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!