Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Going-to-College Tee Shirt Quilt, Only 6 1/2 Years Late

Happy Mothers Day to all moms! Here's a project that's poignant but therapeutic for mothers and other empty nesters. It will move all of your offsprings' impossible-to-throw-away tee shirts out of your house!

I wanted to have this quilt ready for my son to bring to college in September...of 2012. It took longer. But I finally finished and presented it to him this week!

The quilt has two themes. Front: Oh, the places you've been!  (Tee shirts from childhood through college).

Back: Oh, the places you haven't been! (Fabrics from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Africa, three random places that he hasn't yet visited but from which I had interesting fabrics that I thought he would enjoy!)

The middle layer is made up of leftover tee shirt parts. (I hate to waste anything. My tee shirt batting tutorial is in this post.)

The front starts chronologically in the upper left corner, and marches through time in columns. The first shirt is so old he doesn't remember wearing it - his toddler Starfleet Academy shirt. Below that is his first soccer team (The Vipers), with what became his lucky number, 11.

The elementary school section culminates in this 5th grade graduation shirt, printed with tiny signatures of every kid in the class:

Moving into the teen years, I liked this shirt more than he did. Now he's stuck with it forever.

I also gave him this one:

The president punching a zombie was a must-have accessory circa 2014.
The next tee preserves the names of everyone in one of his orchestras:

High school spirit and activities:

The most up-to-date panel, in the lower right hand corner, is a bandana from the 1980s, which his father bought when HE lived in Boston, where my son lives now.

I filled the borders with worn denim jeans. Top right:

Lower left (authentic mended patch).

The back has some wonderfully graphic fabrics, like this one, from Africa.
Below is a small tablecloth I bought in Malaysia in the 1980s. When my son was an infant, I sewed it into a sling we used to carry him around. Once he outgrew the sling, I deconstructed it, and the fabric went back into my stash, awaiting its time to cuddle him as an adult.
The next purple fabric is African wax "ankara" fabric. (which means it could have been printed in Africa, Holland, or England). The symbols include a graph of the alphabet. Years ago, a friend did some research and told me the meaning is "Book learning isn't everything" - but I could be wrong. (I've scoured the Internet, with no luck - please chime in if you know the symbolism!)
Here's the fabric from Indonesia.
This next piece was an Indonesian sarong. 
I took all the leftover tee shirt parts - mostly collars and sleeves - and stuffed them into old clean pillowcases, or made pillowcases from an old sheet - then I packed those up in my car, and delivered them to the an animal shelter that wants them. (Call your shelter first and ask.) 
Tee shirt quilts have something for everyone! For more about making them, click "tee shirt quilts" in the word cloud on the lower right. Shared on Nina Marie Sayre's "Off the Wall Friday" with lots of interesting art quilt links!

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