Sunday, September 21, 2014

Garden Fence Quilt Beginnings

Once the design decision was made, I couldn't wait to get started on this quilt. This is the first quilt I have made using clothing, so the first step was to figure out the best way to cut the clothing. Should I start with the sleeve, the back, the front? I decided that no one part was better than the other, though I would watch out for worn spots, like elbows, in cutting. It was a little hard making that first cut, but once I was in, I was all in.

I went for the front panel on the shirts and used scissors to cut right up to any seams so I would have maximum fabric that would iron nice and flat. Since this was still in the figuring out stage, I chose six pieces of clothing for making test blocks. It was quite therapeutic to think about the man who wore these clothes, even though I never met him. When did he wear this one? What stories could this shirt tell?
Here's how the cutting went. Nine of the pieces in the picture are cut to size and ready to become part of the quilt. There are some scraps and some pieces big enough to set aside for more blocks later. I'm filling a jar with buttons from the shirts and may make a nice stack of pockets just in case a future project develops with them.
Here are the first six blocks, ready to be sewn. Lots of plaids in these clothes. The thing to remember with this design is that it is an overall look. I have to remind myself of that when I get too matchy matchy with the individual blocks.

The solid fabric is a Moda Bella solid in Porcelain. It is not too white and not too cream and coordinates well with many of the clothing fabrics. I think this quilt is off to a great start. The blocks finish at ten inches and there will be a narrow sashing between them. Can't wait to watch this quilt grow. Time to cut some more blocks!


  1. Love this project, Debora! I still have lots of my Daddy's old shirts that would look great in this pattern!

  2. Linda VanSickle was telling me about this project when I saw her and Ron here in Greenville. I sure wish I had known about this idea years ago. I've shared your idea with a couple of others.

    1. Thank you for your comment and for sharing the idea of making a memory quilt out of clothing. While I never met the person whose clothes are going into the quilt, I am getting to know them while making it. It has been fun getting to know him through stories from the family and also to be part of preserving their memories.


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