Let's crafty!

Let's crafty!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Work in Progress: Hexie Quilt From Recycled Men's Dress Shirts

This is my slow quilt project. It's my first attempt at English Paper Piecing (EPP), which I was scared of but I LOVE it. It has a special feel to be doing all the piecing by hand, I love hand stitching and seeing the piece build slowly.

dress shirt quilt

I also loooooove cutting shapes so this has been great fun. I probably have cut several hundred fabric hexagons.

I'm using hexagons with 1.5 inch sides. I found a template on Pinterest...which after using for some time I realized the sides of the hexagons in the template are not exactly the same length! Ack! This will teach me not to be cheap! Next time I will buy the pre-cut templates :( I have a workaround for now, I am just very careful to place all the hexies all facing the same direction. It's a little more of a pain though.

My process for this quilt so far has been:
1) Cut paper templates and also a paper "cutting template" with the seam allowance built in to use to cut the fabric around. I reused scrap printer paper which is nice because it is flexible enough to bend/fold when sewing pieces together.
2) Get used button-down shirts (more details below on shirt sources).
3) Deconstruct the shirts using Bonnie Hunter's awesome and efficient technique (discovered courtesy of Pinterest). This method helps you get the maximum usable quilt fabric out of each shirt.
4) Cut shirts into hexagons.
5) Pin fabric hexagon pieces to paper templates.
6) Baste fabric around (not to) the paper templates.
7) Stitch hexagons together as carefully and evenly as possible. Arranging them as you go is sorta fun to see the patterns. I'm keeping it somewhat random.
8) (This is fun too!) Pop out the paper hexagon once that piece is surrounded on all sides by other hexagons.
9) Rest hands. This has been a bit hard on my hands at times (Carpal Tunnel issues) so I can't do too much stitching at once.

I prefer using shirts that have some damage so that they're not wearable. I feel bad cutting up a nice shirt that could be donated to someone to wear. Although sometimes if the shirt is REALLY cheap and/or ugly I won't mind so much :) The larger the shirt, the better...it's more fabric. I love finding the ones that are like a men's 3X size. The shirts/fabric I'm using comes from a variety of sources:
  • Flea markets (got a huge bag of shirts for $4!)
  • Thrift stores. If you can find damaged shirts sometimes they will give you a bit of $ off the price...although it's going to charity anyway. Most of the stuff I have seen in thrift shops around here is in pretty good condition though.
  • Shirting sample cards (for some variety). Can find online sometimes in large lots.
  • Friends who had old dress shirts of their own around the house that were stained, holey, etc. This is my favorite! Because after it's done you will be able to say, "That blue hexagon is from Mark's work shirt! And that striped one is from my friend Ken!" So you get to keep a memory of your friends and family in the quilt.
More pictures soon!


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