A T-Shirt Throw Coverlet is an EZ memory gift to sew up for giving this graduating season.
Know the Designer?
Sewing Guild friend, Linda brought this delightful T-Shirt Throw that she made with T’s belonging to her son. Though I’d love to give appropriate credit to the original designer of the idea, Linda did not know – “other than on the internet’, but if you DO know the origin, please add that in a Comment so that I may properly give credit.
T-Shirt Throw Basic Concept
Even though I do not have old T’s laying around after the big MOVE last year, I might even go to Goodwill to purchase enough nice ‘softened and loved’ T’s just to make one of these in my ‘decor colors’. A refreshing change from the labor-intensive ‘T-Shirt Quilts’ that necessitate stabilization, batting, quilting and binding, this idea is basically cutting front AND back rectangles from T’s, stitching them together, and binding with strips also cut from the bottom of the T. Linda came prepared with directions she had printed off, and I will share those in summarized fashion, along with a variation idea for piecing, below.
Steps to Create a T-Shirt Throw
This project requires very simple technique but accurate cutting to finish neatly. She used 12 t-shirts, front and back. More T’s = larger Throw.
Rotary Cutter, Mat, and rotary cutting ruler
Sewing machine or serger that can do a flatlock (hers used a 2 thread flatlock)
For sewing machine work, I would recommend 100% polyester thread (NOT embroidery thread), and a Stretch Needle. Size 75/11 would likely work unless your T’s are very heavy – then go with a 90/14.
19″ Square to use as a ‘general’ pattern.
Wash and dry and IRON all t-shirts. Smooth them completely to avoid wrinkles as cutting the double (front and back) layers.
Cut off and SAVE the hems, making them 3″ wide. These will be used as the binding. Do this on EACH t-shirt you are including.
Slash up the side seams (or where the pressed ‘sides’) of each T so that as you lay out the rectangle to cut, you can ‘scootch’ the front and back in order to include any design in a centered position for both front and back.
Place ‘Pattern’ (19″ square) on T-shirt over any design or printing you’d like to include, centering as you are able for the best effect. Here is where your ‘pattern’ may well have to be adjusted for smaller T-shirts. It’s OK. Just do not include the neck band or sleeve seams in any of your rectangle pieces.
Arrange your rectangles in a pleasing design, considering colors, desired size, etc. The ‘corner’s likely will NOT match unless you miraculously were able to cut ALL of your T’s in exact 19″ squares. Look closer here are Linda’s Throw to see that the corners as they are joined do NOT meet in all cases. This is OK. This is a casual type ‘throw’. (Note I am NOT using the word T-Shirt ‘quilt’ here!).
Join Pieces Together to Create the Throw
Depending on your available equipment and knowledge, decide how you’ll join the pieces together to make the Throw. Create horizontal ‘rows’ that will then be joined together to create the end size. Plan on ‘trimming up’ around the perimeter after joining and before binding.
Sewing Machine: stitch right sides together (the front and back as one piece), with a 1″ seam allowance that will ‘hang out’ and show on one side of the throw as in the sample below. Note options of leaving the seam whatever width you desire to roll as it wills, or perhaps even snip into the seam allowance every 1/2″ to 3/4″ to create a ‘shaggy’ look.
Stitching options for piecing.
Trim seam allowance to 1/2″, or just sew with 1/2″ if 1″ is too wide of ‘fringe’.
Butt edges and join with a bridging-type stitch on your sewing machine. See photos below for suggestions.
Stitch suggestion and settings.
Working bridging stitch on butted edges.
Butted and stitched ‘seams’ would look like this.
Serger: joining with a 2 thread or 3 thread Flatlock Stitch. This is what was done in the original directions, and what Linda had done on her serger. If you haven’t played with Flatlocking, this just might be the perfect project for perfecting that function of your serger! With this technique, the edges will all end up disappearing and ‘butting’ together as in the close-up photo below. Note from experience: The real challenge I see here is the bulk you’ll encounter at the corners. That could certainly be a challenge. it may well NOT be worth messing up your loopers to accomplish this – that is one $$$ repair on sergers.
Flat-Locked joinings with a 2 thread serger.
Finish Edges with Binding or Fringe
To finish the edges, I can see 2 choices:
Simplest: Especially good-looking with the ‘Fringe’ seaming for joining of the squares, just stitch all together around the outer edges the same distance of your seam allowances. Snip in every 1/2″ or so to repeat that look if you did it on the seams.
Use Hem Pieces: Seam the 3″ hem pieces that were initially cut off the T-shirts end-to-end to create a binding long enough to span the perimeter of the Throw. Seam the right cut edge of this strip to the ‘wrong’ side of the quilt with a scant 1″ seam allowance. Miter at the corners. Press out and around to the front of the Throw. ‘Finish’ stitch with a stitch of your choice (zig zag or straight – or even a decorative stitch), to attach the hemmed edge of the strip to the front of the Throw.
That’s all, Folks! Easy and quick enough to still accomplish for graduation or even wedding gifts!
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