T-shirt Quilts

What if I told you I don't stabilize the shirts before making a t-shirt quilt? It feels like a dirty secret among some of us because so many quilters insist stabilizer is the only way to get the results you want. 

T-shirt quilt with maroon sashing. 

But this quilt isn't stabilized. 

Stabilizing quilts is a great idea for new quilters. If you are going to work on one quilt and you really want it as close to perfect as possible, then stabilize away! 

There are good reasons, however not to stabilize: 

1. The stabilizer will eventually degrade and pull away from the quilt top. That means you could have a lump develop between the quilted areas. 

2. The quilts are stiffer. I like a soft, movable quilt that can be folded and washed. Depending on the stabilizer, they can make things feel a little too bulky for my liking.

3. It takes time--a LOT of time to stabilize, and I just don't see the results to justify it when I know other techniques can overcome this challenge. 

4. I find stabilizer drags under my presser feet worse than the propensity for t-shirts to distort. There are feet that can overcome this, but why purchase a foot when the problem prompts you to think of a new solution?

There are challenges to not stabilizing. I'm not here to convince you not to stabilize if you feel most comfortable doing so. There's no "right" way to make your quilt!

T-shirts scoot around, they stretch and curl, they drag under your presser foot...if not stabilizing frustrates you, then just do it. 

In my next blog post, I'll discuss how I've overcome the challenges of instability. 


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1 comment

  • I have made several T-shirt quilts, all stabilized. All for customers so I haven’t seen any after a great amount of use. Look forward to trying your method.

    Nina Keester

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