Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cutting men's shirts for quilting fabric

Recently on Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Chat group on Yahoo, there has been some discussion on how to cut up men's 100% cotton shirts for quilting fabric.  Everyone seems to have their own personal preferences on how to do this.  I like to cut them so that I get the most usable fabric that I can from each shirt.  So my process is to cut off all of the seams and use everything else including the cuffs, collars, and button plackets.  The most fabric comes from the sleeves, fronts and backs.
I use the small pieces from the button plackets for my 3" log cabin blocks which have 17 logs in each block.  Since these blocks use such small bits of fabric, I can easily use the little pieces from the button plackets.  The pieces from the cuffs and collars are great for making string blocks.  I made a beautiful Virginia Bound quilt using primarily fabrics from collars and cuffs. 
This morning we had a power outage, so I took a couple of shirts outside on the covered deck and cut them up for fabric.  The picture on the left shows the cut off seams that I discarded.  It's actually only a large handful of seams and old interfacings.

The photo above shows the results of my cutting session -  the large fabric pieces from the fronts, back, and sleeves are on the left; and the collar pieces, cuffs, yokes, and button placket pieces on the right.