Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Call of Duty" T-shirt Couch Quilt Finished!

**Warning: Process Post, long on details, heavy on photos!**

So what do you do when you live in a house full of guys, and your couch looks like this?

Oh, and the guys are all gamers?

You make a t-shirt quilt for your couch out of the guys old t-shirts!

I love my comfy couch but hated the peeling "leather" on the arm.  I had checked out a patch kit at Joann's but it said that it had to be applied from underneath the spot to be repaired.  Since I can't do that with this couch I had to find another option.  Years ago, my DH had gotten a t-shirt for "Call of Duty" as a promotional item with the game.  It was too small for him to wear and the boys didn't want it so I used to drape it on the back of our living room chair because, I admit, I liked the cheddar color in the logo!  Then one day I had draped it over the arm of the couch and liked the way the logo fit perfectly there.  Only problem was that any time someone sat on that end of the couch, they would invariably knock the shirt off the arm so I was constantly putting it back in place.    

Then one day it dawned on me that since I had always wanted to make a t-shirt quilt, why not make one for the couch?  I have kept a lot of our old shirts for a "one day" project and was pretty sure we had some that would coordinate.  From a design standpoint, I figured that if I made it long enough to drape down both sides of the arm of the couch and extended it under the cushions, it would help it stay in place.  The more I looked at the original t-shirt, I realized that after using the front motif there was still a lot of fabric left in the back.  I could use that to make a pocket to hold our TV and cable box remotes and the weekly TV guide from the Sunday paper so that those things no longer needed to lay around either!

Fortunately for me, since a t-shirt quilt has long been on the "To Do" list, I had purchased some t-shirt quilt interfacing two years ago during a sale so with that and a supply of shirts I was ready to rumble! 

I originally picked six shirts that coordinated with the "Call of Duty" shirt.  I wasn't sure which motifs I'd use or how big I would cut them or how much space I wanted to cover.  Some shirts yielded more than one motif.  In the end I picked a group of shirts that could be trimmed to fit the width of the inspiration shirt which was about 24 inches. 

I cut out the motifs from the shirts and backed them with the interfacing and I played around with them until I had a layout I liked.

Of course that meant that some other motifs I had cut wouldn't be used now but are already prepped for use in a later project.

Once I had a layout, I had to decide whether to just sew them together or add sashing.  I opted for sashing but wasn't sure what I wanted for that.  I wanted to keep the colors and patterns muted -- my living room is informal but it's not only a man cave!  Eventually I  found a camouflage fabric that channeled all the shirt background colors and surprisingly was also a knit! 

Laying out the images from the shirts again, I found I didn't need wide sashing.  What was used varies in width but are no wider than 2" (cut) in any area.  Once I interfaced and added the sashing, another motif got eliminated because I swapped in another small motif and then I didn't need the additional length:

The t-shirt interfacing makes the knit fabric thick so when sewn together, seams were pressed open to reduce bulk.  I had a remnant piece of "Star Trek" flannel I had picked up earlier this year.  Between the fact that it is one of my DH's favorite shows and I love flannel quilt backs, this was obviously destined for this project!

With the now heavier knits and flannel for the back,  I knew I needed a lightweight batting.  The lightest batting I already had in house that was close to the size of the project was some fusible fleece. 

Fortunately the top was not wide so I could cut this up and "Frankenstein" it back together to have a piece of batting the right dimensions for the project.  After picking out threads from the stash for the quilting (sorry for the fuzzy picture):

....and once it was all layered up (easy since the fleece batting was 2-sided fusible), you know what's next:  how to quilt it?  

I started by "stitching in the ditch" around the sashing to both stabilize the top and define the sashing areas.  After that, I took this as an opportunity to try get in some Free-motion practice.  There's a little bit of everything here:  On the Olive shirt I did Stippling.  On the Black shirt I did a free-motion rendition of a design from a pantograph I saw on-line.  For the big "Call of Duty" header, I just outlined the logo and did some organic (no marking) free-motion vertical line background fill:

Although you can't see them in this picture, on the black shirt there are some minute "pokies" of the white backing thread coming up to the top.  At first I was a little concerned about that but I ended up liking that they mirrored the "flaked off" condition of the t-shirt motif!  (That t-shirt is for Microsoft OS (operating system) 2 so you KNOW how old THAT shirt is!!)

For the pocket piece I took the back of the "Call of Duty" shirt, interfaced it, folded it in half and quilted it with a piece of the leftover fleece sandwiched between the halves.  I did the same straight line fill for the pocket but did it horizontally and with a walking foot because I had trouble maneuvering the smaller section by free-motion (stitched a few lines, struggled with it, ripped them out and changed machine feet and method).  When I attached it to the top, I stitched it down in two places to create three pockets: 

On the light grey basketball shirt,  the printed motif is raised and rather rubbery so I decided to stick to quilting just around the edge of it with a "rounded rays" design I had used before on this quilt.  On the black Kung Fu shirt, the motif and words were outlined and then echo quilted.  On the small light grey section (the later addition which was also cut from the basketball shirt), it was supposed to be basketballs and pebbling but by this time I was rushing to finish this up so the balls didn't get conveyed too well.  Oh well....

Once the big sections were done, I went back in with the walking foot and stitched about a quarter inch away from the sashing seams and in some of the wider sashing sections also stitched down the middle of them. 

