Wednesday, July 18, 2012

T-Shirt Quilt - How to Make Your Own

I'm finally back from camp. I spent a week in the mountains camping with hundreds of teenage girls from our church in my area. It was really fun, but boy did I miss my kids and modern conveniences - like a flushing toilet!

On with the tutorial

This is the biggest project I've worked on since having my second baby. It was a lot of work, but I absolutely love how it turned out. I finished it just before leaving for camp so I'm just now getting around to sharing it. 

Do you have a ton of t-shirts that you want to turn into a memory quilt? Here's how I made mine...

First I started by cutting off the neck and sleeves of all the shirts. 

I figured that the squares would be 14" based on the t-shirt with the biggest design. 

Once I had all the t-shirts cut out, I laid them down and played with their placement and I realized I wanted something in between the squares. 

So I did some planning. The friend I made this for wanted it more like a lap blanket than a bed quilt. So my dimensions were approximately 60" x 70". I wrote out the pattern of the colors and then came up with the idea for the part in between each square. 

I used some scrap cardboard to make templates for the different pieces. A 3" square for the center of inner border. There other template is 14" x 6" to make two strips of the inner border.

More cutting

Here is the tentative pattern after cutting all the pieces out.

And even more cutting....every piece is backed with medium weight fusible interfacing. I cut all the pieces of that and then ironed it on to the back. The interfacing gives the t-shirts a bit more weight and also prevents them from stretching too much when sewing them together.

So finally you'll get to the sewing. Basically I worked in rows. I started at the top and worked to the right. You'll put the right sides together and sew them.

I used about a 1/4" seam allowance, or just lined it up with my presser foot.

Once a line was sewed together I turned them over and ironed the seams down to keep it from being too bulky. 

Here is the finished quilt top. Naturally with a 4x4 pattern, it turned out to be a square. So I had to add a little to the top and a little to the bottom to make it more of a rectangle. 

Here is what happens when I tried to work on it while my kids are awake...hehe

Anyway, here's my solution. I added half a square to the top and bottom along with the inner border.

Ta da!

If only it were done with that. I finished it off with an outer border. 

I took grey fleece about 7" wide and 2 1/2 yards long and sewed to the edges. 

I made my first attempt at mitered corners. They're actually really easy. So fold diagonally so that the fabric from the two sides line up. 

Line up a straight edge with the edge of the fabric and mark to create a continuous line. 

Pin and sew along this line. 

Once the corners are done, you can cut off the excess fabric on each of the corners. 

This is the backing I made. To close the quilt I sewed around most of the blanket with the right sides facing and then flipped it inside out. 

Lastly, I top stitched it and tied the quilt.

 I'll have a separate tutorial on tying the quilt for another day. 

Et Voila!

 Like I said, I'm so happy with how it turned out. Now I just have to get up the courage to make one for myself. 


  1. This is great! I'd love to make a t-shirt quilt one of these days. I'll have to add it to that really long "someday list" ;-) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nice blanket! Such a great idea!

  3. Love the quilt, and the cute little model. I like the monotone colors.

  4. I can't believe you, or Carianne, still have all those shirts. I threw my CS shirts away ages ago. But good on you! Quilts are hard. I made one last summer. Not quite as neat as yours, but I'm lazy.

  5. I have made a ton of t-shirt quilts but never thought about backing it the way you did. What a great idea! And I love how the shirts you used are great since they are all the same color family. Beautiful!

  6. You did a fantastic job! I've seen these quilts with tee shirts from track team members and of course baseball shirts, but I've never had the guts to try a project like this - especially on someone else's memorabilia. Thanks for a wonderful tutorial. Maybe I'll try it on my stuff first! lol

    * Stopping by from Blissful & Domestic.

  7. This really turned out cute! And what a great use of t-shirts!

    I would love it if you would share this at the Smart Solutions linky party. You can link up here:

    Have a great day!

  8. This is so nice. My daughter and I had this idea several years ago but the missing component that would have made it work so much better was the panels between each square. Not being quilters, we just didn't even think of that. It's not too late to try again--she's acquired plenty of college shirts now!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. THis rocks! I've always wanted to make one for my girls. Great tutorial!
    We'd love it if you stopped in and linked it in our Crafty Showcase. It runs from Sat-Thur noon and then our Designers pick their favorites of the week.

    Thank you!

    Susie @Bowdabra

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Wow Alex turned out fabulous and what a great idea! Can you make me one with your kids awake? LOL

  12. This is so awesome. I wish I had saved all of my old shirts.I guess I'll just have to wait until I can do it for my kids.

  13. I have always wanted to know how to make a t-shirt quilt and was always a bit nervous about sewing knits. Your tutorial makes me feel like it really might be something I could tackle. Thanks for sharing this on A Crafty Soiree, I've featured it in the newest one up tonight at midnight. C'mon by and check it out when you can!

  14. Hi Alex,

    Thank you so much for linking this up to our Crafty Showcase. Your post was our #1 most clicked post! Stop on over to see your feature. We will give you a shout out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest today!

    Stop on over tomorrow and link up more of your awesome creations! Remember- the showcase runs Sat-Thur and then we pick the most clicked and our favorites and feature on Friday!

    have a super weekend,

    Susie @Bowdabra

    1. Opps! Here is the direct link

      Have a good one!

  15. What an awesome idea! I spent a year in the US when I was in High School and I have so many shirts sitting around from that time that I don't wear anymore. Guess I'll have to make myself a quilt like this one day. :-) Thanks for your tutorial!!!

    Greetings from France,

  16. Great job! I have had squares cut for over 5 years now, I need to finally make mine! How long did it take you?

    1. I did a little at a time here and there. I think it probably took me a week to do it, working mostly at night or during naptime, so maybe 2 hours a day. Once I had it all planned out and cut, then it was easy. Good luck! I'd love to see how yours turns out!

  17. I love this! I found your blog from House of Hepworths. I have a bunch of baby clothes from each of my children that I have been saving and I have been thinking about making each of them a quilt out of the clothes. My oldest child just turned 9 so I have been saving special clothes for 9 years. I think I have enough to make her a special quilt. I can't wait to have the time to sit down and pull out all of the clothes.

    1. I totally want to make a baby clothes quilt when I'm done having kids. I've seen several examples and they are just too cute! Thanks for coming by, Sheena, I really appreciate it!


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