Tuesday, August 10, 2010

T-Shirt Quilt

I started this T-shirt quilt about a year and a half ago, by cutting up all my old high school T-shirts into 14" blocks.....then I didn't know what to do next and they sat in a storage bin. After some coaxing from some fellow crafty and quilty (yes its a word now) ladies, I hunkered down and got it all done in about 3 days, with many breaks in between.

I didn't know I was going to write a semi-tutorial on this...so bare with me, the pictures aren't all here, but I'll try my best to explain things as I go. This makes a T-shirt quilt that is about the size of a twin bed.

First up, Supplies:

  • 24 T-shirts, too precious to throw away, yet taking up space in the closet
  • 9 yards of 20" light/medium weight fuse-able interfacing with left overs
  • 2 yards of 90" batting, mine is natural cotton (with left overs)
  • 2.5 yards of 60" jersey knit material
  • 1 yard of cotton blend material for the border
  • 6 yards of 1 inch double fold bias tape (with left overs)
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors (this would be a fantastic time to invest in a rotary cutter, ruler, and mat. Believe me your hand will thank you)
  • Matching thread (or at least best you can, I primarily used white or grey thread).
  • Cereal box to make 12.5" square template
  • Ruler
  • Fabric marker
First cut all your T-shirts to a rough 13" block, there will be trimming after interfacing to a 12.5 inch block

Next interface all your T-shirts...this is by far the most time consuming process!! Is interfacing scary? Learn more here

Trim all T-shirts to 12.5 inch square

Set squares in the order you would like them to be (4 columns, 6 rows) - I only had 20 T-shirts so I supplemented some old patches off of a pair of "Tiger spirit" over-alls on jersey knit in the four corners

Sew squares face to face with 1/4 inch seam starting with the rows. Then sew the rows together. Try your best to line up each "intersection" so the lines remain straight...but who is really going to notice if they are a few millimeters off? The only person who will notice is YOU!

Next cut a 4 inch border out of your 1 yard of accent fabric. Interface if you would like. Sew border to your squares using a 1/2 or 1/4 inch seam--what every you prefer!

Next lay out your T-shirt top part over your jersey knit and batting on the floor. Straighten everything out, cut all the way around, pin, then sew a rough 1/2 inch around just to temporarily hold the back jersey, batting, and t-shirts all in place.

This takes LOTS of patience, and perhaps an extra pair of hands!

Pin your bias tape all the way around, sew into place with the top facing you---so the front looks nice, sometimes the back of bias tape is known to 'wander' and doesn't look quite as neat. 

Next Stitch the ditch-or you can take it to a machine quilter and pay a couple hundred dollars for them to do it. What is stitch the ditch? Basically you re-sew all your seams from Tshirt panel, as well as the border. This helps hold batting in place and keep it from bunching up too bad in the wash. If you want to get really fancy you can sew around designs in each one of your T-shirts- I contemplated this for half a second then abandoned it- I don't have that kind of patience....yet

Yay you are done!! :-) Keep away from kitty and puppy toenails, as they may pull out a seam, or worse, rip a small hole in your jersey knit backing! 

To answer your burning question...yes I was on the drum line in high school, and I played marching snare- some of my best memories!

Foot ball game, waiting to get on the field

At a pep rally, cracking up with the snare line

Thanks for stopping by!! Hope this gave you some inspiration and/or motivation to make your own T-shirt quilt!! I have a feeling I'll hold onto mine for many many years, and pass it down to my children one day!!



  1. I've got some t-shirts from high school laying around... maybe someday I'll get brave enough to give this a try!

    Thanks for linking @Creative Itch's "Sew Cute Tuesday"!

  2. Hi there! I am visiting from Creative Itch. Awesome! I had to laugh at you explaining you were in the drumline before anyone could comment. Don't worry, I was in band too. Ha! Love the quilt! I am supposed to do a t-shirt quilt for a friend's wedding gift soon. Waiting for the shirts to arrive!

    Check out my blog if you get a chance - I think it may interest you! Gen X Quilters (& Y too!). http://genxquilters.blogspot.com

  3. Super cute! THanx for doing a tute on it, I need to do this with my pile of tshirts. Found you from whip up mOndays....peace!

  4. Were you in the, "Phantom Regiment"? I am from the Rockford area where they are from and loved listening to them. They are a great Drum an Bugel Team.

    Your quilt is awesome. I have a niece that passed and they are making a quilt out of all of her T-Shirts. Thank you for the help.

  5. @Patty, I wasn't in the Phantom Regiment, but one of my percussion instructors was and I attended their show in San Antonio. Making a T-shirt quilt is a wonderful way to preserve and honor the memory of your niece, please let me know if you have any questions about the T-shirt quilting process, I'll be happy to help!

  6. I hope you to provide the useful information.I guess to read more site regarding this...Thanks for sharing...Keep up your work.
    Buy T shirts Online

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