T-shirt Quilt

I was pretty sick for a few weeks and completely lost my ‘sewjo’.  I had a T-shirt quilt to finish for a friend and the deadline was quickly approaching.  Luckily, I got it together and finished it up within 3-4 days.  I think I spent so much time agonizing about how to make this quilt, I just didn’t want to do it.  I had never made a T-shirt quilt before and the thought of messing up someone’s memories really concerned me!

Originally, I wanted to create a cool quilt where each shirt seemed to pop up in a 3D sort of way.  Once I started cutting up the shirts, I realized this was not going to work.  That began another couple weeks of agonizing because I was completely lost on how to put the shirts together.  I read and looked at a zillion blogs and pictures of other quilts, but I still could not commit!  Finally as the deadline was only 10 days away, I made myself get to work.  In the end, I fit the shirts together almost like a puzzle, figuring out which pieces fit best and where.

I had several “helpers” during this process: 








Once the top was put together, I spent another day or two deciding how to quilt it.  I finally decided on a simple grid, which I think worked out pretty well.  To start, I ran a piece of washi tape diagonally across the center of the quilt and then made diagonal lines out from there.  I repeated the process for the other diagonal direction, so the quilt design ends up with diamonds.  Here is a picture of how I started the process:

I just quilted following the line of the tape.  The nice thing about washi tape was that I could reuse it several times to create more grid lines.  The process was very quick and I was able to finish quilting in about 2-3 hours (including time to stop and remove/replace tape grid lines).

For the back, I purchased a $5 flat sheet at Walmart to keep it simple (and not too expensive!).

I cut the remains of Tshirts into 2.5″ strips, connected them and created a scrappy binding for the quilt.  I interfaced the strips just like the T-shirts using Pellon SF101.  I thought it was going to be too thick to sew through, but my Juki made easy work of it.  I do not have the patience for hand sewing binding!!

I will be delivering the quilt to its new owner next week and I hope she likes it.  It was stressful but hopefully the next one will be easier for me!  The good news is my sewjo has also returned so I am excited to get to work on other projects.  Any advice out there on conquering T-shirt quilts?

4 thoughts on “T-shirt Quilt

  1. Judy B says:

    I have no advice on t-shirt quilts, but read your post with great interest. I have 2 boxes of t-shirts that must be cut up and made into at least 1 t-shirt quilt hopefully two. Thanks for the info on which interfacing to use. I can at least get started by cutting and interfacing. I like that yours are all not exactly 12 1/2″ square, which is what some have advised me. Thanks too for the pictures.

    • jeanmarie says:

      Hi. Thanks for reading! These shirts were so varied in their sizes of logo that a uniform 12.5″ square would just not work out. I just began cutting the logos out with plenty of blank space all around to account for seam allowance and any trimming needed. Once I started fitting them together into a puzzle, I found I needed to trim here and there to make them fit perfectly. Good luck with your quilts!!

  2. Your T-shirt quilt looks perfect. You did a wonderful job of putting your puzzle together for having never done a T-shirt quilt before. I’ve done several over the years, and after they are done, you almost want to go another one because they turn out so good. I used another interfacing, but will look for the one you used to see how it compares to the one we had in the shop where I worked. That’s been 6 years ago, so there may be new stuff out now. Thanks for explaining how you quilted it. That was a new technique for me.

  3. Such a challenging pattern for your first T-quilt, but you did such a nice job on it!! I have averaged about 1 T-shirt quilt per year for the past 15 years. I still haven’t lost that sense of dread over ruining someone’s memories! I just keep at it and hope for the best each time.

    Every T-quilt is designed a bit differently than the others. In all this time, I have never used shirt strips for the binding. (I keep meaning to give it a try!) One of my favorite things to do is use them for the sashing. You should try is sometime!

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