Planning & Prepping: Football Quilt

My grandpa Chet is one unique guy. I figured he could use a really unique quilt for his 90th birthday.

He loves the Green Bay Packers, so I knew right away I wanted to make him an awesome Packers quilt. I also didn't want it to take too long, since I only had about 6 days to put it together!

An idea popped into my head as I was lying in bed... I was inspired to do star points because I've been binge-watching Angela Walters' Midnight Quilt Show recently, and her first episode featured some large blocks made with them. I sketched out a quick plan on a piece of notebook paper.


I decided to use a few old t-shirts from St. Vinny's as the official Packers stuff (NFL fabric is EXPENSIVE! And it only comes in like two variations...). I picked out a bunch of old shirts from the Packers section that had similarly-styled printed logos on them. I knew I wanted two yellow ones and two green ones for balance. One of the shirts I picked was a two-fer... it had a print on the front and the back! Score!

$16.50 worth of Packers gear. Worth it!

I also checked out the craft section at St. V's and found some great pieces of dark green fabric. I'm so glad I did, because dark green is oddly hard to find in stores... like, really hard! I was only able to find two fat quarters in a deep forest green batik. I think it was a sign that this quilt was meant to be... they even ended up being almost exactly the amount I needed. Just be sure to wash them well. I didn't realize it until I started ironing them, but some of these definitely smelled like they had been in granny's damp dark basement for a looooong time.

And here's $7 worth of fabric; a little over 3 yards. I didn't end up using the front two...

Once I had the basic idea of how big each t-shirt print was (12x12"), I made a quick mock up in Illustrator to get the correct dimensions and proportions on everything, and to start assigning colors.

I wanted to put the large stars in the outer corners, with the green and yellow blocks opposing each other. I then wanted to blend them into each other along the edges with gradients of yellow and green. In the center, I designed a really big football block surrounded by more star points.


I needed to pick up a couple fabrics; some brown, a few golds/yellows, a white fat quarter, and a pastel green. Then I got to work cutting! 

 

I started with the shirts. I cut off the sleeves, then separated the fronts from the backs to get flat pieces. In order to stabilize the stretchy knit fabric, I used a light fusible interfacing and a hot iron. Definitely use a protective layer of fabric to press these! The interfacing tends to melt if it touches the iron directly, and the ink of the prints can also be affected by heat. I just used a spare fat quarter, and it was all fine. 


I saved the cool printed sleeves...


I then cut the 12.5" squares out of the t-shirts; don't forget seam allowances! :) I wanted my squares to be 12", so I added a quarter inch on each side. 



 

Sure, the prints aren't exactly centered on the blocks, but I did what I could with the limitations of neck holes and such. They still look great, and it was way more economical and unique than buying licensed fabric! 

I then cut up the rest of my fabrics. I'm working on putting together a PDF mini book on how to make this quilt... let me know in the comments if you'd be interested in purchasing it! I'm still working out the details on how I'd distribute it (this is all new to me! Perhaps via Etsy?), but I should have it mostly done soon.


I started by sewing the large football block in the center:

Parts, parts, parts.

Sew 3 pieces together, then cut into strips!

Assembled laces...

It's pretty darn big. 24.5" x 36.5". Looks awesome though!

This was the point where I stopped taking a lot of pictures and concentrated on getting this thing done. It was Friday night, and the party was on Sunday! 

I finally got all the front blocks pieced and sewn into rows. I decided that it would be easiest to quilt this beast in pieces instead of trying to shove the entire thing through the machine a million times. 

It's HUUUGE! Good thing I have a fairly large living room...

I bought a generous 2 yards of deep green fabric at Life's A Stitch while picking up my new-to-me sewing machine (yaaaayyyyy!), and completely spaced on the width. Ha ha. For some reason I was thinking it was 54" wide instead of 45", and figured that cutting it in half down the middle would be perfect for the upper and lower sections, which are each 24.5" wide. Duh. I added some strips of leftover yellow to the edges to make them wide enough. And then I started piecing together other scraps for the middle section. I made it my mission to not buy any more fabric for this project... so it's a bit funky. I did use up the rest of the t-shirt prints, as well as the printed sleeves I saved.

Haste makes waste... ha ha. Duh.

And then began the quilting! I LOVE my Husqvarna Designer Topaz... the work area is so much more open and spacious than what I'm used to, and it sews like a dream! There are a few things that baffle me about it, but I'll save my official critique for a more thought-out post. 

It's not the newest model... but it's definitely still an upgrade for me!

Work(s) in progress.



 

It's definitely coming together! I've just got a bit of top stitching to do on the center piece yet, and then I'm going to figure out how to put this thing together! I've never quilted something in pieces before, so this should be interesting...

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