T-Shirt Quilt

For Christmas, I’m making my youngest son a t-shirt quilt. Many of you have asked about how to make one, so I thought I’d make a video and instructions for the process! Here goes!

Supplies you will need:

  • 12 t-shirts (I had a few extras so I could I decide which ones to use)
  • 4 yards backing fabric
  • 1 yard border (6″ strips)
  • 1/2 yard binding (2.5″ strips)
  • 4-6 yards fusible lightweight interfacing (This is not as wide as the fabric, so you need more than you think for 12 t-shirts, I had to piece scraps together)

Tools you will need:

  • Scissors
  • Rotary blade
  • Long ruler
  • Cutting mat
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Pen
  • Safety pins

Steps to follow …

  1. Measure the widest and longest t-shirt print. Mine were about 13″ wide and the longest was about 14, but I trimmed to 13″. Keep in mind that you are making squares, so since you have to cut at the collar, some will have a lot of open space under the image! See Diagram 1 below for the pattern I used.



  2. I cut mine to be 14″ x 14″ to allow for seams. Remember the backs of the t-shirts may have an image that you want to use. Be careful lining up the 14″ with the image, also be level with the image. Be safe when cutting, turn your fabric so the blade is away from your wrists! Cut fusible interface into 14 x 14 squares.



  3. Now to attach the fusible interfacing, you will need the t-shirt square face down, the interfacing with dots to the t-shirt, and then a very damp towel. I used my Cricut Easy Press at 300 degrees for 15 or so seconds. Be careful of the steam. I don’t think you can burn it, but keep checking every 15 seconds to see if the fusing is attached. The moisture must activate the glue because as my towel got drier, the fusing was not attaching. You really want it to attach to avoid wrinkles later.



  4. Layout the t-shirts is a pleasing pattern. I took a picture for reference later.



  5. Now sew the t-shirts together, with right sides together, paying close attention to direction of the image! I did 3 across and 4 down to make a quilt about the size of 54″ x 41″, without the borders. It’s a nice lap size quilt. Hopefully the fusing made them go together easily. I had a couple t-shirts that puckered on me, so just sew slowly and keep the t-shirts together, pins really helped.



  6. Add the borders. I cut 6, 6″ borders. I used one each along the top and bottom, then used 2 each sewn together on the sides. Iron the seams towards the t-shirts. See Diagram 2 below.



  7. Add the binding. I cut into 2.5″ strips, and I cut 6 of them for a 66 x 52 size t-shirts and border. Iron and fold the 2.5″ strips in half lengthwise, wrong side together. Start on one side of the quilt, leaving about 6″ loose. Attach right sides to the border and go around the entire quilt. In the video, I explain how to miter the corners and how to attach the final ends.



  8. Cut the backing fabric. I folded the 4 yards in half, then cut that in half. This made a large 2 yard by 90″ (since my fabric was 45″ wide).



  9. Now we can layer the t-shirts with border (face down), a layer of batting, and the backing face up. I decided to just quilt around the edge and the inside edge around the t-shirts, but if you are going to quilt the entire thing, then pin every 6″ across the entire quilt. Keep everything flat when pinning, you can lay out on the floor or across a large table. Just be careful with the safety pins to not scratch the surface.



  10. Sew the layers, starting in the middle and working your way out. My quilt was heavy so as I mentioned earlier, I just sewed around the t-shirts and the borders.



  11. Finally, we’ll hand stitch the binding around the back side of the quilt. All done and ready for Christmas!



Diagram 1: 12 t-shirts and 6″ border and 1/2″ binding
Diagram 2: Attaching the borders to the t-shirts
My son loved the quilt! It was a big hit, and he didn’t know that I kept the t-shirts!