Friday, July 25, 2014

5 Tips for a Terrific T-Shirt Quilt!

Dick's Marathon T-Shirts
Have you made a T-Shirt quilt?  Have you been saving all those T-shirts to make one someday?  I've got a few piles saved up...  I think it's a terrific way to save memories!

Collect a bunch of t-shirts, 12 or more.  Cut off the sleeves, neck binding, then slit the sides.  Rough-cut around the logo with plenty of space to cut out a nice size square or rectangle, as wide as the distance between arm holes will allow.

And here are some tips...

1)  Back blocks with lightweight fusible interfacing to stabilize stretch in the T-shirt material.
     I like to use a lightweight fusible interfacing such as Pellon 911FF or SF101.  Follow manufacturer's
     instructions to adhere stabilizer  to the wrong side of t-shirt squres; med-hot iron, count to 7 in each 

2)  Cut out blocks using a consistent measurement.
     Remember to include 1/4" seam allowance on all sides.  If you have smaller blocks, add strips of 
     additional fabric or combine several small blocks to make one large block, (OR see tip #4).

3)  Try sashing to frame the blocks.
     This will help to stabilize the blocks, and provide a pleasing framework

Sashing between blocks
Sashing with corner posts
4)  Use smaller motifs as a border. 
     Use extra strips of the leftovers to fill in border or other blocks.

5)  Quilt the quilt.  Use batting.
     If tying, use a strong yarn or crochet thread, and anchor at the corners and middle of each block.
     If machine-quilting, use an overall pattern.

     PROBLEM:  Rubberized logos and motifs don't allow darning foot to glide over well while quilting without sticking to the logo or stretching the fabric.
     SOLUTION:  Use tissue paper to quilt over rubberized areas.  Then just pull off the tissue paper, perforated by the stitches.  Use a dry washcloth to rub out any stray bits.

Bind the quilt and give to your loved one to enjoy!  BINDING TUTORIAL

Natalie's Wedding Quilt
Have you made a T-Shirt quilt?  Share your tips here!  How about a Memory Quilt with pictures printed on fabric? Maybe that's next...


  1. I just got a box of shirts for a commissioned one and the owner said she wants me to be creative. She said her friends have t-shirt quilts, but they are plain, just rows of blocks. Do you have any suggestions for making it not so structured? I've done them mostly like you have in this post. I have a feeling it's going to require a lot more planning :( amateurquilter at gmail dot com

    1. Here's an idea, Mike. Cut out all your motifs with a measurement divisible by 3 (not including 1/2" for the seam allowance). In other words, cut out rectangles and squares using measurements of 3-1/2", 6-1/2", 9-1/2", 12-1/2", 15-1/2", etc. If the t-shirt motifs aren't fitting any of these measurements, add sashing fabric strips to the sides to bring them to the right size. Save the t-shirt backs and cut them into 3-1/2" squares. Lay out all your different-sized blocks and fill in with the squares to grow the quilt to the right size. Or use cotton prints to fill in. Sew together in sections or rows to make the quilt, using a 1/4" seam allowance. Be sure to stabilize any t-shirt fabric used in the quilt. I've tried this technique with odd-shaped orphan blocks and panels, and it will work with any number, as long as all pieces used are divisible by the base number, not including the 1/2" seam allowance. Hope this little quilter's math lesson makes sense. Sounds like another tutorial topic!

    2. Excellent advice regarding how to cut the rectangles and squares using measurements of 3".

  2. Thanks for all the tips!! I'm thinking of practicing on some of my own tee shirts first but it's wonderful to have all the steps covered in one post.

  3. what a good way to utilise old tee shirts. These have worked so well, unfortunately I am not a tee shirt person so do not have a stash saved.

  4. Thank you for the tips. I have been wanting to make one and am getting close to enough shirts. I have done a quilt with photo transfers and that was fun. Can't wait to try this out.

  5. Thanks for the tips especially the one about using the smaller bits around the edge. I've got 4 of them to make this fall.

  6. never made one but i love that tip with tissue paper....i do not have even one t shirt with any

  7. great tip about the tissue paper, I recently quilted a t shirt quilt and those thick spots were SO annoying, I went really slow or avoided them if I could

  8. Hey I spy a Bix shirt in there! What timing! This morning was the 40th Bix marathon! I do not envy the people running up Brady street hill this morning!!
    Great tips on the quilt! I have one in my near future for a friend who lost her husband!

  9. I'm always having people ask me about how to make a t-shirt quilt...I'll send them here next time! Great tips!

  10. Great tips. I made one with different size blocks and they kind of float on the background/sashing. I just made sure each block in the same column was the same width. It tricks the eye a bit.


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