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Canning Day Quilt

From Plain Jane to Fancy Nancy


The weekend weather was cold, rainy, with some snow.  I don’t know what was worse, Ben’s baseball game in the cold wind or his soccer game in pouring rain.  It made him feel tough to play in the weather, and was a great excuse for hot chocolate, so he didn’t mind.

Instead of doing yard work like I expected, I had some time to get out my sewing machine and do a little project.  My mom loaned me a new pattern: Pink Fig Patchwork Skirt and Embellished Top Pattern by Pink Fig Patterns.   I loved the idea of taking a plain, inexpensive t-shirt and making it into something really cute.  I just started cutting out the patchwork skirts and will show them later in the week.

If you are looking for a way to use up old fabric scraps, these projects are perfect.  I have been hanging on to cute scraps from the many aprons I have made.  I was also able to raid my Mom’s stash of scraps.  She is an Obsessive Quilter, so there is never a shortage at her house.

There was a time when I thought that our Grandmothers were crazy for keeping every little scrap and string.  And though I’m not to the point of saving string… I am glad to have the scraps.  “Waste not, want not” they always said.

For this project you will need:

•    T-shirt in a color of your choice
•    Fabric in pattern to create a “picture” of your choice
•    Medium weight fusible interfacing
•    Silk or light weight fusible interfacing
•    1 inch bias tape that matches your t-shirt (I made my own.)
•    3/8 inch ribbon, color to match your fabric

Here’s how I embellished the t-shirts:

1.  Start with a t-shirt of any color.


2. Choose your fabric “picture” that you want to put on the t-shirt.  I am pretty “Plain Jane” myself… so I didn’t use a lot a different fabrics on the shirts.  But this is your project, make it your style.

3. Cut around the “picture” leaving a little extra fabric around the edges.  It doesn’t need to be perfect at this point.  You will trim carefully after you adhere the interfacing.


4.  Trim the medium weight interfacing to approximately the same size as your fabric.

5.  Adhere the medium weight interfacing according to the interfacing instructions.  (I am glad I saved interfacing from making Halloween costumes!  No need to run to the store.)


6. Now carefully trim the fabric.  The pattern does say to leave a little bit  of an edge for fraying.

7.  Place the light weight interfacing, fusible side to the back of the fabric and then trim around, making the interfacing about a 1/2 inch larger around than your fabric.  Set interfacing aside for a minute.

8.  Arrange fabric on t-shirt and pin in place.


9.  Turn t-shirt inside out and line up the cut piece of light weight interfacing behind the fabric in front.  Iron into place using a towel to protect the interfacing.  The interfacing keeps the tee-shirt from stretching while you are stitching the fabric.  (This picture is from Emma’s which is square shaped.)


10.  Turn t-shirt right side out and make sure the fabric is still where you want it.

11.  Slip the t-shirt over the arm of your sewing machine.  Using a zigzag or a decorative stitch, sew the fabric in place.  The pattern says to leave an 1/8 inch allowance for fraying… which I didn’t do… and hope I don’t regret.  It just didn’t look good on my practice piece.  I used a blanket stitch.


11.  I made my own 1 inch bias tape, because using my Clover Bias Tape Maker 1”.  If don’t have this tool, think about getting one.  I use it all the time making aprons.  Or you could buy bias tape to match your t-shirt.

12.  Cut the bias tape a minimum of 3 1/2 inches… however much of the t-shirt you want to scrunch.


13.  Fold and iron the top and bottom 1/4 inch of the bias tape.


14.  Pin to one of the inside seams of the t-shirt, leaving an 1/8 inch of the t-shirt showing at the bottom.

15.  Sew both sides into place, leaving the top and bottom open. Make sure to back stitch to keep it secure.


16.  Mark up the middle of the bias tape and stitch.

17.  Repeat this on the other side of the shirt.

18.  Cut your ribbon into 4 pieces.  I cut my ribbon into 6 1/2 inch pieces, cutting one end at a 45 degree angle.  Using a flame, heat seal both ends of each piece of ribbon.  Just don’t stick the ribbon directly in the flame or it will melt!

img_156919.  Pin a small safety pin to the end of your ribbon.  Start at the bottom and pull it through.  Do the same thing on the other opening.  Stitch the opening shut, securing the ribbon in place.

img_157220.  Pull the ribbon to scrunch the sides of the t-shirt and tie in place. Repeat on other side.

img_1574 The girls may not look like it, but they are excited about their new shirts…  You could get even more creative and add buttons, lace or rickrack.  It was really easy and fun.  Make one for yourself, this project doesn’t not just need to be for the girls.  I thought it would cute to make a cowboy t-shirt for my neighbor Cherie’s baby boy.  The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.  Happy sewing!

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