A few weeks ago, I began the task of Unboxing Boxers for Quilting a Quilt for a quilt that I have been thinking about making for several months now. It took me a couple of weeks but I managed to get most of them to be one solid piece of fabric by taking out the middle seam between the legs and then the seam out of the back.
Unlike when I made My First Quilt and did not follow any pattern but instead, just started cutting and sewing, this time I picked out a pattern that I will attempt to follow. The problem with the pattern I picked out is that it assumes I bought fabric in a certain size and to cut it from those certain sized pieces – not from my old pairs of boxers.
Math has never been my strong point. I am sure if not for my creativity in coming up with my own formulas (or probably more so, literally dumb luck) I never would have barely passed Physics 11 with 51%. Looking at the pattern was taking me back to Math and Physics classes and feeling completely lost.
I studied the fractions and read the words for quite some time and on more than one occasion I eventually concluded that I needed to cut out two 6″ x 3.5″, one 6″ x 6.5″, one 4″ x 8.5″ and one 4″ x 5.5″ sized pieces from 12 different fabrics. I was fearing not having enough fabric but came to realize that I only needed half of each pair of boxers. The other half of the boxers I have folded and put aside while the leftover bits and pieces have gone into the scraps pile for making a scrappy quilt in the future.
I initially started with one of the harder pairs that had lines. It took me about an hour to cut up one pair and I was fearing how long it was going to take to get through 12 pairs of boxers! The second pair only took me about 20 minutes because after how long it took me to cut up the first pair, I did not care if the lines were perfect and this is after all a practice quilt that will be used outdoors.
If there was one lesson I learned from the last quilt I made: iron the fabric before cutting out the individual pieces for the patchwork. My experience has been that you cannot lay the fabric out perfectly flat to get a good straight cut if the fabric is not ironed before doing so. The fabric stretches, moves, crinkles and is otherwise not very cooperative before running a hot iron over it right before you take the rotary cutter to it.
Taking this lesson into account, I was trying to cut out the individual pieces for the patchwork but was finding that even though I was ironing it out, it was not completely flat because there was still some “pull” from where the seams had been and/or still were. The upside to it taking me almost an hour with the first pair was I learned how to do it faster and where not to waste time ironing.
After cutting out the second pair and having been at it for closer to 2 hours on both pairs, I decided to just prep the one half of the boxers I would be using for making the quilt. The further along I got, the less I cared about whether or not it was a perfect cut. Where there were straight lines that could be cut out with the lipped quilting ruler, I would use it. But when it came to cutting out the opening on the front of the boxers, I went freestyle with the rotary cutter. It took me about an hour to prep the last 8 pairs (I still need to seam rip another 2 pairs) in this manner.
Now that most of the fabric is prepped for being cut into their individual pieces, I just need to iron and cut them out:
I have to admit that I was feeling extremely overwhelmed and wondering what I had gotten myself into when calculating that it might take me upwards of 10 hours just to prep the pieces for sewing together! Remember, math is NOT my strong point but problem solving and removing bottlenecks thankfully is. After changing how I was preparing the fabric for cutting out the individual patchwork pieces, I am hoping that it will not be too much longer before I can sit down at the sewing machine to start sewing the pieces together for the quilt top.
I do still have a bit of preparatory work to do. I need to pick out which solid color I will use for the rest of the quilt top and prepare the last two pairs of boxers for the quilt. At this point, I am feeling a little less overwhelmed and getting excited about pulling out the sewing machine!
Wish me luck!