Monday, April 21, 2014

Nonnie's Quilt

Does anyone else have a hard time choosing fabrics and patterns for guys?

My dear great-uncle, Nonnie, turned 81 this past week, and I started thinking about a potential quilt for him many months ago, but my previous attempts at boy quilts have been sub-par at best.

Last year during garage-sale season I got it into my head that I would make a quilt out of old shirts. I thought a St. Louis 16 Patch with mens shirts might be my solution to the boy-quilt dilemma.

One night…concealed by mask and cape…I snuck into the closet belonging to Mr. Sexy Pants, and stole a couple of button-downs that haven't seen the light of day in probably a decade. (P.S. …do all other guys hang on to every article of clothing until eternity, and go postal when threatened with a trip to Goodwill? I swear there are t-shirts in his drawer that must have once clothed a porcupine, but Sexy Pants won't listen to reason when it comes to spring cleaning.)

Anyway, back to the quilt at hand:
St. Louis 16 Patch

I ended up adding one of my own shirts to the mix, and rounding out the rest with a trip to Goodwill. There were moments of doubt when I started piecing these together - I'm not going to lie to you. I was trying hard not to plan anything…just grab strips and sew them together. But there is always some point during this process when I lean back to stretch, take a look at what's going on in front of me, and think, "What the heck was I thinking? Ugh!" Does this happen to any of you? As luck would have it, this happened at a point I deemed too-late-to-turn-back-now, so I pushed onward.

I'm glad I did, because when I eventually pulled the quilt off of the frame and got the binding on, I couldn't help but smile. I don't know what it is about this one, but I really dig it. It's simple and all-boy. I'm also happy with the fact that these old shirts have found a new cozy purpose in life. No longer do they have to hang (forgotten forever) in dark closets, or cry out from a sea of thousands of other previously loved shirts at the Madison Goodwill for someone to please take them home.


Juki 2010Q & Grace FrameI got a call from Nonnie in Maine when he received his quilt on Saturday, and he was very pleased. I wish I could have been there to see him open it, but I know it will keep him cozy during his naps. :)

The quilt back is black yarn-dyed Essex Linen by Robert Kaufman, and the binding is from the freebie table that was generously sponsored by JoAnn Fabrics at Sew South! I quilted it on my Grace Frame & Juki 2010Q with a printed pantograph from the awesome Quilt CAD software by Grace.

Black & White Quilt Picture

Happy Quilting :)


  1. I love this quilt and the beautiful story behind it. And yes all men are the same. Mr. Romance has shirts from the 80's in his closet. Jeans too ! I know your uncle will love it.

  2. Fabulous quilt! I made one, or, correction, it's a UFO right now, of men's upcycled shirts, too. and WHEN it's finished it will go to my son's friend who has had a tough year. I'll have to see if the JoAnn's near me ever has a freebie table!

  3. This turned out so great! What a good idea!

  4. I really love this. So glad you pressed on. We snagged a few JoAnn freebies for charity quilt backings. They were really generous. My husband will go through his closet and then announce that he "needs" six new shirts and four new pairs of pants. I keep trying to get him to space things out to no avail. And you know that they don't "shop" either. It is go in one store, pick out what they want (sale or not) and go to the register.