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Ask one of the elder family members to let you take their old shirts or dresses. Cut them up into strips or squares and make a quilt for the persons child or grandchild. It doesn't have to be fancy. What a treasure this was for my stepdaughter to get a quilt made out of her daddy's old shirts.
There are books in the library to show you how to do a very simple quilt for those who don't sew.
By Ardis Barnes
I have been second-hand shopping for several years. I got a beautiful ski coat with real fox fur on the hood for $5. I have also bought shoes that were just like new. Since I quilt, I look at 100% cotton clothes, which look better and better with the price of fabric rising. The bargains are wonderful, and it is such fun! Now if I could only get rid of things I no longer use, I would be really doing something good!
By Jean Rabe from Craftsbury Common, VT
A friend gave me some sweats she couldn't wear anymore, but they didn't fit me or anyone in my family. I decided to try to make a quilt. I used light green, black, and red sweats and made a lap quilt. It's really warm and great for using during trips. I used it during a recent bus trip to Atlanta.
By Joan from Mayodan, NC
Make a quilt easily and cheaply. Use a flashy fabric for the top made from cheap clothing from the second hand shop. Use a mattress pad for the batting, and a nice fleecy or soft bedspread for the backing. Sew together and put a few ties into the center for stability, you'll be surprised at how warm and pretty these are.
I collect fabrics like velvets (friends give them to me for my quilts), or sweat shirts to make "theme" quilts. I've made lovely gifts like this for nearly no money.
By Katy B. from Dowagiac, MI
When I no longer need an item of clothing, I cut it apart at the seams and use the pieces to make quilt squares. I only use 100% cotton, that has been washed many times and will no longer shrink. I store all the same colors in a box for each color. This cuts down on spending, and I make a one of a kind memory quilt.
By Janet from Bradenton, FL
Here is my quilt top that I made using old clothes and fabric remnants. I am not going to put a backing on this one, it works great as a throw.
I have made a quilt out of my son's favorite graphic T-shirts. I just kept saving the shirts. When we had a few dozen, I cut huge squares with the designs, and the plain sides the same size.
For an easy Christmas gift, save your used children's clothes. Cut out as many squares and sew them together to make a front cover for a quilt.
When my boys were small they loved wearing the character socks (Batman, Spiderman, Looney Tunes, etc.) As they grew older or wore out a pair, I saved them to make a quilt. I'm going to use the socks that don't have holes in them to make a "wheel" pattern and use solid fabrics as the background.
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How do I make a quilt out of old clothes? What size are the squares suppose to be? After I sew them together what is my next step? My mother just passed away and I really want to make a quilt out of her clothes.
By connie from Canton, GA
Great minds run the same channels . . . hee, hee! I've been thinking of doing the same thing with some old family clothes, myself. :) Unfortunately, I've not yet educated myself well enough to offer sound advice.
Do a Goggle (or Bing, or whatever you use) internet search on "fat quarters" (a quilting term.) It might not be exactly what you are looking for but it's a starting point.
Check at your local library to see if there are any quilting groups in your area, and ask at any fabric store if they know of a quilting group or offer quilting classes.
I was fortunate to learn the basics of "piecing" and "hand quilt stitching" from my grandmother but that was many years ago.
Good luck, and post an essay here if you get it figured out! :)
Kansas Cindy is right - between the library and Google you should be able to get the basics for your quilt. The only thing you might want to consider is if you have wildly varying fabrics they may need to be treated differently. Some may need stabilizers (if they are stretch) for example. I am going to make one of all my "travel" t-shirts that I have sooo many of that I would need to live to 100 to be able to wear out!
You can make the squares any size that you want. Myself being I'm not real patient, I make them as large as I can. lol Usually I make about a nine inch square. One thing you don't want to do is mix wovens and knits together. Also real light weight fabrics don't endure real long in a quilt. My Mother made my disabled daughter a quilt out of old clothes one time and the squares that were made out of lighter weight fabrics combined with the fact that they were slightly worn, didn't last as long as the ones made out of heavier cotton type fabrics and the new ones. As each square wore out I just covered it with a new square.
Here is a site with instructions on how to make a simple crib quilt, but you can adjust the measurements to make it any size you want.
