This isn’t your average t-shirt memory quilt!
Unless your average day involves being a sound engineer for famous rock bands!
I make lots of memory quilts, the majority of which are memorializing loved ones who have passed away. The baby clothes quilts are always uplifting. And the beautiful emails I get from my customers are so heartwarming. But once in a while I get a really fun job like this one!
The girlfriend of a guy who does the sound engineering for rock concerts commissioned a quilt from his t-shirts. There are some big names in there (like the Rolling Stones in London.)
I know people commission work from me when they don’t want run-of-the-mill memory quilts, I don’t tell people how many shirts to send me. I don’t have a set formula for what size I am going to cut the shirt fronts. And it doesn’t end with fitting everything into a grid! I do lots of free-motion quilting outlining and highlighting the graphics on the t-shirt fronts, which makes the backs of the quilts really interesting, too.
After seeing her final photos, my customer wrote me:
“I am beyond blown away by your artistic vision. It is quite apparent you take pride in what you do! I love the black on black stitching of the front graphics on the back. It creates a simple but powerful look. Thank you for all your hard work, I’m so happy I found you and can’t wait to see it in person 🙂
This is what makes it all worthwhile!
Wife’s Shirts Hold Warm Memories
I recently shipped a memory quilt made from women’s blouses. A sweet man from New Orleans commissioned this quilt from his wife’s clothing, telling me he remembered her wearing every single piece.
My customer’s request was “keep it simple”—he didn’t want any fancy quilting/free-motion stitching or modern styling. So I accommodated his request for simplicity with clean blocks with sashing and backing from a subtle white-on-white print.
Women’s blouses are smaller than men’s shirts so, when cutting squares there are fewer creative options. Each block was going to have the button tab as no blouse was wide enough to make a block with just the pocket, for example, like I do with men’s shirts sometimes. So to add variety, I ran the button tab diagonally on a couple of the blocks. A couple of the blouses had square cut-out necklines, so I added fabric behind the cut-out.
I like to include special features of clothing, so I did include the entire collar on one blouse, carefully stitched down so it wouldn’t make a dramatic shift in texture. Another blouse had pretty white collar and cuffs, so I ran a sleeve diagonally across the block and the white cuff makes a nice accent.
A couple of denim shirts with Disney embroideries were included in the box. I cut the Disney characters out and appliqued them on another denim shirt, basically combining 3 shirts in 1 block.
Upon receipt, this is what my customer wrote to me:
“It is beautiful and brings back so many good and beautiful memories. Again I thank you from the bottom of my heart. What a great job! One more time, thank you, thank you, thank you”
I’m so touched and grateful that I could bring that kind of joy to someone.
I’ve recently shipped out a commission for 5 colorful memory quilts. These quilts were made in memory of a man who passed leaving a wife and 3 young boys. Each of them and his parents will receive a quilt to honor his memory.
The customer requested the quilts be made in Modern style and sent me a box of 80 beautiful dress shirts. I wanted to be sure to distribute the materials well throughout all 5 quilts so first I cut all the shirts apart. I saved the collars, cuffs, and button tabs for a friend who is a multi-media artist. (I just love recycling textiles!) I sorted and grouped the materials by color groups so as I work and know a color I want, I’ll know where to find it. Solid white and pale blue shirts were set aside to use on the backs of the quilts, supplemented with some other pale colors.
Depending on my mood each day I chose a set of colors to work with. This type of piecing requires lots of cutting, sewing, re-cutting, sewing again..and so on.
Working this way I created sections of unmeasured sizes, but most were 18″ – 30″ on a side. I do love the challenge of keeping it interesting, being imaginative.
I layered batting and backing and spent meditative hours quilting these sections. They were still pretty wonky around the edges at this point, but I leave them that way until I’m ready to put a quilt together.
Putting a quilt together is a big jigsaw puzzle—-balancing sections of shape, color and pattern with enough material to fill the requisite 55″ X 70″ (times 5, remember!) I really loved the whole process!
The Broach Foundation for Brain Cancer Research is a Texas-based 501(c) charity that has raised over $1,000,000 to help fund research and find a cure for brain cancer. Please consider them for your charitable donation: The Broach Foundation