T-Shirt Comforter

This summer, my neighbor's twenty-something daughter Carley asked me if I would teach her how to sew (after I moved back into my house). Her aunt sews and had bought her a sewing machine, now she just needed to learn how to use it. I was delighted and immediately said yes, what do you have in mind...

...and she had a great idea. 

Moving on to the "adulting" phase in life, Carley had a ton of t-shirts from high school sports that she wanted to make into a blanket. We did some math and determined that she really had enough t-shirts to make a queen size comforter...so we did!

As far as first sewing projects go, I say go big or go home!

Over the past few months, Carley and I have been working on her super-sized ginormous t-shirt comforter that is I suppose a quilt of sorts, but I'm not a quilter so we're not calling it a quilt. 

First order of business was a trip to Joann's. We got a quilter's square (12.5" x 12.5") so that Carley could cut up her beloved t-shirts and get the parts of the t-shirts she wanted to display on the blanket. We did some measuring and thinking and came up with the need for 144 squares (8 squares wide by 9 squares long, two sides). She got to work cutting, which took a while, because there were a lot of squares to cut and her cats tried to help. 

Once Carley got her pieces cut, we went down to my basement (because there was plenty of open space) and started laying out the squares. She decided to do a theme on each side - one side softball; the other side basketball.

We laid out the squares and moved things around, stepping back and looking at them, moving more pieces around, trying to get the color balance right. Once she was happy with the layout, we got out the painter's tape and a sharpie and labeled each square by column (letters) and row (numbers) in a grid format. 

Carley started by sewing each column together - so 9 squares down. Once she was done with the columns, she sewed the columns together (8 columns across). I started her off at my house and once she got the hang of it, she took it home to continue working on it in her spare time.

Once all the t-shirts were sewn together, we got to work on pinning the lining (fleece on one; flannel on the other). Since the fleece and flannel weren't wide enough to cover the entire blanket, we had to sew some of the lining pieces together but since they'll be hidden on the inside, it didn't matter. 

Carley then sewed the t-shirt piece down to the lining, around the edges, just to baste them together. This required an exorbitant amount of pinning (and several pin wounds in the process for the both of us). Once both were sewn to their respective lining, the fun part came. We put the pieces right sides together, pinned again, and Carley sewed around, leaving a gap to turn it right side out. 

And here we are, a big-ass heavy-as-hell-but-keep-you-warm-in-the-Wisconsin-winter sports themed memory blanket! I'd like to do something like this, except it will be out of my concert tees...and it will be totally metal...but I still wear them so I'm not ready to cut them up (and I might never be), so when I die, someone do this for me!

This was a lot of fun, and I think it turned out really well. Carley learned a lot and I'm really impressed with her stamina - the last day I think she spent 9 hours straight pinning and sewing, pinning and sewing. Now she wants to make herself a leather jacket...I told her let's start with something easier, like a hoodie. I've created a monster!

 This is the basketball side.

This is the basketball side.

 Just to give you a sense of scale, here's Carley on her new comforter...

Just to give you a sense of scale, here's Carley on her new comforter...

 The softball side.

The softball side.