My sister makes the cutest vests from acquired fabrics. Lightweight fabrics can be cut in to thin strips for crocheting a cloche or toque a trendy item the kids are wearing these days.
If some of the clothes have fancy areas, I would try to make my squares in such a way as to incorporate them. Example, if something had a lace collar, I would cut a square that included the collar. If you wanted, you could sew it flat first. Don't forget to add seam allowances when cutting out squares, usually 1/4 to 1/2 inch. There is also crazy quilting on a recycled sheet the size you want for backing. Each piece is laid fronts together on another piece, stitched on one edge, flipped to hide the seam, repeat adjusting pieces to fit backing. Then machine or hand-quilt to backing. Add binding (satin blanket binding can be purchased in most chain stores), or just make the top a few inches smaller on each side and fold press and stitch the backing as a self-binding all around.
My mother had a few dresses she wore a lot. After she passed away, I got the idea to make a quilt top using the clothes, but I wanted to keep the pieces large. I was thinking of maybe cutting a dress long ways down a seam so you could see the buttons. Maybe put her apron in. The problem is I have never quilted, so I don't know if a quilt of this type is possible.
It is possible, and what a lovely way to keep your mum's memory alive! You can use her blouses or perhaps a lovely bodice (top part of a dress) to make a coordinated pillow (or first project to learn quilting without the daunting prospect of a entire bed quilt).
See the following link for a great quilting site with numerous beginner quilter pages, and a fantastic forum to ask for special help:
I hope when your project is finished you will post a picture.
Wonderful idea!!! A local quilting shop or the Quilt Guild can help you along with this!! Great idea, don't get discouraged, and you can accomplish this project!!!
This is a page about making a quilt from old sweaters. Quilts have long been a handicraft that was a perfect way to recycle old clothing and linens into a new useful item.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
I have a lot of my late mother's clothes and would love to make a beginners quilt out of them. Does anyone have directions to share?
Debra from Hampton, Tenn
How detailed do you need the directions? I started out with a book called "Quilt in a Day" and although it called for yards of fabric you could still use what you have. It is the Log Cabin pattern and uses strips sewn together to make blocks. This book has very basic instructions that almost anybody could follow even if they can barely sew. Or you could just cut blocks whatever size you want and.. Anyway, how much detail do you need? Do you already sew? (07/14/2008)
I would cut blocks and sew together. Nothing simpler. I cut dad's shirts to make a sunbonnet Sue quilt to honor him. The quilt is still in progress after five years. It is a wonderful way to honor someone and the fabrics bring back memories. (07/15/2008)
Try both of these links:
I made a quilt from my dad's clothes and it turned out great. I had never quilted before. I cut 6 inch squares (using a quilt ruler and a rotary cutter) and sewed them together in rows, and then sewed the rows together. You can make it as long or wide as you wish. This is the quilt top. Then put quilt batting (all in one large piece) behind the squares you have sewn together. My dad was a railroader, so I bought a print material with pictures of all kinds of trains for the backing. Then I put quilt binding around the edges to hold the 3 layers together. Then I took yarn and tied every other square to hold the 3 layers together and keep the batting from moving around in the quilt. Good luck. I hope these instructions help. I have since made 3 more for friends of mine when their parents passed away. (07/15/2008)
Just a note to say my cousins made teddy bears of material quilted from their mom's dresses. So they all have a keepsake. Really a nice idea I thought. (07/16/2008)
By Vi Johnson
I once made little suit coats for new teddy bears, out of a sport coat from a friend's dad. I kept everything in plastic as much as possible because she said the sport coat still smelled like her Daddy. I know the fragrance didn't last forever, but she and her sister had a extra sweet remembrance and a special bear from "Daddy". (07/18/2008)
As a Newbie, too, "Quilting for Dummies" has been my best friend. Some important points include: cut same-size squares, allow for 1/4 inch hem, try to use the same material so laundering will not be a problem, and set the length of your stitches medium to long. I began sewing the squares together using a small-length stitch, and the squares detached themselves as though they were connected using perforated paper! And, to ensure hem lines are all 1/4 inch, and sewn straight, measure 1/4 inch on every side and put a strip of masking tape down, this serves as a good guide. (07/15/2010)