Projects · Uncategorized

Oboe Life: Take 18 – T-Shirt Quilt has left me empty

Hard Work Pays Off

Yeah, it can go for music since my hard work of oboe playing has led me to studying music, but this hard work goes towards something else.


Over the years, I accumulated many T-shirts from my school’s band program, or the school’s science clubs, or anything from the school, and most of the time I only wore those T-shirts because my closet was just filled with them. Although, I did have non T-shirts left to hang for months straight because I preferred the cotton feel and simplicity of wearing a T-shirt. Once high school ended  and my summer began I questioned whether or not I would even wear these shirts again in college. Even if I didn’t chose to wear them again, I didn’t want to just donate them. These shirts held memories for me! Some of them shows the dedication I put in the Band Program, the interest I had for science and academics, and the accomplishments of my youth. Some have meaningful stories of some great adventures or people who changed my view in life.

For instance, the gray shirt (3rd column from the left, 4th from the bottom) represents Steele Regiment’s first ever accomplishment of making it to SCSBOA Championships my junior year, and we placed 9th in the state in 1A category with me being section leader for the first time.

The white shirt that says “We ❤ Mr. Mac” was made by a girl in my Spanish Class for our Spanish teacher who had developed Prostate Cancer. I don’t really remember much about actual Spanish, but I do remember how Mr. MacFarland always kept his cool and was inspiring; he broke down once in class and I think it was the moment I realized how anything can really happen at anytime, so a lot of the things we have in life should be grateful and worthwhile.

The Navy Blue shirt below that white shirt with the double-helix and weird cartoonish looking diseases (they really are diseases. Click here) was designed by Sage Murphy-Cristal, a really great and talented friend since middle school, also very comedic in her satire ways. Her and a few others of us were part of a science club in middle school called Science Olympiad that was started by our friend Ethan Coston and his dad in 7th grade, and we continued being in this group for 6 years until our Senior Year of high school. Senior year was the first time I ever was placed within the 1st-20th place for the Forensics event with Yoshi; I competed in this event for 6 years against 72-80 teams in San Diego county, and I finally was able to bring home a ribbon for my school (could’ve placed in Write-It, Do-it also, but 21st…1 place away…).


As you can see, I didn’t donate any of these shirts. I made it into a nice cozy quilt, and I DID IT ALL BY HAND! Yeah, I don’t own a sewing machine, but I was determined to finish this thing before Fall came around in Southern California. So, needle, white thread, and perseverance is all I had to make it. Of course, I had to get other materials like a rotating cutter, healing craft board, giant ruler, 4 yrds of cotton batting and cotton fabric (not cheap by the way). It was really interesting how I went about it. I looked up some steps and watched some videos, and I kind of just went with what seemed to be right. The hard part was sewing the T-shirts together because I didn’t cut them to be all squares of the same shape, some were like rectangles and were different sizes, so I had to deal with it in weird ways. I think for this part of my quilt, having a sewing machine would’ve helped a lot. I have some weird bumps and awkward corners sticking out just because I did it weirdly. Also, not all of my T-shirts got a chance to show off it’s full image just because I dealt with limited spacing and the way I approached it just didn’t work. Overall though I’m happy with how it ended up. I just can’t bring myself to fully believe that I made it with only thread and needle. It took me 2-3 months of my free time between stuff I had to do for school or home, but most of my free time was on the quilt. If I had that sewing machine, maybe it would’ve taken me a month or so. It’s so blissful and wonderful, I’m happy.

But now I question with what my next project should be. I’m thinking of doing a small cross stitching project for my school’s reed room. Gotta leave my mark one way or another. Or perhaps bring out the knitting supplies again since winter will be coming and some people need scarves or socks. I’ll figure it out this week. It’s only beginning November, I got time.

I’ll see if I can make a How-To on how I made my T-Shirt quilt, and go more in-depth of what methods should work if doing it all by hand, especially because most T-Shirt quilts I see online are basic because the T-Shirts people cut out are all the same dimensions, so it’s easier to work with. I’ll be explaining ways of dealing with it if T-shirts are cut in different sizes. For now, enjoy some of the process pictures.


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