric, the look will different than the main part of the garment just because the fabric is cut on the bias. bias binding is a great finish for necklines and sleeves, too.

Bias binding (or bias strips from the same or contrasting fabric)
Adjustable Blind Hem “G” foot
Contrasting thread

1. Sew the right side of one raw edge of the bias binding to the wrong side raw edge of your project using straight stitch #1.
2. Fold the bias strip to the front side of your project. Pin in place.
3. Attach the “G” foot to the Memory Craft 11000.
4. Select Stitch Q #18.
5. Set stitch width to 3.0, length to 1.5.
6. Adjust the moveable guide on the “G” foot along the fold so that the straight stitch portion of the stitch lines up next to the outer folded edge of the bias strip. The left swing of the needle should pierce the bias strip.
7. Attach the bias strip in this manner along the entire area to be sewn, producing a hand-stitched look.

To create an invisible appliquè look, use matching thread or invisible thread.

The Janome “G” foot (also known as the “Blind Hem Foot”) fits most top-loading Janome models.

Hand Quilting Stitch
Janome MC11000 Stitch: Q #18
MC6600P Stitch M2 #36
Jem Stitch #40

* This technique can also be done on other Janome sewing machines, Babylock sewing machines, Viking machines, and othe brand machines. The stitch selection will depend on your specific model.