T-shirt quilt tutorial – A unique gift idea

My favorite aunt (don’t tell anyone) sent my uncle’s favorite T-shirts and asked for a T-shirt quilt.   My first thought was oh no!  😔 Really?  I’ve seen a lot of tshirt quilts and honestly, I don’t love them.  Until I saw the quilt that my sister made.  What makes it different?  I think it’s everything around the T shirts and how she put it together.  (She has an ETSY store where she sells quilts).

t shirt quilt

T shirt quilts are a wonderful keepsake not only for kids going to college, but anyone who collects T-shirts. We all have old shirts from sports teams or high school clubs and these are perfect to use in a personalized quilt.  it is a great way to get those old t-shirts out of the drawer where family members can enjoy them and the memories they invoke.  

There are many different types of t-shirt quilts, but here is a tutorial on how I make my t-shirt quilts.

T shirt quilts are relatively easy to make, but it’s all about the prep. T-shirts are made from stretchy fabric so you need to take care in prepping the t-shirt blocks so the quilt keeps it’s shape.

Materials needed:

  • your favorite t-shirts
  • square ruler
  • sewing machine
  • fusible interfacing
  • iron
  • cotton fabric – I used several fabrics for the filler strips on the quilt top and a different fabric for the back and binding of the t-shirt quilt.  
  • cotton batting
cotton batting
temporary adhesive spray

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  • The first thing to do is decide what part of the t-shirt you want to use.  Typically I choose the t-shirt graphics or t-shirt logos.  In most cases, this will result in different size blocks which makes the quilt a bit more interesting.  
  • Cut out the part of the t-shirt you want to use.  I just make a rough cut at this stage & cut them to the exact size I want after I apply the interfacing. 
  • Use a hot iron to apply the fusible interfacing to the back of each of the t-shirt squares.  Fusible interfacing has 2 sides, make sure you put the “bumpy” side down against the shirt so it will adhere.
  • Use a rotary cutter to cut the squares to the exact block size and shape you want.  
  • At this point, I just play with the squares I have to make a pattern I like.  Because the t-shirt quilt blocks are all different sizes I use different coordinating fabrics to enlarge the blocks and fill in the gaps.  You can choose your favorite color fabrics for this or use fabrics that highlight the tee shirts.  This is a good way to utilize your stash of fabric remnants.  I think adding sashing fabric or filler strips makes for a more interesting quilt.
arrange blocks
  • Once I have a layout I like I add the sashing to each of the blocks and then sew the blocks together to form the quilt top.
  • I like to add a border to my t-shirt quilts.  This is just long pieces of fabric sewn around all 4 edges of the quilt and can be any width you prefer.  I usually make my border anywhere from 2.5-4.5 inches.
  • Now it’s time to make the quilt sandwich.  This involves sandwiching the back fabric, batting and quilt top.  I like to use spray adhesive but you can also use safety pins if you prefer.  I first adhere the batting to the backing fabric then I adhere the quilt top to the batting.
  • Once the top, batting and back are secured together I go ahead and quilt it all in place.  I use straight stitch quilting with a walking foot, but you can freestyle this as well.  You can also take it to be quilted with a particular pattern.  There are plenty of people that will do that for you.
  • To make the binding cut 2.5 inch strips, enough to go around all sides of the quilt.  Sew the binding strips together to make one long piece of fabric then fold it in half and press.  (The images of the binding below are a different quilt).
  • Attach the binding.  Sew the raw edges of the binding onto the front of the quilt using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Hand stitch the folded edge to the back of the quilt. I wear gloves to reduce the
hand stitch binding

And here’s the finished product, just wash and enjoy!!

t shirt quilt

If you liked this post you might like, how to make a reversible table runner or how to make napkins (a great beginner DIY project).

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