Keeping Memories Alive with Quilts
Liz Foss blogs about the challenges of making a tee shirt quilt and a prom dress quilt.
I spend a lot of time browsing fabric stores and websites, searching for the right patterns and colors to make my quilts. When a customer handed me a bag of tee shirts and asked me to make a quilt as a graduation gift for her son who loved sports, it was a mixed blessing. These weren’t materials I would have chosen, but the project was meaningful and fun.
Tee shirt quilts are not a new idea. In fact, there are books about how to make them, but the tee shirts are usually in boring straight lines. I wanted to do something more creative while keeping in mind that the quilt would go on a college student’s bed in his dorm room.
There are limits to what you can do with the fronts of tee shirts, but I liked putting the puzzle together. The graphics came in different sizes and colors for me to play around with and I added some geometric shapes to fill in the gaps. Here is the finished product. I hope that my customer’s son will enjoy it for many years.
I have also made memory quilts from loved ones’ clothing and even horse show ribbons. A friend of mine commissioned a prom dress quilt as a gift for her daughter, who had gone to several proms but couldn’t hang on to the dresses forever. Fortunately, my friend gave me her blessing to cut up the dresses and no special instructions except to “make something funky.” That’s just the kind of freedom an artist loves.
The materials, silk and satin with lots of sequins, were a challenge. They didn’t behave like cotton and I had to use lots of pins. I added flowers, embroidery and some of my own fabrics as embellishments. Now the dresses will live on as a wall quilt.
Do you have an idea for a quilt that will rekindle fond memories? I’d love to hear from you.