Tag Archives: Sew along

T-Shirt Quilt Part Two: Quilt Layout Tips & Preparing Your Sashing

Hi! Howdy! Hello!

I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend!

I spent mine teaching a few new students sewing lessons from my in-home studio and also hanging out with my kiddos.

Daddy went to play in-line hockey and we got to turn up our music nice ‘n loud and DANCED like maniacs all over the house.  My kids are so FUN!!!

Anyway, I’d like to share Part 2 of our T-Shirt Quilt Sew Along so here goes!

Quilt Layout Tips

First, take a look at this printable “Quilt Map” I’ve made for you:  Quilt Map Printable PDF

Yeah, I come from a long line of artists….it really shows right?


This Quilt Map is for you to print out and fill in.  It will help you keep track of your desired quilt layout so that it doesn’t get too crazy confusing when you get busy sewing all your blocks and sashing together.

After I prepped all my t-shirt blocks (as directed in part one), I had to decide how to display them in my quilt.   I auditioned my quilt blocks by spreading them out on the floor in different arrangements.  Then I picked the arrangement that looked best to me.

Layout Tip #1:  Don’t put all your dark shirts at the top or at the bottom of your quilt.  See how unbalanced it would look?

Layout with all the light colored blocks at the bottom of the quilt.

Layout Tip #2:  Try to mix up your shirts so that the colors are evenly dispersed throughout your quilt.  Here’s another picture of what not to do:

Layout with the shirts poorly mixed.

Here’s the layout that I liked best for my quilt:

The beginning of my t-shirt quilt!

Once I had a layout that I wanted to keep, I filled in my Quilt Map.  In each square of my map, I noted the color of the block and also the graphic or words.  This will come in handy when it’s time to sew!


Ok!  Now it’s time to work on our Sashing Strips!

Making the Sashing Strips

Sashing Fabric:  2 & 1/4 yards of 45″ wide fabric for quilt frame sashing & interior sashing on front of quilt

We are going to need several 4″ wide strips of fabric that are 2 1/4 yard long.  Yikes! Have you ever had to cut such long strips before?  Trust me, your quilt frame and the interior sashing will look better if you go ahead and cut these long strips.  See instructions below for some helpful tips:

#1 Fold your fabric with right sides together so that the selvage edges are aligned.  Selvages are the densely woven part of your fabric that will not unravel.


The dark thread you see is because I serged the cut ends of my fabric before I pre-washed and dried it. The selvages are aligned with the numbers edge of my cutting mat.


#2 Now, fold this fabric in half so you have 4 layers of selvages and the cut ends are stacked on top of eachother.

Peek-a-boo! Four layers of selvages.

#3 Make sure the folded edge and the selvages are aligned with a straight line on your cutting mat or even a straight line on your tile floor.

I aligned my folded edge with a grid line on my mat. The ruler is just there so the fold is laying down well for the picture. Do not cut this fold!!!

#4 Use your rotary cutter or scissors to trim away your selvages.  Remember, selvages are the densely woven part of your fabric that will not unravel.

#5 Use your rotary cutter to cut strips that are 4″ wide and parallel with the selvage edge of your fabric.  -or- If you’re not comfortable with a rotary cutter, you can mark lines on your fabric that are 4″ apart, then pin through all layers of your fabric, and use scissors to cut your strips.

When you are marking or cutting your fabric, make sure your ruler is squared up with the folded end of your fabric. If it's not, your cut strips will be zig zag strips instead of straight strips.

You will cut 5 sets of 4" wide X 2 1/4 yard long strips.

Because of the way we folded your fabric, each set that you cut, is really 2 long strips. You will have 10 long strips of fabric to use for your sashing and quilt frame.

Now that we have our sashing and quilt frame strips, the next thing to do is begin attaching the sashing to our quilt blocks.  To prevent unwanted mistakes and to help your quilt turn out as nice as possible, please follow along with me for this step and do not jump ahead!

Attaching Your Sashing to Blocks in Column 1 and Column 2 Only

For this step, you are going to use a 1/4″ seam allowance or a 1/2″ seam allowance (whatever you prefer).

We will be sewing the sashing strips to the right hand edge of all the blocks listed in column 1 and column 2 of your quilt map.

Here’s a picture of my quilt so far.  The detailed instructions are below:

As seen above, only the blocks in column 1 and 2 should have sashing attached at this time.

Step One:

Lay the sashing fabric on top of the quilt block with right sides together and raw edges aligned. Sew a 1/4" seam.

I used my 1/4" presser foot to help me sew my sashing with perfect 1/4" seams.

Step Two:

Press the seam just as you stitched it.

Step 3:

Unfold the sashing and press the seam open.

Make sure the seam allowance is pressed towards the sashing.

Repeat these steps for all of the blocks in column 1 and 2.

Stay tuned for T-Shirt Quilt Part 3:  Piecing Tips and Assembling your Quilt Top

That’s all for now!

Let’s get sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny





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

Introducing our 1st Quarterly “Sew Along”

Hi Ladies!

I don’t know about you but, sometimes, I just need a little fire under my rear to get me going….

So, I thought it would be fun to offer a quarterly SEW ALONG for the followers of this blog.

What is a Sew Along?

I’ve been researching this, and honestly, it seems that a “sew along” is an extended tutorial for one particular project.  That way, if I want to take you from start to finish on fitting, altering, and constructing something more extensive like a garment, I can break it down into several manageable posts.

These posts can be published daily or weekly and will include help with each step of the project and can include tutorials for the variations and options for a particular skill, etc.

Participating in a Sew Along is kind of neat because you are “sewing along” on the same project, at the same time as your fellow blog friends possibly from all over the world AND at the end, we get to post our pictures of what we made!  It’s a shared experience and a good way to try new things and connect with others who love what you love, too!

The quarterly Sew Alongs will be posted in addition to the tips and tutorials etc. that you can find here.


Well, since one of my goals is to keep you happy and informed, our very first SEW ALONG project is going to be the one that gets the most votes from you!

So, here is a list of suggested sew alongs.  Vote by sharing a comment at the end of this blog post.  You could help me out by saying which one would be your 1st, 2nd, and third choice and even a “not interested” choice is ok, too.

If I’ve totally missed it, and you have some Sew Along suggestions, you can share those here as well.

I’ll post the winning sew along on Feb. 3rd.  That announcement will also include our official “Start Date”!

T-Shirt Quilt

Classic Pencil Skirt

Make this Simplicity skirt Pattern #2906, View B and learn to sew darts & your choice of a lapped zipper -or- an invisible zipper!

PJ Ensemble 

 Over a series of posts, we’d be making the refashioned t-shirt, altering/modifying the pj pants, and going step by step to make the slippers.  This could be in child sizes or adult sizes.  I used Simplicity patterns:  2278 for the slippers & 2503 for the pants.

Amy Butler Hooded Rain Coat

Child Size

Adult Size

These links are to Amazon.  If they are out of stock, you’d just need to google to find where else to order them.

Well, I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Have a beautiful day!

Let’s get Sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny