Friday, February 14, 2014

Sew What

This winter, my life and my blog have kind of gone into hibernation.  What do you write about when all you do is sit by the fire every night trying to stay warm and watching the weather report to see when the next snow storm is coming?

But last week I was really excited because a project finally came my way--a job making a T-shirt quilt for a woman whose son is graduating from high school this year.

She came to our house on Monday loaded down with a huge bag of shirts from his activities over the past several years. We made our selections from the bag and laid the shirts out on my bed in a rough design:

I always take a picture of the arrangement to use as a guide once I'm actually sewing the blocks together.  

But first, I cut the shirts apart so that I just have the front (or the back if that's where the design is).  Then I used my rotary cutter, healing mat, and 14-inch square plexiglass template to cut the actual squares.  That was done by Tuesday night, and I ordered a sheet from L.L. Bean to use as the borders and backing:

With an unexpected snow day and no work yesterday, I thought for sure that I'd have a finished project ready to blog about by today.

Um no....

First, when I checked my supply of fusible webbing, I discovered I had two boxes.  That's enough to do a 12-shirt quilt but not a 20-shirt quilt, which is what this client wanted.  But I figured I could still get some sewing done if I used the webbing I had on 12 shirts in adjacent rows.  A search through the drawers of my sewing desk turned up another random piece of webbing, so I actually had enough for 4 of the 5 rows.

With all of the pieces ironed together and trimmed to size, I headed for the sewing room.

One row down.

Row 2, and I heard an awful crunch.  Not only was the needle on the machine broken, but the bobbin was bent and completely jammed into its casing.

So much for taking advantage of the snow day.

Today, we are taking my little machine to the repair shop and just hoping it can be fixed.  It's a 1970s Kenmore in its own avocado green case lunchbox-style case:

Doug found it for me at Goodwill several years ago for $8, and all it needed was a new belt.  It works so much better than the new plastic portables, which in my experience jump all over the table.  This girl is heavy.

I just hope they can fix her.

And I promise an "after" picture of the quilt.


At least my client doesn't need it until June.


  1. I hope the machine will be fine. I have about the same machine, except mine is in a white embossed floral case. My grandmother got it for me when I was in high school, and I had it serviced about a year ago. The man at the service centre told me it was a good machine, and to look after it. :)

    1. Thanks--it looks like mine is fixable!

  2. My daughter (a sophomore) wants me to make one of these for her when she is a senior, using t-shirts from all her school activities. Looking forward to seeing how yours turns out! Hope your machine can be repaired--what a great find.

  3. Rita, they really are fun to make--I have made about 30 or 40 of them for my family and for various clients. I'm happy to provide guidance when you're ready. The most important thing is to back the shirt pieces with fusible webbing. I hope to be posting this one soon!