A few weeks ago, Christine asked me if I could make a T-shirt quilt for her friend Anais, who's graduating from UD in May. Christine offered to pay for the materials and take me out to lunch in payment.
Because she's a grad student without a lot of money, I tried to keep the materials cost down. Instead of buying batting, which is about $17 for a twin size piece on sale, I bought a blanket at Goodwill for $4 to use as the liner. I also had a pair of double size flannel sheets from GW ($3 each) that I planned to use for the sashing and the back.
Keep in mind that sewing in my house is now a challenge with a large goofy kitten who thinks that the entire house is a cat playground:
and a Lab that wants to stick her nose in everything I do, although I admit that when I took this picture, her worst crime was being underfoot:
Here is Pax watching me work in the only room in our house that has an open floor space big enough for me to spread everything out flat:
This is the shirts laid out on the bathroom floor as I was still deciding how to arrange them and what to use as the sashing:
This picture shows the blue buffalo plaid that I was originally going to use but decided was too dark to go with the shirts.
After I finally had everything cut, arranged, and sewed, I assembled the layers and discovered that the blanket was too soft and stretchy so the finished product didn't lay flat. I had to rip the entire outside seam out and start over. Once I took it apart, I realized that I had cut the sheet for the back too short.
How many more mistakes could I make on one project? Maybe I could blame the cat and dog for distracting me....
But sometimes mistakes lead to a better product. I put the quilt aside for the evening, and the next day, Doug went to the fabric store and bought me a bag of batting. Then I searched through my fabric stock to see what else I had that could work for the back. I found a cotton Tommy Hilfiger twin sheet that had small blue and dark red stars on a white background.
I decided that it would work with the blue, red, and tan plaid sashing and borders in a kind of funky way. It also had a nice light blue and white striped edge that I could fold over the front of the quilt for some added interest (you can see it better a few pix down):
Christine suggested a pillow too, and I had a little bit of material left over from the back (with already finished edges) as well as a partial bag of loose batting in my stash:
One of Anais's T-shirts actually had her name on the sleeve, so I cut that out and ironed it on the border with "Steam a Seamz":
Christine gave the quilt to Anais last night, and she loves it. I'm really happy with how it turned out, but I also learned a valuable lesson in thrift.
Sometimes it just doesn't pay to follow the least expensive option, and you have to know when you're beaten. If I had bought the batting in the first place, I would have saved the $4 on a trashed blanket. I also had a funny feeling about the plaid flannel sheet for the backing because it wasn't heavy enough to hold its shape, but I went ahead with it anyway and ended up trashing that too once I cut it wrong.
Still, the whole project cost me under $30, and I have lunch with Christine to look forward to.
She even promised to buy me dessert.