"Quilted T-Shirt Poncho - patchwork side" approx. 58" diameter, made for Project Quilting, Season 5, Challenge 2: Upcycled, Jan. 2014
Challenge recap for "Upcycled":
The front, back, borders, binding and embellishments should all be made from materials that have had a previous life as something else. You may use new thread and batting. Your project must include at least two items that were never intended for use in a quilt or clothing.
I’ve made several quilts using upcycled material: a wall hanging made from a wedding dress, a wall hanging made from neckties, little purses made from neckties, and many quilts made with t-shirts and other clothing. I’ve made so many t-shirt quilts that I had amassed a large stash of t-shirt backs.Awhile back I thought it would be neat to make a cape or poncho using the t-shirt scraps. I even remember thinking “perhaps it will fit for one of the Project Quilting challenges this year.” When I saw this week’s challenge my first thought was “Yes! Now I can cross t-shirt poncho off my list of things to make.” My second thought was “Oh no! Now I have to make a t-shirt poncho!”
The first thing I did was go through my stash of t-shirt scraps. I cut them so they were all 11" by approximately 9" (some were a little less than 9", some a little more). I set up two of my 6' folding tables and decided I'd make the poncho just under 60" wide, because that's how wide the two tables are when pushed together.
I sewed the patchwork rows together...and sewed...and sewed. I decided that one layer of shirts wasn't really enough to keep me warm and thought I'd make it reversible, with something different on the other side. I made the back side with 12 pie-shaped pieces, which went together faster, although I did spend too much time figuring out how to make a pie-shaped template the correct size.
Here's the other side, the "formal side" as I call it. This side actually alternates two black then one gray pie shape so when my arms are down the grays look more like thin accents.
I didn't have enough large pieces of black or gray t-shirts in my stash, but my husband had two black shirts and one gray shirt that he didn't wear anymore and he gladly donated them to the cause. By using the inside of the shirt (so the printed side wouldn't show) I was able to get 3-4 pie shapes from his extra large t-shirts.
Here's the poncho laid out so you can see both sides. I didn't put any batting between the layers because I didn't want it to be too bulky to wear, but I did baste and quilt it. Because t-shirt material doesn't fray I just sewed around the edges with a straight stitch.
If you’ve ever talked to my about quilting, you’ve probably heard me say that I only sew quilts, I don’t sew curtains or clothing. So this really was a challenge for me, even though the poncho doesn’t have arms, buttons, pockets, or even a hood.
The "two items that were never intended for use in a quilt or clothing" were the two spools I put on the end of the tie strings.