The Shirt Saga Continues

Throughout my shirt destruction, I’ve gotten many questions.  Hopefully I can answer a few of them here.  If you are new to this topic here’s a little back ground.  I am in love with Bonnie Hunter’s new book Scraps and Shirttails II.  I want to make several of the quilts in the book  just as they are and that means, I need men’s shirts to provide the fabric.

My shirts are all destructed.  Now I need to cut them into strips for my scrap user’s system.  I cut strips into 4 different sizes:  1.5″, 2″, 2.5″ and 3.5 inches.


Bonnie’s quilt are made primarily with these same sizes.  I’ve looked through Bonnie’s book and made a chart that shows what sizes I need to make each quilt.  Here is a link to the chart (I couldn’t figure out how to link it so I had to send you to my website).  If you print the chart, you will see that I made notations.  A “b” in the 1.5″ column means that I need bricks or squares that are 1.5″ x 1.5″.  If there is a “s-tri” in the 3.5″ column, that means that I’ll be cutting strips that are 3.5″ but those strips will eventually be cut with my easy angle or companion angle.  It there is a “s” in the 2.5″ column, that means I need strips that are 2.5″.

Now I just consult the chart and cut….I know I want to make Rectangle Wrangle and that uses LOTS of 2.5″ strips so I’ve been cutting quite a few of them.  It doesn’t really matter what size I cut…eventually they will all go into quilts.   If there are narrow strips left after I cut the 2.5″ strip, I cut them in to 2″ or 1.5″ strips.  If they are larger, I cut them into 3.5″ strips.  If they are odd shaped, I throw them in the strings bag.

As I am cutting, I am cutting out two quilts, Rectangle Wrangle and Criss Cross Applesauce because those are at the top of my list as favorites in the book.   Once those quilts are finished and I want to make another, I will just grab the box that has the piece sizes that I need and I can work out of that box.  Right now….my work area is a overwhelming mess…but six months from now when I am ready to make another quilt from the book, it will be a breeze and all the mess will be worth it!


If you are new to this, I want to make a recommendation.  Purchase an easy angle and a companion angle.  It will make your scrap saving MUCH easier.  These rulers work PERFECTLY with this system!  If a pattern calls for 3″ finished half square triangles, here’s what you do….get your Easy Angle ruler….
1.Grab two 3.5″ strips.
2.Layer them right sides together.
3.Align the ruler on the strip.
4.Cut the straight side, now the angled side.
5. Flip the ruler and cut again.  Continue until you are out of fabric or you have the appropriate number of pieces.

I have used this system with my regular scraps and I am TOTALLY in love with it.  It makes quilting so much quicker.  This system works really good with all of Bonnie’s patterns, the free ones at Quiltville or any in her books.  If you are fond of a different designer, take some time to read through their patterns and become familiar with their style.  You might find that you need different sized strips to accommodated their patterns.

I saved all the backs and one front panel of my shirts.  They are folded nice and neatly just like fat quarters.  If I need bigger pieces or if I need more a particular fabric, I can use it.  I am SO anxious to start sewing….hopefully over the next week I can tackle this mess and get some quality time with my sewing machine.

10 thoughts on “The Shirt Saga Continues”

  1. Thank you so much for the shout out!! I am so thrilled that you like the patterns in the books. I was afraid that quilts with MANY SMALL PIECES would scare people off, but I think we are tired of everything looking like plain huge squares and need a challenge once in a while! Nice to have another shirt addict on board!


  2. Jo, Thanks so much!!! I know this took a lot of effort–you’ve saved me so much time. I really like your addition of the s, s-tri, and b. Your blog is so informative. Smith Mountain Morning is top of my list. Sandi

  3. Jo, How great is this chart!! Printed it out and now ready to cut all my shirts into useable pieces. Thanks a lot.

  4. Thank you SO much for the chart! I am anxiously awaiting my copy of Scraps & Shirttails 2 & already have my eye set on making a number of quilts; this will help tremendously. And I am glad to have found your blog! :-)

  5. Thank you for the chart – much appreciated! Now I can prepare while waiting to buy the book – Oh and you have a really cool site – I sent the site to my daughter and her husband for my grandson!

  6. My first introduction to quilts was when I was married 31 years ago. My husband’s grandmother worked for a local factory that made shirts for many different companies. She would bring home shirts (maybe rejects or mismatched) and leftoever pieces of fabric and make quilts out of them. The batting would be an old blanket and then shirt backing (bigger pieces). She had made one for all her grandchildren and we had one. While the other siblings would take theirs to the beach and use them for anything, ours went on the bed. It was very warm and I treasured it. Now that I am divorced – can I tell you one of the items that went with me – yup – that quilt. Although I don’t use it now, as it is getting worn, I have it tucked away safely. And now – many years later, I am quilting. Always remembered that quilt. So, my story means that – shirts make very nice quilts that will be treasured for a long time!

  7. Pingback: Sunday Stash Report — Jo's Country Junction

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