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Most of us have way too many T-shirts. You would think tossing some old shirts into a rag bag or a Goodwill-bound box would be easy work. But often it’s not. The reason? We are emotionally attached to our T-shirts.

Who could throw away her first Springsteen concert T-shirt? Or the one from that cool tiki bar in the Bahamas? And what about that Atlanta Falcons Hanes Beefy Tee you wore every day for a year even though you can’t name one player on the team? If you just can’t seem to part with those wearable messages, here’s a way to have your Tees and clean out your closet, too. Turn them into a quilt.

Milwaukee artist Kelly Modra makes gorgeous T-shirt quilts that are almost too pretty to put on your bed. These quilts, made from as many T-shirts as her customers provide, (usually from 20 - 40), make great wall hangings and great conversation pieces. Made up of your stitched-together memories, these soft sculptures are true works of art. Says Modra, “People don’t want to give their t-shirts up but can’t have them just sitting in the closet either, so this was kind of a pack rats way of hanging on to the memories in a way that is functional and useful and out in the open.”

Modra, who recently graduated with honors from The University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, specializes in sculpture that often involves beads and fabrics. To make her quilts, she first cuts the T-shirts into even squares then sews them together with a machine. Most of the quilts have two decorative sides to them, great for those of us who have kept every T-shirt from every charity race we have ever run.

To reach Kelly Modra, please e-mail and she’ll get back to you. From $325 (depending on size and number of t-shirts provided)

Article written by M.B.Roberts / Issue 45 - September 2018
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