Do you have memories stacking up in the form of T-shirts? Gina Tell, one of our favorite longarm quilters, took the time to show us how to make a T-Shirt quilt.
Maybe it’s the annual fun run, your beloved local sports team, or a concert tee from your favorite band, but you’ve probably picked up a shirt or two along the way. When you make t-shirts into a quilt you can keep those memories alive and close enough to keep you warm.
In the video below, you can follow along as she guides us through her tips, tricks, and steps for how to make a quilt from T-Shirts. Then you can keep scrolling to find the steps outlined to reference as you work on a memory quilt of your own!
T-Shirt Quilt Supplies
There are only a handful of supplies that you’ll need other than the shirts you’ve collected to make this upcycled quilt. They are quilting rulers, thread, an iron, rotary cutter, scissors, fusible interfacing, and a few more optional tools.
In the video, Gina uses:
- T-Shirts collected for this project (we recommend 12-15)
- Pellon 15” x 108” Fusible Sheerweight Interfacing
- A Jelly Roll or 2.5″ strips of fabric for sashing
- A 16.5” Quilting Square Ruler
- A 12.5” Quilting Square Ruler
- Aurifil 50wt Thread (Light Sand 2000)
- 45mm Rotary Cutter
- An Iron
- A Misting Bottle
You can also find all the T-shirt quilt supplies on our website.
Start A T-Shirt Quilt
The first thing you need to do before anything else is pick the shirts you want to make into a quilt.
Once you’ve done that you move on to cutting the shirts into blocks.
Beginners Tip: You can use a cardboard template if you don’t have the right size quilting ruler.
Then you will use an iron and misting bottle or damp cloth to attach the interfacing to the back of each of your newly cut shirt blocks.
Beginners Tip: Interfacing helps manage the stretch of the t-shirt fabric. The rough side is the one with the glue that should be applied to the wrong side of the t-shirt block.
Once all of your shirts have interfacing on them, it’s time to trim your blocks down into their final size. Now you have all your quilt blocks ready to go and can move on to piecing your quilt!
Plan Quilt Look & Layout
When deciding how to sew together your T-Shirt quilt, try laying out all the shirt blocks on the floor or on a design wall. Arrange them and rearrange them until you’re happy with the colors and look throughout.
Then select your sashing, to place between each shirt block. Sashing is optional, but it can help you manage the stretch from the shirts as well as add negative space between the shirt graphics.
Gina used a Jelly roll for her sashing and border which made things easy. The 2.5″ strips frame each block nicely and help create a cohesive look for the quilt.
Assemble The T-Shirt Quilt
Now that you have your shirts and sashing prepped, you are ready to start assembling the T-shirt Quilt!
This part is going to be a lot like any quilt with sashing that you’ve assembled before from a pattern or book. It’s also going to be very straightforward for those beginners out there!
We’re going to make our rows first. We do this by sewing a strip of the chosen sashing to the right side of the T-shirt block that you want to start your row with.
Next, you’ll attach the left side of another shirt block to the right side of that sashing piece. Repeat this until you have completed your row of blocks, then repeat making your rows until you’ve reached your desired T-shirt quilt size.
If you would like to add outer borders, add the side borders, then the top and bottom borders.
Finally, the quilt is ready to be quilted. Finish the quilt however you want! Whether it’s going to a longarm quilter or are quilting it yourself, you’re well on your way to a special memory quilt.
T-shirt Quilt Questions
There are a lot of questions that come up when making a T-shirt quilt, so we’ve collected some answers to the biggest ones!
What if one of the designs is a lot smaller?
When the design is smaller (like pocket size) you can cut them into 6.5” blocks and then stitch four of them together to make a block the same size as the other t-shirt blocks on your quilt.
Is there a way to use all the extra T-shirt fabric?
In the video, Gina uses foundation paper to create blocks.
These blocks can even be the same size as the T-shirt blocks and be used in this quilt or to make a whole other one!
Another great option for extra fabric is using Flying Geese Foundation Paper and making your border or sashing out of the extra T-shirt fabric!
Can I use other shirt types in a T-shirt Quilt?
Other shirt types, like flannels, for example, can be great for quilts if you use foundation paper to make all kinds of blocks.
Crazy Quilt Paper is a fun option for shirts, too.
Share your projects with us!
If you make a quilt with this tutorial, be sure to tag @fatquartershop and @gina_tell_threadgraffiti so we can see and share your work! And all of these images can be repinned on Pinterest so you can share this tutorial with your friends or save it for later!
To see more from Gina, you can check out her blog, Thread Graffiti.