Sunday, February 26, 2017

New York Fabric Tee Shirt Quilt Back

Last week, I showed off the front of this tee shirt quilt for my daughter.
It was supposed to be her going-to-college quilt, but I finished it in December, just one semester late. The front has tees from her school years here in Southern California. When the top was finished, I didn't have any leftover tees for the back.

So the backing became a tribute to her present and immediate future in New York City, the location of her college. Creating the back was more of an exercise in shopping and stash-scouring than  art!

If you happen to love someone who has lived in New York City, and you want to make them a memory quilt, the good news is that there are plenty of fabrics that specifically depict The City - as opposed to virtually any other city. (There's a lot of Paris fabric out there, too, but I've never seen Milwaukee fabric or Phoenix fabric, or my hometown, Newton, Massachusetts fabric!)

While our family was touring colleges a year ago, I spent a blissful hour at The City Quilter, a legendary Manhattan quilt store. (The brick and mortar store is now closed, but they continue to sell their New York fabrics online.) That's where I bought the first five fabrics below. They call the first one "All the Buildings in New York," a slight exaggeration.
Running down the side of this fabric above is two-foot-long row of townhouses. At the City Quilter, they had turned it into a long, lean pillow. 
Adorable details: 
The buildings are about 3" high. 
I also bought a fat quarter of black-background NY subway map fabric....
...And  a FQ of the yellow cab fabric above. I had another yard of their white background subway fabric in my stash, that I'd bought from their website years before: 
It's highly simplified, so I hope my daughter doesn't try to use it to get somewhere. At the shop, I also bought a FQ of this "NYC Subway Tiles" fabric: 

And a FQ of my absolute favorite, this pigeon fabric:

Along with those, I searched my stash. My DD loves visiting coffee shops. These two black-and-white coffee fabrics below reeked of  New York caffeine:

My daughter's an enthusiastic thrift shopper, with great taste in vintage clothing, so I used this: 
I had a couple more New Yorkish fabrics, including this beautiful skyscraper fabric: 
And this grim "What was I thinking when I bought it a million years ago?" fabric: 
Can you detect the Statue of Liberty in the middle of this urban dystopia?
The last thing I did for this quilt was assign my daughter to go to her college store and buy the least expensive school tee shirt she could find, in any size. She brought it home for winter break, and I cut out the logo and stitched it on top of some red brick-themed fabric that I used in desperation when I'd run out of NYC fabrics. 
So how did she like her quilt? When she unwrapped it, and saw both sides, her first reaction was this: "It's the story of my life!" Mission accomplished! 

If you're interested in buying New York City fabrics from the City Quilter (no financial affiliation!) find their selection starting on two different pages, here and here. If you're not a stitcher, you can buy fun finished garments made from NY fabric, here.

To read part 1, about how to make a tee shirt quilt with tee shirt batting, find it here.  


  1. Your subway fabric is no longer accurate. It doesn't show the second avenue subway extension of the Q!


    1. Jean, the subway fabric is hilariously wrong. It's like a rorschach of a NYC subway map. I can only pray that my daughter doesn't try to use it to get somewhere.

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  3. Cathy I've been collecting their N.Y. fabric for years also. Every time Tom and I went up to NY to visit relatives, he drove me down there. Sad that they are closed but I'm so glad I can still get the NY fabric on line from them.
    I made a quilt with some of their NY fabric, have it hanging in the hallway.
    we loved growing up there.

    1. Hi, Joan, so nice to hear from you! I'd love to see your New York wallhanging, send me a photo if you have a chance. I know there must be lots of them out there! Hugs!

  4. Greetings, from NYC, Cathy--What a great quilt--and wonderful comments about us and our New York-themed fabrics. If you don't mind, we'd like to do a posting about your quilt to our City Quilter Facebook page (you can reach us via:; also, wanted you to know that the pigeons print is still available--& in two color ways: Our FB address is:

  5. Yes, of course you may post to your FB page! And I'm so happy to hear the pigeons are in print! My order is coming soon!


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