T Shirt Quilt Sew Along Part 3: Layout

Ready to sew??  Not quite yet…

IMG_3137.JPGFirst you have figure out where you are going to put everything…because once you sew those knits together – you DO NOT want to have to pick them apart…and, if you cut them, you will lose precious inches.  I made this step way more time consuming than it needed to be. Let me share with you what I did and then what I might do differently next time. And here is my favorite t-shirt.  Papa & Granny bought the t-shirt for my middle son when he was tiny, and it has been repurposed into a bag and then back into a tank top for my dauther.  So, there wasn’t much left of it.  Luckily, I was able to work it in.

Working the layout….

I measured out all of my pieces and what I thought would make a good size square/piece from each and made notes on which ones I could cut down to a smaller size if needed…my goal was to make, at minimum, evenly measured rows and columns.  I did number each piece with it’s ‘finished’ measurement (you are cutting them 1/2 larger for 1/4 seam allowance) Because this is my first try at this, I didn’t want to try to do too much piecing. So, I spent hours trying to figure out the perfect layout to get to a good finished size.

Graph paper was very helpful…each little square would represent 4 inches in most of my drafts.

IMG_3121.JPGIMG_3159.JPGSo, I got that figured out.  Then, I had the bright idea of taking pictures and seeing if I could lay them out.  That worked pretty well – I took the picture, cropped them to the portion I planned to use, and resized to scale.  It was pretty simple to move them around on a IMG_3156.JPGIMG_3118.JPGspreadsheet.  I used the Numbers app on my iPad. I liked that b/c I could easily take pictures and add them without having to go back and forth to the desktop.  That looked good – so I started laying everything out with my finished draft in hand…didn’t dig it so much…so just kind of played with everything and moved it around IMG_3123.JPGuntil I liked it.  Apparently, I wanted it to be a little more uniform and balanced than I thought. I just wasn’t crazy about all of the randomness…and, having really only 4 colors to work with, I didn’t feel like I had much choice…maybe I did…but nothing I liked…so here is what I ended up with….



What I will do is use one solid color for all of the background/fill in pieces on each column.  The center, I’m thinking gray – the two columns boarding the center, probably gold, and the outer columns black…because there is so much white there…may change my mind as I go.  I have plenty of grey, black, and white shirts, unfortunately, no gold ones that are workwithable…so I’ll have to hunt down some of those…

Do as I say, not as I do…

So, what would I have done differently?  In a perfect world, and with a smarter brain, I would have kind of known what I wanted my finished quilt to look like and approximately what size I wanted the squares to be – and if I wanted them all the same or different.  I would have first measured the designs on the shirts, tagged each one with a number and finished measurement and design size.  At that point, I would choose between the graph paper and the spreadsheet – I like the spreadsheet with photos better because it gives you a visual – you don’t have worry about how you take your pictures (don’t try to take them all the same size) – once you crop and size your photos for the spreadsheet, it will work itself out.  The biggest thing here, for me, would be to NOT cut out my pieces before laying it out.  This may have saved me lots of piecing later.

And, then I would again lay them all out in according to ‘plan’ and make adjustments as needed – you may just want to have the shirt fronts (and backs if using that) already cut away from the sleeves/neck/etc….this will make it easier to overlap them and fold them, etc.

And then, start cutting…measure twice (or 3 or 4 times!) before cutting!  GOLDEN RULE

 Have fun! We’ll start putting it together next time!



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