Monday, February 07, 2011

Scraps & Shirttails II Trunkshow!

*Note* This post is a re-cap of an early post on another site. These are the quilts in my new book Scraps & Shirttails II.....also featured in my new header above! I wanted to repost this so I could link the images on my website and my book store pages so people could see what was actually IN the book.

So how bout a TRUNKSHOW?! I am always up for some quilt-eye-candy at any time of the day or night! Click each photo to biggie-size them!

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Bricks in the Barnyard and Fair & Square

Quilts color my world: Every piece a vivid tone, much like acrylics or oil paint on canvas. I surround myself in tints and hues and values, creating every day art with needle and thread. Quilts ARE art, whether they are traditional in nature, or contemporary. I find joy in my piece-by-piece world, listening to what each quilt wants to be as it is created. I can not imagine my life without quilts in it! And I am so happy to share this love of quilts with YOU!

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Criss-Cross Applesauce and Goose in the Puddle

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Hawks Nest and Holy Toledo

We’ve heard it over and over: “Use it up – wear it out – make it do, or do without!” My love of using recycled fabric from clothing started early on as my boys grew, ((they are 21 and 27 now..I can’t believe it..)) and If that label on their shirts said 100% cotton, by the time they had out-grown the shirts ---into the quilt room they went! I loved stitching the memory of their boyhoods into my quilts and every time I see those fabrics in my quilts, I remember “When”! Fabric has MEMORY! Isn’t that true?

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Rectangle Wrangle and Smith Mountain Morning

Whether store bought or re-purposed, the fabric is the largest part of your quilt. Re-purposing fabric for your scrap quilt starts with fabric collecting. This involves more fore-thought and planning than searching your favorite quilt shops for the perfect pre-matched fabric line. You need to know where to look, what to look for and how to spot a bargain when you see it. Think of it as a treasure hunt, and be on the lookout!

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Tumalo Trail and Stars Over Shallotte

Here are some logical places to begin your search. As you continue your journey, you’ll come up with more sources.

• Thrift shops such as Salvation Army or Goodwill
• Garage and yard Sales, church and school rummage sales –check the newspaper for ads.
• Your friends and family
• Your own closet
• Your stash – always your stash!

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Old Kentucky Album & Oregon or Bust

When shopping for bargains, look for the largest sizes of men’s shirts. There is a lot of fabric in a 3X men’s tall, long-sleeved shirt! I figure the shirt back to be larger than a fat quarter. In addition to the back, you get two fronts, two sleeves, cuffs, a collar and pockets making about 1 to 1 1/2 yards of usable fabric per shirt. Compare how much you pay for 1 to 1 1/2 yards of fabric in your area to how much you pay for one gently used shirt. Many times, you’ll be getting a true bargain from the shirt – especially if you are in love with the color and the pattern.

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Carolina Christmas Front Carolina Christmas Back

I do read labels just like I would a can of soup at the grocery store. I want to know what the fiber is. There have been times when I have let a really good color go because it had spandex in it. I prefer 100% cotton, but there are a couple of other things I will use that are still natural fibers and give a good result. A cotton/linen blend is still a natural combination and will behave nicely. I also like the texture it gives. A cotton/ramie blend has a feel much like homespun and I have used it with good luck.

Cut it up!

  • I find the best tools for deconstructing to be a seam ripper, for quickly removing buttons, and a good pair of sharp dress shears.I save the taking apart event for an evening when I am couch-bound watching a chick flick movie on TV.
  • Remove the buttons. I save them in a pretty glass jar for decoration. I have dreams of using them to tack a quilt. You can also gift them to someone who collects buttons, and spread the love.
  • Remove the neck band and collar. Throw the neck band away, saving the collar fabric if there is no stiff interfacing bonded to it. I cut the layers apart on the seam, saving the one piece that is not interfaced.
  • Remove sleeve cuffs. Cut through all the layers on stitching lines to separate them. Toss the part with the fused interfacing and save the one layer that is not interfaced.
  • Remove the pockets. The seam ripper will help to get this process started as there is usually triangle backstitching at the upper corners. Collars, cuffs and pockets are the perfect size to cut up for string piecing projects.
  • Remove the button plackets. I usually just snip and rip these, and toss. There isn’t much that can be saved there.
  • Turn the shirt inside out and simply cut off all the seams and hems.
    Discard the yoke if it is bonded to interfacing. Often it is a good source for fabric because it is two layers.
  • Finally, discard ANY parts of the clothing that are too worn to be used.


And this is just the START!! There is so much more that I wish I could tell you but I’ve probably already taken up more space than I should!

Don’t you know – Quilting isn’t just a “hobby”! It is a life style choice! It’s who we are --- not just what we do. I’m a Quilter! And my life is so enriched because of it!

Happy Stitches, Everyone!


  1. Thank you Bonnie for including a tribute to Oscar ~~ We all love and need our quilty 4 pawed pals, don't we?? =^..^=

  2. Anonymous11:31 AM EDT

    Have been following your blog since you practically started this blog, am still not organized but was able to do your mystery quilt and finished it, it is now in our bed. Thank you for your generosity, could not believe that there are still quilters around who have not heard about you, I am in Berlin, Germany and had to tell my Canadian girlfriend about your site. How cool is that.

  3. Anonymous4:14 AM EST

    I have been reading your website and you gave me lot of good ideas. Regarding cutting up the shirts for quilting pieces, I save the collars, cuffs and yokes and use them for tension and stitches testing. When they are full of various stitches, I then throw them away.


  4. Thank you for sharing, I would never have thought of using old shirts and will now be on the lookout for shirts. Many times I've seen shirts and loved the fabric but didn't think it would work but now I will.

  5. Anonymous12:23 PM EST

    When I first started quilting That was the first thing I was buying was shirts! I still look for them

  6. I am excited to see your new book. Oh I just have to buy it next payday.

  7. Oh I just love the new book. Some great quilts there.
    I really like to make string blocks so the quilts with them will really get my attention.

  8. I am excited to see your new book. Oh I just have to buy it next payday.

  9. this is a wonderful way to repurpose shirts, many of the clothes donated to thrift are baled up and sent overseas. our disposable society is nuts!


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