Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Preparation is everything

I am preparing the shirts that I have bought for making patchwork throws/quilts by cutting them down and liberating what fabric I can.There is quite a bit of fabric in a man's shirt and I have been buying the extra large shirts so far as there is more yardage in the shirt which means more uses on the patchwork front for me.  I intend to use any small remaining pieces of fabric in Dresden plate designs and also folded patchwork with the bulk of the fabric going towards squares or blocks.  I am starting simply but I see the potential in the fabric for even the smallest scraps.  

The first batch of shirts is a mixture of blues, reds, whites. I intend to use like a strip pieced quilt in the first instance from this colourway.  The second batch is pinks and lilacs in small squares and this third batch is pinks/reds, greens and white which will be a medium sized square.  Most of the fabric has been sourced from the charity shops.  I have paid no more than £2.50 a shirt.  On the pinks apart from the check shirt the fabric came from a cheapie book shop that sells quite a lot of fabrics so it is new but will be mixed in with lots of recycled material from shirts

I have sat and carefully cut a pretty check shirt up as best I can.  This was originally intended to go into a single quilt for the computer room but it mixes in particularly well with some pink and green fabric I have been collating.  The photos only show some of the stash. I now need the seam ripper to remove the top stitching.  Even the buttons have been recycled.  Sometimes I have bought the shirt for its fabric  - but these are often smaller shirts so not as much yardage but it adds a lot of interest.  Makes one feel very thrifty but then patchwork was one of the original thrifting methods of using up material in times where material of any kind including flour blags was refound/recycled.  Nothing was wasted.

The colours have not come quite true probably because I have my freestanding craft light on.

I thought I would do all the preparation of the shirts first, then cut the relevant strips [oblong shaped like victorian tiles] or squares and then do all the stitching - working one quilt at a time.  I will however back the quilts individually and then probably hand quilt using a tambour frame.  I quite enjoy hand quilting.  I have never tried quilting with the sewing machine.

However I also see the potential of using the fabric from shirts in smaller projects as well.  I will just look out for further nice fabric from shirts whether that be women's or men's.  I can strip a shirt in a day.  I usually do this first thing in a morning (although not every day) time permitting. I am starting to get a nice little pile of assorted cotton material towards my quilt(s).  Its a start but I have a long way to go yet.

Catch you soon.




  1. You've got some really pretty fabrics there. I have found some shot cotton shirts in the chairty shops which I used for making bags. Like you not one more than three pounds which is good as it is quite expensive by the yard.

    1. Hi Mumasu and thank you. I have further fabrics in pink whites and greens and creams upstairs. Proper patchwork cotton can be obtained via the Kisco Warehouse in Leicester. Anne of Sweet Blondie Blue Eyes introduced me when I went to spend the day with her. I think it is something to do with the embroiderers Guild the membership of. Will try and find out more details and let you know. Pattypan x

  2. I always have an eye out for men's shirts, even the collar can supply useful strips. The first quilt that I made was tied and is still going strong after many years and lots of washing. I do a bot of hand quilting it is relaxing but the majority is done by machine. Happy quilting.

    1. Hi Pam

      I liked the idea of recycling the fabric into another useful item. I had thought of trying the tying technique for the single quilt I intend to do first for the Computer room. I also just love the idea of putting so much love into each quilt and that quilt in turn keeps you warm. I hope mine will last a long time once I get it done. I love hand quilting having first done it on a baby quilt 22 years ago for my nephew. It was preprinted panel and I took it from there. I found it quite soothing. Take care. Pattypan xx


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