A Blanket of Memories

When I set out to make this I didn't expect it to be this hard.

I started this blanket about a month ago, quarantine blues were setting in and I needed a way to get all of my college T-Shirts out of my drawers (at least some of them!). Enter: the T-Shirt Blanket.

I had been wanted to make one of these for a while now. I kept seeing them when I was graduating from high school and kids were turning their T-Shirts into memories. I still have all of my high school T-Shirts in a bag in my closet. I didn't want my college memories to turn out like that too. So, high on the feeling of productivity, I set out to sew up my very own quilt.

I knew that the project wasn't going to be easy. Lots of places on the interest make these blankets for you... if you're willing to shell out a few hundred dollars. As a broke, recently graduated (yay!) college student, I did not have the funds to take the easy way out. Instead, I broke out my old sewing machine from high school (I was big into cosplay and made my own costumes and everything), all of the pins and trimmings, and set to work on what I hoped would be a beautiful and functional piece of precious memories.

Here are a few progress pictures that I took while working on the project. I don't have any of sewing the backing onto the T-Shirts, mainly because that part was very painful and painstaking and should not be documented, lol. The trick to cutting the squares is a straight egde, a cutting platform (I have a special sewing one, but a normal cutting board or a piece of plastic probably works too), and a rotary cutting knife. This knife is a pizza cutter for fabric and is literally a life saver. Fabric scissors would probably work too, but you won't get as straight of edges and you might get mismatched shapes.

As you can see, lining up the seams is critical for a good looking quilt. I spent as much time sewing up the T-Shirts as I did seam ripping due to unaligned seams.

You know that old adage "measure twice, cut once"? Yeah, I learned why that's an important lesson when I tried to line up the backing to the T-Shirts. When I overlayed them I had about 6" of space at the top of the blanket I was using to spare. Basically, I hadn't made my squares long enough and now I was paying for it. In addition, my squares were slightly too wide, so about half an inch on either side hung over... perfect.

In this final picture you can see that I used some scrap fabric, plus decals that didn't make it into the actual blanket to fill in the top 6". Save your sleeves and scraps! You never know when they might come in handy. What was once a big mistake turned into a happy accident and actually ended up looking really cool!

The blanket obviously isn't perfect. I spent many a night do and redoing the same seams and I had trouble with my machine towards the end of the project, however, through perseverance and hard work I still managed to create something I never had before and I'll now have this amazing memory for the rest of my life. I think, in general, it all worked out for the best!

Hard work, sweat, and no small amount of tears later, I finished my quilt! I'm really happy for the way it turned out and I feel like it was totally worth all the effort I put into it. A lot of these shirts I would probably have never worn again. Now, instead of donating them or letting them collect dust in my closet, I was able to bring new life into them and give them a new purpose. I'm excited to have these memories that I took the time to preserve! In life, it is so important to remember the important things and cherish each memory you create. Every time I look at my quilt I'm reminded of all the amazing times I had in college and all of the fantastic friends and memories I created.

#artsandcrafts #tshirtquilt #tamu #COVID19