Using t-shirts to make a t-shirt quilt is a great way to make memories last, especially if the time spent collecting those t-shirts has come to an end. That was exactly the case with my youngest son and his girlfriend. Last month they both graduated from Pittsburg State University.
Months earlier my son had requested a t-shirt quilt for graduation and had already provided me with a bag full of memories. That said, he didn’t give me quite enough. Since I wanted him to think I forgot, I didn’t want to ask him for more. Instead I asked his girlfriend if she could send me more.
She was happy to help, and she requested a t-shirt quilt for her own memories.
While I have made t-shirt quilts before, I have never taken the time to take pictures of the process. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to create a tutorial for others to make their own memories last.
Things You Need:
24 t-shirts (less if you are also using the backs)
10 yds lightweight fusible interfacing
Flat sheets, king and twin
Low-loft quilt batting, king
14″ square template, clear
Rotary cutter and mat
Large safety pins
Embroidery floss and needle
*To get a square with the shirt logo centered, I used a clear template cut from an old poster frame.
*The glue side of the interfacing is the rough side.
*When ironing, always iron on the back of the shirts or use a cover cloth to protect the logo and your iron.
*Wash and dry the twin sheet before cutting your strips.
*Wash and dry the king sheet just before preparing to sandwich. This will prevent having to iron out fold creases before quilting.
What To Do:
Step 1: Lay one shirt on your work surface with the front facing up. Center the 14″ square template over the shirt’s design and trace around it using an ink pen. Cut out the square. Repeat on the back of the shirt if it will be used. Repeat this step for a total of 24 squares.
Step 2: Using the template, cut 24 squares from the lightweight fusible interfacing.
Step 3: Lay a t-shirt square face down on your ironing surface and press. Place an interfacing square, glue side down, on the t-shirt. Press to adhere. Repeat with all the squares.
Step 4: Cutting shirt and interfacing squares by hand and ironing can result in squares being slightly off. Using a rotary cutter and cutting mat, retrim all the squares to the exact same size.
Step 5: Lay all of your squares out in a 4 x 6 grid. Rearrange until you are happy with the layout. Tip: Take a picture of the layout to refer to while sewing your quilt together.
Step 6: After washing and drying the twin sheet, cut strips 2 1/2″ wide. Start with a dozen. Cut more if needed.
Step 7: Starting on the top row, sew a 2 1/2″ strip down the left side of the first block. Trim the top and bottom of the strip even with the square.
Continue sewing strips between each square of the row, ending with a strip on the right side of the last square. Repeat this step for each row.
Step 8: Turn each row over and press the seams open.
Step 9: Starting along the top, sew a 2 1/2″ strip across the row. Trim the strip even with the row. Repeat between each row, ending with a strip on the bottom of the last row.
Step 10: Turn the quilt top over and press the seams open.
Step 11: Wash and dry the king size flat sheet. Layer your sandwich to quilt. Lay the king flat on your work surface, place the quilt batting on top and center the quilt top with the right side facing up. Smooth each layer with your hands before adding the next. Note: When layering, allow the sheet and the batting to extend beyond all edges of the quilt top.
Step 12: Using large safety pins, pin through all layers at each intersecting square, including the ends of the rows.
Step 13: With embroidery floss and needle, stitch once next to a safety pin. Tie the ends into a knot and trim to approximately 1″. Remove the pin. Repeat at each safety pin.
Step 14: Trim the quilt batting even with all edges of the quilt top. Trim the sheet 1″ beyond the edges of the quilt top.
Step 15: Bind your edges. Fold the sheet 1/2″, then fold the remaining 1/2″ over the edge of the quilt top. Pin the fold. Continue around the quilt, miter-folding the corners. Press the folded edge.
Top stitch the binding to finish.
Colby’s T-Shirt Quilt
Christina’s T-Shirt Quilt
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