Thursday, July 14, 2011

T-shirt Quilt

When our youngest of two children graduated from high school in 2009 I wanted to make something with her that would be meaningful, practical and make a memory with her. I also wanted to challenge my new sewing skills and since I took a local quilting class I felt rather confident to try a T-shirt quilt for all the beloved t-shirts my daughter had collected and refused to part with no matter how stained or ripped up they became. Her collection included shirts from summer camp volunteer work, each year of band and choir, track, taekwondo classes and black belt achievements, and shirts for just being a senior. Secretly I desired to work with her and teach her how to sew because I was pretty passionate about learning how to and loved the creative medium, PLUS I had my very own sewing/ craft room.

History: I did not learn how to sew until "later in life" when I took an ONLINE class at Iowa State University to be able to achieve my FACS (family and consumer science = the new home ec) teaching endorsement. I say ONLINE loudly because it's really a ridiculous concept, but I am thankful I could get the class without driving 1 1 /2 hours. I did need much help from my mom and a friend accomplish the assignments that I mailed into the instructor. Through some tears and learning that the old sewing machine I had needed much work, I practiced and practiced and finally feel pretty comfortable making clothing, felt dolls (another blog entry another day) and much more.

Back to the quilt, I bought the pattern above with an idealistic mind frame of spending quality time with my baby girl. Visions of connecting conversations over coffee or hot cocoa while we created a heirloom that she would treasure forever.

Well, she treasures the quilt, I can honestly say that much.

For 1 1/2 years after she graduated, she was busy making a life for herself and had very little time for her mom and dad, but Christmas of 2010
I had my opportunity to pull her off facebook and away from the phone while she talked to her longtime guy friend from college to show her the quilt top and to get her assistance with tying the quilt and then hand sewing the final bias trimming around the edge.

Above is a picture my husband snapped with quilt in process. Oh the final joyous moments, at least there was coffee and hot cocoa. :-) Then she left with her quilt and finished her last semester of college in Fort Dodge at Iowa Central. She does like her quilt a lot.

Alas the finished quilt and finally a smile I did not beg for, no one said parenting was easy only that it was the toughest job you'll ever love. I agree and I am also glad we stopped after two.

Summer 2011 update: Daughter is now living with us again and has taken an interest in sewing a challenging camisole with boning and now is working on a knit shirt. The camisole she did ALL the work and I mentored teaching with machines..... what I dreamed of with the t-shirt quilt.

I am quite proud of her! P.S. She has orange spandex pants on and when she modeled the corset for my picture she was also working on redesigning an oversize tank into a a fashionable haltertop.