Just a little update on what’s going on in my workroom. I’ve been working on this t-shirt quilt for over a month now. Part of the long time was that I had to wait for backing fabric that I ordered. But I’ll tell you some of the ups and downs in the construction of this quilt. Here’s a photo of the quilt before quilting.
There were only six t-shirts so the customer had Spoonflower print some of the school logos onto knit fabric. The printed fabric was wonderful. And the cost was very reasonable. The knit fabric they used was a high quality, and I was able to fuse and zigzag the logos into blank areas of the existing t-shirts. I used red and blue which are the school colors, and the customer helped design the borders. I love this design as it is very geometric and the quilt is for a scientist/teacher.
Because of the dark color on the front, a dark color was chosen for the backing. I ordered a couple of different fabrics, but in the end chose to use a Fusions dark blue print. I had used a black Fusions on the back of a table runner a couple of Christmases ago and found that because it is not a yarn-dyed fabric that little white spots show in many places where the needle comes through. This is not bearding of the batting, but just the nature of longarm machine quilting. I use a “smaller” needle (size 18), but this still happens. I know that this will disappear after the quilt has been washed a couple of times, but it bothers me to give this back to a customer. The lesson I learned is that I will only use yarn-dyed dark backings in the future. Kona cotton comes to mind – as I think this will work well.
As for batting, ideally for a dark backing one would use dark batting. However, with the white shirts on the front, this was definitely not advisable. And then the thread question came up. For t-shirt quilts, I always use Monopoly by Superior Threads. It is a very, very fine monofilament made of polyester. This seems to me to be a better selection than using a nylon thread as polyester is so very durable. In the bobbin I used Aurifil Mako50 dark blue to match the backing. Normally thread tension is not a problem for me, but with this quilt it was a problem throughout the entire quilt. Little dark dots showed up randomly on the front of the quilt. I do believe that washing this quilt will seat those threads in the batting and all will be well, but it was very frustrating to one who normally has very few issues with thread tension. There was one little section that I have removed the threads and will put the quilt back on the frame and restitch that area.
As always I cut the sashing strips with my Accuquilt GO, and I used EQ7 for the layout. I love being able to take digital photos, import them into EQ7 and layout t-shirt quilts exactly the way they will turn out.
It’s a beautiful quilt – but not “easy as pie” this time.