Upcycle – Throwback Thursday & September goals

IMG_2910I’m so happy to write a blog for Throwback Thursday.  Sandra Walker from mmm! quilts hosts one on the first Thursday of every month. I have so many quilts from my pre-blogging days, I should have enough material for years!

I found a pile of shirts that my husband, Srini, didn’t use any more. The collars and cuffs had worn out, so we could not donate it. The rest of the shirt looked perfectly fine. Most of them are dress shirts made of fine Egyptian cotton and I couldn’t bear to throw them away. Following this Bonnie Hunter’s Deboning a shirt video, I ripped out a whole lot of usable fabric from each shirt. As you can see, I had a huge pile of blue pinstripes, about 15 shades of white, a few grays and not much else. I had just bought a 60 degree ruler – so I cut up a few of them into large equilateral triangles. After playing with different layouts I came up with this simple design. I also used a red bandanna fabric from my stash to add interest. No, Srini does not own a red shirt of any kind.


IMG_2966IMG_2967This is a special quilt for me, being made of Srini’s shirts but also special is the free-motion quilting. This is the very first quilt where I’ve tried FMQ beyond stippling. It took me 13 years of making quilts to work up the courage to try free motion quilting. My first advice to anyone out there too intimidated to start free motion is – just do it! After watching videos by Leah Day, Angela Walters and a few others, and doodling on every writing surface I could find, and quilting a few small practice sandwiches, I was ready to jump into the real thing. There were a few hiccups – thread breaking or bunching up, needle breaks, etc., but not much.

Here’s how I spray basted the quilt using a 1″x 4″ board. Layout the batting on a table. Roll the backing over the board. Unroll the backing a few inches at a time and spray baste. Turn the sandwich over and repeat with the quilt top. It worked very well but not really my favorite part of quilting. I’m happy to have my long-arm and frame.


I quilted a different design on each “shirt”. The light blues (there were 3 shirts in slightly different shades of blue) have paisley feathers. The dark blue has point-to-point (using a walking foot) and some pebbles. The dark grey has point to point and wishbones. The light grey has some wavy lines. This whites – there were 4 identical shirts – have the craziest designs – some paisleys, some spheres joined together by wavy lines. Along the inside edge, I used a glow-in-the-dark thread that shows up slightly yellow in the picture – most of the spheres are glow-in-the-dark. It’s so much fun to see the designs in the middle of the night. I got this thread years ago and used in in some baby quilts. It is a lot nicer to use with FMQ that with walking foot quilting.


This was quilted on a Brother PQ1500sl, a domestic sewing machine. It’s a huge quilt (about 64″ x 92″) but I quilted it in two halves and then attached the halves.

The batting is warm & natural 100% cotton. It makes a nice spring/fall quilt for Houston.

I’m piggybacking the One Monthly Goal onto this post. My OMG for September is to quilt and finish this cute pixel star baby quilt I made a couple of months ago.IMG_1025

Throwback Thursday at mmm! quilts
OMG at Elmstreet quilts
Can I get a whoop whoop
Finish it up @ Crazy Mom Quilts
Finished or not Friday
Friday Fotofun @ PoweredByQuilting
Main Crush Monday
Midweek Makers
Let’s Bee Social
Free motion by the river
Needle and Thread Thursday

14 thoughts on “Upcycle – Throwback Thursday & September goals

  1. Hi! What a great upcycle of those shirts. Egyptian cotton feels so nice and soft, and just imagine how great this quilt will feel over time. Your pattern is quite fetching, but your quilting is the true star of the show. What a great job you did!! My favorite picture of all those you shared is the last one, of the white shirts. I just adore those spheres with the wavy lines. I wish we could see it glowing in the dark! I have to pick up some of that thread for sure, and make a fun quilt for Dominic when he gets a little older. I can just picture his delight (and mine)! ~smile~ Roseanne


  2. I’m used to seeing shirts in more traditional blocks/quilts, so I think this is a refreshing alternative, and a really neat way to show off your jump into more complicated FMQ. Sounds fun to see the Glow-in-the-dark thread at night, too.


  3. I bet that quilt is the softest ever! I love the addition of the red bandana. You are so right on with the ‘just do it’ advice! I had to let go of anything nearing perfection too…Basting is the least favourite part of the process for me too, but I LOVED it after discovering it: prior to that I was pin-basting -HATED that, everything from trying to bring up the pin to the top (even used the grapefruit spoon) to closing the pins, to hitting the pins, to stopping FMQ at an inopportune moment to NOT hit a pin… Love my longarm as do you. I like the 1X4″ board technique, you’re so smart! I also love the design you came up with, very modern! Thank you for linking up with TBT, and look forward to many years more of your quilts! 😉


  4. No red shirt??? That is sad. May be not blood red or shiny red but a maroon kurta would look so good. Paul has one. He looks so handsome in it. Sorry, back to you. Love the upcycled project. Big triangles – your are courageous. Just thinking about the bias edges on a not so new fabric makes me fearful. The pixel star will make a darling quilt!!!


  5. Pingback: Best of 2018 | Storied Quilts

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