As I was lamenting how narrow and expensive flannel is from the fabric store, it occurred to me that you could use flannel sheets for the backing instead.
Beth just made a T-shirt quilt (using all of her favorite t-shirts that she doesn’t really wear but didn’t want to get rid of) since she wanted it to be a light summer quilt she is backing it with a jersey knit sheet. The kids don’t use top sheets on their beds so the top sheets always end up in our fabric bin and we just happened to have a big gray one that she could use. These sheets are inexpensive at Target but they would be even cheaper and better for the earth if you were to buy them at the thrift store. I know it’s a little creepy buying sheets at the thrift store but if you just dump them in the wash right when you get home maybe it won’t seem so bad.
The measurements for top sheets (with the hems opened) are approximately:
Twin: 66 x 96 which equals 1.8 yds x 2.6 yds
Full: 81 x 96 which equals 2.25 yds x 2.6 yds
Queen: 90 x 102 which equals 2.5 yds x 2.8 yds
King: 108 x 102 which equals 3 yds x 2.8 yds
Which would make for much less expensive backing than buying new material. Also you can always use RIT dye to change the color of a sheet if it looks to drab, which I plan on doing with a sheet that I just picked up at the thrift store for $.50.
Yesterday’s snow day was the perfect day to spend sewing. Plus I had received the fleece blanket in the mail that I was planning on using for the back of the quilt. Kohl’s was having a sale (go figure) I got the fleece blanket with shipping for $3, that’s cheaper than buying material so I figured I’d give it a shot.
I laid out the quilt, batting, and fleece blanket, then used large safety pins to hold it all together. I then attempted to sew around the edge. That was a little tricky since the sweaters kept stretching. Things moved around a little bit, but it all came together in the end.
I did have to cut off some of the sweater layer since the fleece wasn’t quite the same size. I saved the scraps and will reuse them in other projects.
Instead of using flannel to do the edging, like I had planned, I decided to use a zig-zag stitch and just sew the perimeter a couple times. It would have been handy to have a serger but I don’t. I liked the way it stretched the edge giving it a scalloped look. I thought it fit better with the design than doing a solid border.
I think the super soft fleece was a nice compliment to the wool sweaters. For the actual quilting I used my sewing machine and just did a crosshatching at the corners of the blocks. (Man that sounded technical, I have no idea if that is the right way to phrase that.) I had planned on hand sewing using colorful embroidery floss, but in the end decided that the sewing machine would do a better job.
Voila a completed project, and I think it turned out awesome!
I LOVE reusing wool sweaters! I buy them up at the thrift store for $1-$2 each, then bring them home, wash them in hot water with detergent and put them in the dryer. Most the time they shrink (felt) into a miniature much thicker replica of the sweater they started as. Sometimes they don’t shrink very much or even at all. It must have to do with how much wool is in the sweater but I haven’t worked out which ones shrink up the best yet. Beth and I go through the pile, keep some to wear and use the rest.
My initial plan was to make arm warmers (fingerless gloves) and hats. I love how they turned out but when my BFF saw them she wasn’t impressed. And when I mentioned I was making them for Xmas gifts she said she didn’t want one. Hmm well to heck with her. The arm warmers only used the sleeves of the sweaters so I still had all the guts to use.
I decided to make a wool quilt with some of the remains. I picked out colors that complimented each other than sat and pondered how I was going to do this. Finally I decided to just start cutting and see what would happen. My dilemma’s were: should all the squares be the same size or should I try to ago all willy-nilly? Also should I use the ribbed bottom of the sweaters or cut it off. Too much indecision leads to nothing being accomplished so I just started cutting. I prefer for things not to be perfect since my finished product never is. So I cut squares that made sense for the sweater. I tried to get as many pieces from each sweater as I could. I decided to cut off the ribbed bottoms, but then ended up using those pieces to fill in when a row was short.
I did want to make the squares a little more decorative so I added some whimsical touches by layering smaller squares on to the bigger pieces.
Then I tried to lay it out somewhat cohesively, or at least so no two of the same color were touching. Somehow in the final sewing I did end up with some overlap. Sweaters (especially ones that don’t shrink up as much) are still stretchy so I did have some play on the lengths. But that also caused things to not match up exactly.
I just finished the fun part, getting all the squares sewed together. Now comes the work: adding the batting, backing and edging.
Here is Thomas trying it out while doing his schoolwork. Beth also tried to lay claim to it, but no, I have this planned for a Xmas present for someone special. Not the BFF who is unimpressed with my creations!