Category Archives: Ask Jo

Ask Jo: About Buttons

Not too long ago I wrote a blog post about cutting up shirts and using them as fabric for quilts.  I’ve made many quilts with shirts and love doing so.  Here’s one of our most quilts…

Here’s a picture from our old house…Kalissa was a CNA and Ruby was little more than a pup.  The quilt is Criss Cross Applesauce.  It can be found in Bonnie Hunter’s book Scraps and Shirttails II.  This quilt is in my living room and is used all the time from everything from blanket houses to snuggling up in when someone is cold.  You can read the full post about the quilt HERE.

CrissCrossApplesauce-2
Anyway…in the post I wrote about deboning shirts and what part of the shirts I use.  You can find it HERE.  In the post I said that I saved the buttons but had no idea why.

I had a lot of responses about buttons after that post.  I thought I’d share a few of them here…. Continue reading

Ask Jo: Gannon

Terri asked:
“Can you explain the things on his chest in the first picture It looks like something weighted, like a weighted blanket for anxiety? I sew for a NICU unit and always looking for comfort items.”

I had posted a picture of Gannon and an update on the Jo’s Country Junction Facebook group.

This picture….


These are weights.  They are a heavier fabric and filled with those plastic filler beads.  Gannon seems to like them.  I think they put pressure on his tummy which helps with the gas pains.

The nurses told us that they often use these on kids with or without anxiety.

I had Kalissa take a picture of them.  See? Continue reading

Ask Jo: About Using Shirts

When questions come in from blog readers that I think others might like the answer to, I answer them here on the blog.  Today is one of those days.

Today’s question came from Bobbie:
Do you only use the backs of the shirts?  How do you use the fronts and sleeves?

This question came after I had been working on Baby Friedman’s quilt….


This quilt was made entirely of shirts…minus the red of course.

I’ve made several quilts from shirts and I absolutely love them.  They are instantly vintage especially if you can find a good 100% cotton sheet for the backing.  Seriously, one washing and the quilt feels like you’ve had it years.  I love that feeling.

I think my favorite shirt quilt is Rectangle Wrangle….Read all about the quilt HERE.

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I love-love-love it!!  Being I get shirts at such a cheap price sometimes I feel like I’m sewing for free.  I’m not but it sure feels that way sometimes.

I didn’t know anything about sewing with shirts until I heard about it from Bonnie Hunter.  Once I heard, I was right on board as I have had good thrift stores in my area.

But…back to the question…”Do you only use the backs of the shirts?  How do you use the fronts and sleeves?

The answer is…Some of each.  Sometimes I get LOTS and LOTS of shirts in all at once and then I get a little overwhelmed with them all so I take the backs off and then sell the rest of the the shirt to blog readers via one of my auctions.   When I feel like I need to get “caught up” and this is a quick easy way to get caught up.

Cutting up shirts does take time but it you get into a system, it’s not bad at all.  Most of the shirts I have gotten recently, I’ll be cutting up the whole shirt.  My scrap users system is low on strips so now is a good time to replenish.

I’ll show you what I do….Here’s the shirt I am working with….


I start out by making a slit on each of the sides along the buttons.  I then rip up to the collar.  
Then I take a scissors and and I cut around the collar.  Then I have this…
From here I make a couple cuts in the collar as shown then rip.  Interfacing in the shirts is always different.  Sometimes it’s stuck on the fabric.  If so I throw that piece.

This is what I have “harvested” so far…two great strips for my scrap bucket and buttons.  Yes, I save buttons.  I have yet to figure out why.


Next on to the cuffs.  I cut them off.

I make the slits and again rip.

I cut off and save those two pieces.

Next, these get cut off.
Then I cut the sleeves off.  I often cut through both thicknesses of fabric at the same time.  I also cut off the seams….


Next I cut on each side of the seam at the TOP of the sleeve.  Then I rip.
With that, the sleeves are done.

Now I start on the rest of the shirt.  A slit goes on each side of the side seam.

I rip up to the under arm and then start in on scissor work.  I cut out the yoke and cut the back off.
Then cut the fronts off.  I’ve gotten so I can do a shirt in about 7 minutes.  Time consuming yes but I still feel very well worth it.

This is my harvest from one shirt….. Continue reading

Ask Jo: Babies and Such

Every now and then blog readers send me a email or leave a comment in the comment section that I need to answer.  When I think other readers might be interested too, I answer them here on the blog. Today is one of those days…

From Susan the Farm Quilter:
How fun to have grands born so close together!! Congratulations on the grands and that moms and babies are doing well. Will you be able to take care of them both, like you do Carver??

Gannon will start childcare here at my house on March 19th….

it will only be two days a week for about six weeks.  Kalissa is on maternity leave from the hospital but she is also a clinical nursing instructor.  That job starts back up on the 19th but it’s only two days a week.


She’ll go back to her hospital job mid May.  Then Gannon will be here and come on the same days Carver does.

Georgia will be here… Continue reading