Monday, September 05, 2011

I love these quilts -- special edition

From the time I was very small, I was a frequenter of thrift stores. My Mom, while not a quilter, was a good seamstress; at the thrift stores, she would buy for herself and for me clothing to wear and clothing to alter into other things. My Halloween costume when I was 5 or 6 years old was made from a quilted, leopard-printed circle skirt -- she made a pair of pants, shirt, tail and little tie-on cap with cat ears -- all that was left to do was draw whiskers on my face with an eyebrow pencil. So I have always looked at used clothing as a possible source for fabric.

I am not alone in doing this. There are many quilters who use the good cloth in old clothing for their quilt projects and have many reasons for doing so -- economy, philosophy, memory, to name a few.

Men's office shirts are a great fabric source. The many shades of blues, the many varieties of stripes, plaids and checks make for lovely quilts. Here is one by meliBismakingthings.

Recycled business shirts

This awesome one, called Office Stripes, was made by Binita.

Some quilters have more of a philosophy to use thrifted clothing and textiles in their quilts. LeilaBadBlood is one. She has made many beautiful quilts from recycled cottons and linens and has been commissioned to make quilts using family textiles. One of my favorites is M's Quilt.

M's quilt

Another and special category of quilt from clothing is the remaking of a loved ones things into a memory quilt. As quilters, we can take a stack beloved dresses or shirts or pants and create for ourselves something that will always bring to mind our loved ones. sewandtellquilts did that with her Grandmother's dresses and her Grandfather's shirts.

Grandma's Dresses

Grandpa's Shirts Memorial quilt

Even without knowing these people, I can look at these quilts and peak inside the lives of the people who wore these clothes -- Grandma loved her flowered dresses, Grandpa was more traditional with his plaid shirts.

I will always be grateful to completely cauchy not only for this blog post, but for bringing to my attention the wonderful This I Believe essay by Priya Chandrasekan. "I believe that to love, and to bare the boundless depth of our love, we must have the courage to reshape what we inherit."

Sometimes we quilters can give a wonderful gift to friends mourning a loss. Look at this lovely post by nifty quilts -- Sacred Work indeed. J R Webb was also able to provide a beautiful memory for someone. He made this amazing quilt and even a necklace with the buttons from the shirts.


I would be remiss if I did not mention Sherri Lynn Wood and her Passage Quilts. Sherri teaches, consults and does commissions of the making of these beautiful and touching quilts that commemorate lives. A lovely example is her quilt made from her Grandmother's clothing, a gift to her Father.

Georgia Marie Wood (1917 - 2003)

"Old clothes carry something with them. You can feel the presence of the person who used to wear them. It has a spirit in them. Even if I don't know the person, I know someone wore these pants, and it feels lovely and warm to me."
Mary Lee Bendolph
Gee's Bend, Alabama

My thanks to everyone who allowed me to use their quilt here. You can find these and other "I LOVE these quilts!" in my flickr gallery.


beth said...

Thanks for that great quilt show.

Karamat said...

Lovely quilts! I've saved my favorite of Megan's infant clothes to turn into a quilt someday.

Binita said...

Enjoyed reading your article and seeing what others are doing with recycling fabrics. Thanks for including Office Stripes. I'm in the process of collecting more old shirts for another one. Will keep you posted.

Nifty Quilts said...

What a wonderful post! I will look up all of the links soon. I hope this reminds everyone to save their loved ones' old clothes for the tangible comfort they can provide in quilts!

Bry said...

Oooohhh awesome selection! I am totally digging that office stripes one in particular!

meli B said...

I just saw my quilt on Nifty Quilt's side bar. I forgot that you were going to use it. Thanks for the lovely post. You have found some great pieces out there.

Sewandtellquilts said...

Wonderful! I feel honored to have my work included!

Sewandtellquilts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachaeldaisy said...

What a truly great post!! I'm such a sucker for the latest fabric by the latest designer that I sometimes forget what quilting is about. This collection of memory quilts is just so special!! Heart warming!! I'm off to follow the links.

Suzanne said...

Truly a warm sentiment! I wish I could pull up a chair and have a chat with you about your quilts and the ones you mentioned.