A t-shirt quilt is the only project I’ve ever dreamed of making.
Pinterest, for example, is brimming with so many beautiful, fun and practical DIY projects, but this is different.
I’ve been saving shirts since high school (and I’m kicking myself for not saving more from when I was younger) with the intention of one day sewing these memories into a quilt.
Before I begin explaining how I made my quilt, I want to add the disclaimer that I am not an expert at sewing. I am so grateful to have had help and advice from my mom, who knows much more about sewing than I do. So if you haven’t done much sewing, I recommend obtaining help from someone else
Also, this quilt was originally going to be a no-sew quilt (like this one). However, this method would have involved sacrificing too much of every t-shirt, so I chose to sew mine instead.
Now, here’s how I made my t-shirt quilt! I’ll explain everything as clearly as I can, but if you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to answer!
What you’ll need:
Keep in mind that you may want to use both the front and back of some shirts!
The fabric is for the back of the quilt. I only got 2 yards and it was just enough, so I recommend 2.5 at least. I used a lightweight flannel.
I used this handy 2-piece Fiskars set from Walmart.
Also available here
Available here. Should include cutting mat and rotary cutter.
Thread (I used gray thread for the entire quilt)
Good pair of scissors
Optional: Embroidery Floss + yarn needle
- Lay your first shirt on the cutting mat and position the clear quilting acrylic ruler over the area of the shirt you want to cut out (this is where having a clear ruler comes in handy). Cut out using the rotary cutter. You’ll end up with two squares from each shirt. Depending on the shirt, you may or may not want to use both sides, so keep this in mind when positioning the quilting ruler.
3. Lay out all of your t-shirt squares to help you picture what the quilt will look like. Laying out the shirts (BEFORE you sew) will give you the chance to rearrange to your liking. Keep in mind that shirts on the edges should include the least amount of writing, as these may need to be sacrificed when you sew the edges.
4. Once you are satisfied with your layout, TAKE A PICTURE! This helped me several times when I needed to go back and reference the order of t-shirt squares.
5. Begin sewing your the first two squares together. Use the presser foot (about a 1/4 inch seam allowance) as your guide. You want the seams to be on the inside of the blanket, so place your upper left hand corner square face up, place the square next to it face down on top of it, pin it and then sew!
6. Sew your first full horizontal row together. Then sew the remainder of your horizontal rows together. Don’t worry about tying off your thread.
7. Now, using your presser foot as your guide (about 1/4 seam allowance), sew your entire first row to the entire second row. Make sure that your seams will be on the inside of the blanket! Repeat with the rest of your rows until you’ve formed the front of your blanket!
8. Now, on the floor, lay down your fabric and place your sewn together t-shirts on top. Cut the fabric to roughly the same size as the t-shirts (easiest to use scissors).
9. Lay out your batting and cut to roughly the same size as your t-shirts and fabric.
10. Using the same method as your would for sewing a pillow (the “inside out” method), lay your t-shirts face down, then your fabric, pattern side down, and finally your batting. Pin along the 2 long sides and the top of your blanket.
11. Sew around the blanket (a magnetic seam guide definitely comes in handy here). Begin with one long side, then the top and then the other long side. Leave the bottom unsewn for now.
12. Turn your quilt inside out (like you would after sewing a pillow) so that the “good sides” of your t-shirts and fabric are on the outside and the batting is on the inside.
13. Gently tuck in the bottom edges of the blanket and sew straight across. Your thread will show, so if that bothers you, you can either hand sew it or choose a thread that closely matches your shirts.
14. The final step is optional but recommended. Use your yarn needle and floss to secure the batting by sewing a simple stitch in every corner on the blanket. Here’s what the back will look like when you’re done:
15. You’re DONE! Celebrate and pat yourself on the back
If you’re thinking of making your very own t-shirt quilt, don’t forget to pin!