Published on September 11th, 2012 | by Julie Finn0
Project Show-and-Tell: Upcycled Star Wars T-shirt Quilt Top
For my partner’s 35th birthday, I made him a Star Wars T-shirt quilt in a log cabin style, pieced together with complementary fabrics from my fabric stash.
It took years for me to thrift enough Star Wars T-shirts for this quilt, considering that each shirt had to be in a size that didn’t fit anyone in our family (otherwise we’d be wearing it instead!), and each shirt’s graphic couldn’t be baby-ish, or look like it belonged exclusively to a kid’s shirt. Eventually, I collected twelve T-shirts to put at the center of twelve 20″x22″ quilt panels, which would, when pieced together, create a quilt the perfect size for our queen size bed.
I squared each T-shirt graphic, then cut it out. I used fabric from my fabric stash to piece around the graphic in a log cabin pattern until I reached 20″x22″–some panels I sewed larger then 20″x22″, then trimmed them from the top or the bottom and one side or the other, so that the T-shirt panels wouldn’t be rigidly centered.
Stitching jersey knit to quilting cotton is do-able with a straight stitch, and it’s also fine to do so since you won’t be requiring the jersey knit to stretch in use, so you don’t need a stretchy stitch. It can require a little fiddling with thread tension, however, since the fabrics are of two different weights; because of this, I like to complete my entire quilt top before sewing anything else on the same machine, to save on yet more fiddling with thread tension.
When each panel was pieced, I pieced the panels together as rows, then pieced the rows together to finish the quilt top. To finish the quilt entirely, I plan to use no batting but to back it with flannel, quilt it decoratively on the cotton pieces only (it’s really hard to quilt on top of the jersey knit without stretching it) and bind it with back-to-front blanket binding, to make it into a lightweight, all-seasons quilt for my Star Wars loving partner.