I had the opportunity to create my first Kentucky Derby Quilt! It began with 20 t shirts. My client and I sent at least 40 emails back and forth and had several phone calls to hone in on the design. She originally wanted a piano key border like the ones I’ve used in the button down shirt quilt. However, she and I came to realize that is only effective if you are using fabrics that are incorporated into the design. Instead, we chose to create accent borders. I like to use “blender” fabrics with my quilts. I was not familiar with this term until recently. Due to Covid, I had to do much of my fabric shopping online and soon learned that blender fabrics are great for accenting quilt blocks. I like the look of a solid color but the interest that a pattern gives. I created mockups using photoshop and Power Point and we honed in on the charcoal color for the t shirt windowpanes, the red and the larger blue panel. These colors were found in the shirts and are related to the Kentucky Derby.

Due to the desire for 20 blocks, I used a 13.25″ block to cut the t shirts. The charcoal sashing was cut to 3.5″ wide, the red accent 1.5″ and the blue border, 5″. I created a traditional binding with the charcoal fabric and cut that to 2.5″. The final size of the quilt is 73″ x 91″

My client couldn’t decide between a wall hanging and cozy quilt, so I created both! The quilt has a sleeve in which a rod can be placed. That is shown below with the bottom layer hand-stitched.

To create a cozy backing without too much weight and bulk, I used an extra wide minky cuddle 3. I contemplated using spray basting but, instead, simply pinned the quilt out on my floor. I did not put that many pins in and it quilted just fine. Since I don’t use batting, I don’t have to quilt every 9-10″. I stitched around the outside borders and then around the blocks.

In addition to the Kentucky Derby quilt, I made a 25 block quilt blanket out of her daughter’s soccer shirts. I sewed a traditional binding onto this quilt, also. Due to the thickness of the seal minky, I cut the binding fabric to 3.5″.

She selected a minky seal backing. This backing is the most incredibly soft backing I have ever felt!

It was a lot of fun to create these special projects and I can’t wait for my client to deliver them to her daughter who is living in London.