As I have written about in multiple posts, my grandfather passed away last summer suddenly. While it was a sudden and shocking passing for us, over the past year, we have learned to live with our grief and loss. We are now reveling in my Papa Alan’s life instead of being so overwhelmed by the hole left when he died.
One of the things that I did when he passed away and we were cleaning out his apartment, was that I found all of his colorful button-up shirts and put them in a big garbage bag. And boy, did he have the collection! These are just a portion of the shirts that I took:
I held onto these shirts for about a year before I knew what I wanted to do with them. I really wasn’t sure what I could do, and then my friend Crissy gave me a great idea: make a family heirloom quilt out of them. They are terrific colors, it would be something wonderful to use and remember Papa for years and years to come. She shared a great quilt pattern with me, and I immediately got to work washing all of the shirts to prep them for the quilt.
Most of my posts are tutorials. However, because I am using a published pattern on this quilt, I didn’t want to break down exactly how to make it. I will show you the highlights of putting it together.
I started with figuring out which shirt colors I wanted to use and where they would fit on the quilt. I made this drawing to help lay it out:
Do you like all of the color-coding? I wanted to be sure to cut exactly the amount of material I wanted, and I didn’t want to waste anything, if I could help it.
That first cut was the hardest to do, but then I just told myself that instead of unusable shirts, I would be able to turn them into something beautiful.
Once I had all 56 rectangles cut out, I then cut out my dark gray fabric… 112 pieces, to be exact! I made some shortcuts and cut a few pieces at once, which seemed to help my sanity a great deal.
I then used my new 1/4″ quilting foot to sew the colorful shirt rectangle into the center of two dark gray rectangles.
Once they were unfolded, you could see it start to come to life a bit more.
Once all 56 “squares” were put together, I had to figure out the order and sew them together as carefully and straight as possible into rows.
Then, being the Type A “perfectionist” that I am, I labeled the rows, did some pinning, and then some sewing together.
Once I had the quilt pieced together, I took a look at it. Pretty close to the plan, I think!
Lucy loved it too!
After a bit of measuring, I figured out how much of the gray cross-hatch border I wanted, cut it, and sewed it to the quilt.
I decided that I wanted to make my own binding, so I cut long strips of the dark gray material (4″ wide… this is a wide binding). At the ends, I placed them at a 90 degree angle.
I then imagined that I made a square in the corner. I drew a pencil line from one corner to the other corner.
This line then became my guide line for sewing.
I cut off the excess material. I then folded it back and ironed it flat.
You can then do what you want to with the binding (folding the edges in, or waiting and attaching it a different way to the quilt).
I then laid out the quilt, batting, and the underneath piece (2 different materials I had sewn together).
Then came a LOT of pinning and re-pinning together so that the material didn’t move around.
This was Lucy’s favorite part, as it was so soft because of the batting.
I had a bit of trouble quilting it all together in the way I had originally planned, so I just quilted it in strips. I then finished it off with the binding, and I was done.
It’s not perfect by any means, but neither was my grandfather.
Plus, it still smells like Papa- Listerine.
I love the back fabric. Although it looks turquoise and purple, there are other colors sewn into the material, so in different lights, the fabric looks different.
We were able to use the quilt a few days after I finished it for our maternity pictures. Don’t worry, I will have a post soon with more maternity pictures!