I bound the whole thing with more of the camouflage fabric although this time with no interfacing, so it's applied as double fold binding.  I actually had to do two different widths of binding: 2-1/2" for the three sides and 3" around the pocket area since it was six layers thick.  The binding was attached by machine, front to back and then glue basted onto the back to make it easier to do the front finishing "stitching in the ditch".    I did however have to hand sew it when I overlapped the 3" binding over the ends of the 2-1/2" binding with a fake mitered "join".  

And with that, this one is in the can!  Onto some seasonal decor projects!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Move It Forward Monday: The T-shirt Quilt Is Almost Done!


This Monday it looks like I'll be moving forward to a finish!  I finally got in gear on the quilting for  the T-shirt Couch Quilt this weekend and was up early this morning and got the rest of it done:

The pocket for the remote and TV guide has also been quilted and attached.  Now the only thing left to do is bind it.  I thought I was going to have some things to do today for our Tenant's Association meeting later this week but our President called and she's got the flyer distribution covered so I'm free to quilt for the rest of the day.  Woo hoo!
Making this quick post and then I'm going to take a lunch break so I can head over to see what everyone else is Moving Forward This Monday over at Emily Bailey's  Em's Scrapbag blog.  Then it'll be on to the binding!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Moving It Forward Monday -- Another QOV Top Done!

I've been working on two QOV tops for the last month.  I completed one (you can see it here) but the second one, "Cosmic Valor", needed some additional thinking to get borders onto it with the fabric I had left.  The good news is that over the weekend, I was able to come up with a simple alternative to the patterned borders that worked with my fabric constraints.  I finished them up today so now it's a flimsy up on the Design Wall!

Pattern:  "Patriotic Cosmic Stars" from Love of Quilting May/June 2016

Now I've got to find backing fabric for this.  I'm loving the open spaces around the center and between the star points.  I could definitely see potential custom quilting designs for this.  However, I'd also love to get both quilts  done by Veteran's Day in November so I don't know if doing that (custom work or the quilting in general) is going to happen.

I've also got a lot of little Fall decorating projects I want to get done this month so we'll see how far I get with these.  For now though, feeling really good about "Moving It Forward" so linking up with everyone at Em Bailey's Em's Scrapbag blog and all the other design walls at Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times.   Happy Fall, 'yall!



Saturday, October 1, 2016

Get It Done! September Recap, October Goals

Well folks, the year is moving quickly to a close!  September is now in the can and it's on to the year-end holiday season trifecta: October - Halloween, November - Thanksgiving and December - Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza.  Although my September "short" list isn't as "done" as hoped, there was at least reasonable progress on the goals for last month:

1.  QOV:  Finish "Combat Gratitudes":  Now that I'm in the QOV groove, I want to get the center finished, the borders on, find a backing and get this quilted for donation.  I understand that all that alone might take all month and for once I'm prepared for accepting that possibility!

 It's A Flimsy!
I already have backing for this but need to check for batting.  Not sure if I'll get to this right away because I have other priorities for this month.  On the other hand, I'd love to have this ready for Veteran's Day in November.

2:  QOV #2:  I have another QOV design and fabric I'd like to get pieced this month.  Haven't fully evaluated yet how much piecing it will take so although being listed here, if I don't get to sewing it now, it'll be formally mapped out for the October list.   However, if I can get it set up, I'm also thinking that it can serve as a leader/ender project while I'm doing the finishing work for the project above.

The center is together, still needs borders!
I did get to start this as a leader/ender and think I might have gotten further with it had I not been sick the week before last and the community activities commitments ramped up this past week.  I'm also low on fabric on this one so am going to have to think about how to proceed with the borders.  As noted previously, thinking/design time means additional time will need to be built into the project scheduling.  Also wishing for a November finish on this one. 

3. T-Shirt Quilt:  I really need to get back to this one since I need it for decorating which makes it a high priority.  I realized a while back that I had not made progress on this one because it involves designing the layout and as noted earlier I have to give myself time to think in that case. 

Didn't get to this one this month.
Part of the layout issues had to do with what to use for sashing between the t-shirt "blocks".  The good news is that during the month I did find a fabric that may work for that so I'm hoping to move this along now. 
Not sure what to do for the list for October:  I know a long list usually doesn't work for me but with the season change and us hosting the holiday next month, I really want to focus on decorating projects.  Then again, as noted above, I'd also like to move the QOVs into the final stages.  I'm going to post a long list but with the realistic advance view that a lot of things might not get done.
1.  T-Shirt Quilt:  Since this is a decorating project, it can start the list off this month. 
2.  Fall Decorating Projects:  Not even going to list them all out but let's just say if I can try to get to one a week, I'd be doing good.
3. Halloween Quilt:  This one was started on last year but progress was slow.  This time I know I need to set it up as a leader/ender if I'm to make any progress on it.  Would love to "put it to bed" (pun intended) this month if I can! 
4. QOV #1 and #2:  Already noted that I'll be looking to nudge either or both of these to a finish if I can.
Hedging my bets?  You betcha'!  Here's hoping I'll be Charmed by my projects this month rather than Bewitched!  Hope the cooling weather is bringing you inside to your sewing machine.  This is a great time of year to grab a quilt for hand quilting or binding on your lap!