SOS for Quilts


SOS for Quilts!
Save Our Shirts or Skirts! Don’t throw away old shirts and skirts, recycle them instead. Cutting those well worn and probably well loved garments into strips then turning them into quilts/bags or cushions is a great way to re-use the materials. Not only will you create a delightful and oh sew easy to sew article but every time you look at the fabrics, it will be a walk down memory lane. By Jennie Rayment
SOS for Quilts
Finished size
66cm (26”) wide x 66cm (26”) high
3/4 old shirts/shirts or other garment scraps 
50cm x 110/115cm (18” x 44/45”) fabric for sashing, bordering and binding
35cm x 110/115cm (15” x 44/45”) calico/curtain lining/old sheeting for block backing fabric
70cm x 110/115cm (27” x 44/45”) lightweight wadding
70cm x 110/115cm (27” x 44/45”) quilt backing fabric
Twelve buttons
Thread to match fabrics
Cutting List
From shirts/skirts
Cut a variety of strips in different widths from 4.5cm - 7cm (1½” - 2¾”)
(Cut strips across the material from side to side of the shirts/skirts)
Four 4.5cm (1½”) squares (for use in sashing)
From block backing fabric
Nine 16.5cm (6½”) squares
From sashing/bordering/binding fabric
Twelve 16.5cm x 4.5cm (6½” x 1½”) strips -sashing
Two 8cm x 52.5cm (3” x 21”) strips - border
Two 8cm x 65.5cm (3” x 26”) strips - border
Three 5cm x 110/115cm (2½” x 44/45”) strips - binding
From wadding
One 70cm (27”) square
From quilt backing fabric
One 70cm (27”) square
Pattern Notes
0.75cm (¼”) seam allowance is used throughout

 Step 1 Start sewing strips
Select one of the cut strips of shirt/shirt fabric. Arrange it diagonally R/S up across the 16.5cm (6½”) square. Pin the strip in place. Lay a second strip on top R/S together. Sew along the raw edge as shown. Lift this strip up and fold back. Repeat on the other side of the central strip with a different coloured strip of fabric. Press both seams carefully.
 Step 2 Repeat the technique
Continue adding strips in the same way until the entire surface area of the 16.5cm (6½”) square is covered. Play with the arrangement of your chosen colour combinations and different cut widths of strips. (This method of covering a backing fabric is often called ‘Stitch and Flip’ - you ‘stitch’ the strips in place and ‘flip’ them back to form the
Step 3 Keep going
Repeat Steps 1 2 and cover the remaining eight 16.5cm (6½”) squares with a variety of strips attached in a random manner or arranged in a desired order - it is your choice.
Step 4 Trim and square off
Press each block well. Turn the block to W/S and trim the excess material back to the edge of the 16.5cm (6½”) backing fabric.
Step 5 Arrange the design
Lay out the nine squares and insert the twelve 16.5cm x 4.5cm (6½” x 1½”) strips and four 4.5cm squares in the gaps as shown. Why not play with the arrangement of the16.5cm (6½”) squares and see what happens to the appearance of the overall design if you turn the squares in different directions?
Step 6 Sew squares together
Systematically stitch the strips and squares to the relevant sides of the squares. These strips form the sashing (borders between the blocks). Press the seams as open and flat as possible. Join these sections together to form larger segments. Sew these pieces together to form a big square.
Step 7 Attach the border strips.
Measure opposite sides of the completed square and trim both 8cm x 52.5cm (3” x 21”) strips to this length. (If necessary take the average measurement of the sides.) Attach the trimmed strips to opposite sides of the square. Pin the strips in place before sewing. (Should there be any discrepancy in the measurements of the sides of the square a little judicial ‘easing’ (i.e. give the strip a good pull) might be required when the side strips are stitched in place!) Attach the remaining two strips to the top and bottom - check the measurements and cut both 8cm x 65.5cm (3” x 26”) strips to the correct length before sewing in place. (Ease into place if necessary). Press seams well.
Step 8 Layer the quilt
Lay the 70cm (27”) square of backing fabric on a flat surface and place the wadding on top. Carefully place the top of the quilt down smoothing all wrinkles out. Pin the three layers together well. Using a long hand stitch sew closely round the outside edges to anchor all three layers together. If you prefer to sew on the machine - use the walking foot to prevent the layers creeping and causing a distorted edge.
Step 9 Add buttons
Why not use up old shirt or skirt buttons to anchor the three layers together? Sew the selected buttons through all the layers at the junctions of the sashing with the borders and on the four small squares in the centre.
Step 10 Bind the raw edges
Use the three 5cm x 110/115cm (2½” x 44/45”) strips to bind the raw edges. Attach the strips to all four sides as explained in step 7. Fold the strips over the outside edge of the quilt to the back. Fold the raw edge of the strip under before hand stitching in place. Should you choose to sew the final stage of the binding on the machine then a walking foot must be used or one of the multi-layers will creep thus causing distortion along the outside edge.
Now you understand this method - why not make more blocks in a different size and sew together for a larger quilt or just utilise some old scraps and sew four blocks together to make a bag panel or cushion front? You will never need to throw any fabric away as every type of material can be combined in this technique.

 Copyright Jennie Rayment 2013