Introduction: Button-up-cycle Bereavement Quilt Top
Bereavement or passage quilting is a thoughtful way of creating a lasting family heirloom. This clean design lends itself to the tailored style of men's dress shirts and their characteristic stripes, though it could also be completed with other items of clothing. This strip construction tutorial is ideal even for the most novice quilter.
- Men's button-ups, or other woven clothing (teeshirts or complicated weaves like herringbone won't work well for this tutorial)
- Scissors, straight-edge and a rotary cutting wheel
- Sewing machine
(1) Gather supplies. It's not important that your shirts are ironed. The example quilt used eight large and x-large shirts, including sleeves.
(2) Make short snips (1-2 inches) along the bottom hemline of the shirts. I chose to variegate the length between snips. Keep in mind that the straighter the snip, the easier the next step will be. When working with the sleeves, you are going to need to completely cut off the original cuff, then proceed with starter snips.
(3) Carefully rip the shirt at each snip point. Go slowly, but firmly to avoid "wandering" rips.
(4) When you come to seam (for example the shoulder seam), cut your strips away from the shirt.
(5) Iron each strip extremely flat. Now is also a good time to clean up any dangling threads.
(6) Begin sewing strips together. For ease of construction, match long strips with other long strips, and short pieces with other short pieces. The example quilt features 10x10 inch blocks, and this means that approximately 4-6 strips sewn together were sufficient. Make as many strip composite pieces as your strips allow.
(7) Using a rotary tool, trim strip composites to 10x10 inches or your desired size. You will likely be able to get two blocks from each composite piece.
(8) Lay out your blocks in desired pattern. My blocks measured 5x6 blocks and I chose to oscillate the direction of the stripes - horizontal, vertical, horizontal, etc.
(9) Sew blocks together according to the layout you have designed.
(10) Congratulations on your quilt top!