Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Daddy Shirt Quilt for Baby Oliver

I make upcycled rag quilts. That means taking gently used clothing, unused fabric from the thrift store and donations from crafty friends to stock my supply of fabric, waiting until I get enough of one style or look to make a quilt. My sister sends me boxes, her friends have sent me boxes, my friend Jill of Dolls For Friends sends me fabric, and sometimes I'll come home to boxes of fabric sitting on our porch. The pieces stare up at me like a puppy at the pound. "I'll be good. I'll be cute. Keep me."

Try as I might to keep my quilting supplies neat as a pin, from time to time it's necessary to pull everything out and get it all organized, again. It's then that I find some piece of fabric shoved where it ought not be shoved, I find colors stacked up together that should not be in the same room together, let alone the same quilt, and I usually end up with a few pieces to donate to the thrift store because I decide I'm just never going to grow to like them. 

Last summer was one of those days. And what did I find? A bag of ever-so-perfectly rolled up dress shirts from our friend Jeff. If you can imagine a dress shirt rolled up into a compact shape about the size of a collapsed umbrella, you have the picture. Jeff goes through shirts like no one I know. First, he dresses really well. Second, he's a teacher who dresses really well. Third, he does volunteer work where he dresses really well. Fourth, he likes to eat messy Vietnamese sandwiches that tend to spill on these nice shirts, adding to the pen marks that come with correcting school work all day. These shirts are a rag quilt maker's dream come true. My only complaint is that even with all those Vietnamese sandwiches, Jeff stays slim. If he put on a few pounds, I would have more fabric to work with from his dress shirts.  :o)

The discovery of this stash of shirts coincided with the news that Jeff and Myra were to have a baby! I didn't need to be on my second cup of coffee to put it all together - those shirts were going into a Daddy Shirt Rag Quilt for Baby!

What do you need to make a Daddy Shirt Rag Quilt? 

Cotton shirts from Daddy.
Lots of them.

You need a template, rotary cutter and some scissors.

Avoid the pen marks.
And the sandwich spills.

You may need to press the shirts first.
Oh, the "iron"y.

Cut off the buttons, the many many buttons.
Save them for a purpose yet unknown.

Now normally I would trudge headfirst into sewing the quilt, not finishing until I'm hunched over in pain, the sink full of dirty dishes, the clothes hamper overflowing, the dog feeling like an abandoned shelter puppy. But this time I did it right. I cut out the squares of fabric, threw away the scraps, vacuumed up the mess and put it all away for a rainy day. Or rather a rainy vacation day. 

One of the prettiest settings I've ever sewed in was this little extra nook at a house in Sea Ranch, CA. The weather was perfect for sewing, drippy and wet - wet and drippy. This was the start of the incredible drought-busting Atmospheric Rivers of 2017 that dumped so much water on the state we don't know what to do with it. That weekend away with some friends, I sewed up two quilts and finished crocheting a baby blanket. Storms are great for getting stuff done.

What a view.

What a table! Perfect for doing a layout for the Oliver Quilt.

And I got it done.
The colors were so nautical, so fresh.

Very Ralph Lauren,
Very Old Navy.
Very Jeff.

And we had ourselves a Daddy Shirt Quilt for Baby Oliver!