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My little brother, Ben, graduated from high school on May 15th. Here is the graduation gift I made him:

I started with a stack of tshirts that he accumulated throughout his high school extra-curriculars…

And these patches he was awarded in league bowling (he is a really amazing bowler and is going on to bowl at the collegiate level next year for Dana College)…

I made a quilt with my husband’s and my T-shirts several years ago in which I cut the same size quilt square from the front and back of every T-shirt. Since Ben had a lot of variety in the sizes of the usable design of each shirt (like really big numbers on old football and baseball jerseys but also small numbers and/or patches on the sleeves), I wanted to make his quilt with a hodge podge of different size quilt pieces. This took a bit of planning. First, I measured the minimum size of quilt block that would need to be cut from each T-shirt in order to capture the whole print, number, or patch and made a list (it took the front and back of one page)…

Then I figured out how I might piece them all together on graph paper. It is a good thing I am kind of a dork and like puzzles…because this was one. It was not easy to figure out how to make a bunch of random size pieces fit into a perfect rectangle and not have any pieces of the same color touching. The size of some of the pieces had to be adjusted to make it work (since I measured the minimum size for each piece originally, there was no problem with making it bigger and leaving more blank space around the design).

With my plan in hand, I chopped up all the T-shirts, and sewed them together (again a bit of a puzzle to satisfy my nerdiness). I was still diligently working on the day we had planned on hitting the road for his ceremony and reception, so I never stopped to take pictures throughout the process…sorry…that is why I called this a gift idea, not a tutorial.

The back is a micro plush blanket that I bought at Target and cut to the same size (it is super soft!!!). The final dimensions of the quilt were 66 inches by 103 inches, so it required a king size blanket to accommodate the length (it is about the equivalent of a extra-long twin size comforter). I used about every last square inch of his football jersey for the binding. The binding is all hand-stitched, and I am proud to say I finished the last stitch as I pulled into the driveway on the way back from the graduation ceremony. It was spread across the couch as a part of the “shrine de la Ben” (the spread of photos, trophies, certificates, etc. which were out for his reception). Which I decided to share with you…what can I say?…I’m kinda proud!


See the quilt in the bottom corner of this last pic?

Here my sister and I are with the handsome grad…

Congratulations Ben!!!

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  1. Grammy Sammy says:

    Ben…what a great quilt to cover your long frame! It is so nice to have a useful and handsome memento of your high school days, but the best ‘award’ is your being a vital part of a terrifically talented family. Wishing you well for all of your college days. Knock ’em dead in bowling! Fred and Jean…ahhh…three down and three to go! I know your buttons are bursting. Alisha…what a gift of love. Too neat. Love from your craft-challenged mother-in-law who stands in awe. Penny

  2. gail says:

    I made one of these when my daughter jamie graduated from college in 2000. I don’t even know where it is now. 🙁
    It was a very warm quilt for sure!
    great job on your quilt.

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