Instructables
Picture of T-shirt Quilts
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If any of you are like me, you have lots and lots of T-shirts that have sentimental value and have been in your possession for years but you just dont wear them anymore.  Maybe you keep them in dresser drawers taking up valuable space from clothes you actually wear, or maybe they are in boxes in the attic or garage, or hanging in every closet of the house.  Maybe you've even considered finally getting rid of them after all these years...WELL DON"T ... here is a great solution!

Make a warm, cozy, T-shirt Quilt and keep the memories without taking up all your drawer space. 

A personal T-shirt quilt provides:
Warmth,
Conversation,
Story-telling,
Tears of joy,
Sparks of memories,
Gifts of love for any and all occasions, and
An outlet for creative thinking and design.

This project requires little money because you are primarily using materials you already have on hand i.e.) T-shirts, a blanket, a sheet, all your leftover thread and yarn from previous sewing projects, time, and your brain. The only expense required for this project is medium weight iron-on interfacing.  This quilt is great because you can just throw it in the washer and dryer.  It can be made any size from a small lap-throw to a king-size bedspread depending on the collection of T-shirts chosen.

I am working on my 4th T-shirt quilt, but I am always learning better techniques for creating a great, usable finished product. By no means are my methods the final say in T-shirt quilt construction and any suggestions are welcome to improve the method. If you are looking for an exact step-by-step pattern for T-shirt quilt creation, this is not it.  Every T-shirt quilt will come out differently so be creative, resourceful, and make a personal heirloom.

 
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Oakley42 days ago

I was thrilled to find Instructables website for making my first T-shirt quilt. The instructions were very helpful, giving me a lot of guidelines to follow. I did some tweaking on the measurements section, but overall this site was an asset to use. Needless to say my husband is thrilled with HIS new quilt, plus there is some added space to his closet from shirts that were collected and some never worn! Since I now know how very easy these quilts are to make, there will surely be more on my quilters cutting table. Plus a bonus of good soft dusting or cleanup cloths from the T-shirt remnants! Thanks again for the great site!!!!!

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inkymama5 days ago

Hello!!

I cant even tell you how excited I am to have found this amazing instructable--thank you SO much for writing it. I've been working on a t-shirt quilt for a bit (stopped over the summer because it was just too hot to iron, but now I'm at it again)

I've always intended to make a variable-block-sizes one, and it's been a...learning experience. (I now know I should have cut my first shirts larger--Classic newbie mistake!) Here's my thing (question, I guess!):

I'm making this quilt out of both t-shirts *and* fabric that is special (like, from clothes, etc). I'm tearing my hair out here!! (I freely admit I cried twice yesterday). Janet Wickell says if you're combining (stabilized) t-shirts with "regular" patchwork, then you can use ¼" seam allowances. That means my blocks (when I sort them?) will be _.5" wide. Is that right? And...when I'm thinking of finished size, that does (or doesn't?) include the SAs? Haha, my quilt size is going to, basically, be what I choose (min width, incl SAs, is 73"--that's using just my t-shirt blocks as strip widths). I think I should just lay out a sheet or blanket, and put my t-shirt blocks down, then fill in with fabrics. (Maybe?)

Ack, I'm getting muddled up again!! I don't think I'm explaining anything right here!

Should I use ½" SAs (so my strips are just __" instead of __.5" wide)? (When you say 16" strips, that means the finished size is 15"?) If my strips are 12" wide, (designs/images are between 10" and 12" in that strip), would my strip be 13"? Would the 12" (13" w SA) strip only include images that are <12"? If so, then the images would have at least *some* border space before the SAs, so I would just add the 1" to width?

TL;dr, I'm way complicating everything here, I'm getting bogged down in MATHS, I'm feeling frustrated with myself, and I'm hoping maybe you can help me get pointed in the right direction?

(PS: I'm SO SORRY for the length of this. I didn't see if there was a way to dm you, oops. If there's a way, maybe I could message you--if you haven't run screaming by now)

THANK YOU for being awesome, for taking the time to read this, and I apologize for my ignorance!

JulianneS124 days ago

Hi there,

I am so glad to find this tutorial. I have made a double sided (yes, I know now that was really dumb!!) t-shirt quilt, and am having TERRIBLE trouble trying to jam it all through the machine to quilt it!!! AND of course the designs on the front don't line up with the back!! I think the tying method my work. Can you tell me whether you tie the knots right through all 3 layers, or just to the batting and then the same on the reverse?

Julianne.

trowel_gal (author)  JulianneS120 days ago

Hi Julianne,

I too just finished a two sided quilt and ran into some of the same problems. First of all it was a very tight science to get the overall dimensions to match perfectly, but with that done it was pretty cumbersome to sew. I tied knots through all the layers and I then flipped it over and tied knots through all the layers on the other side in various positions. Rather than spacing all the ties, I prefer to accentuate the T-shirt designs, so hiding them at the tips of images, or making them periods etc... Good luck and I would love to see a photo. I will post my 2 sided quilt photos too. Stacey

Thanks for your reply Stacey,
So glad to know it's not just something I was doing wrong!! I will definitely try the tying!!! Will post photos once I get started!!
Julianne.
nytowl12 months ago

I don't understand the last step. Never made a quilt b4. I get what you mean by connecting back front & batting but Tying knots on each corner I don't understand. I can't do much with my hands & I have used sewing machine on all. How can I do knots with machine?

trowel_gal (author)  nytowl11 month ago

Hi nytowl1,

Unfortunately, there is no way to tie-finish any quilt by machine. But the good news is you can just use your machine to sew through all the layers just like traditional machine quilting.

To better explain the tying...it is not just in the corners, square knots are tied through all layers (top, batting, backing) at a suggested 4-6 inches apart across the entire face of the quilt. Its a lot of tying and I personally do not tie them that closely. I generally pick different spots in the patterns of the prints that either hide or accentuate the tied knot.

Maybe you could add a few hands to help with the trying...it will go more quickly then and will likely require a maximum of 3 skeins of floss ($$.49 each!!).

With risk of incriminating myself, tying a quilt is a simpler (even a cheating) way of finishing the top. It is certainly a very old way of traditionally closing a quilt, but it takes a lot less hand or machine time than stitch quilting.

I hope this helps and I wish you luck with the machine sewing! One suggestion I learned when machine sewing something this large, is to roll the bulk of the quilt that's not being fed through the machine to make it easier to work with.

Good luck!

knd15103 months ago

Heyy, if you're still looking, I found a whole bunch of them just by searching "The Bomb" t-shirt in google images, clicking on the pictures then following the link to the website of the shirt. There's a whole bunch of colours and sizes. Just take this link customtshirts.solutions/the-bomb/

lynncandler made it!7 months ago

All finished!! I loved making this quilt and can't wait to do another one. I used flannel for my backing because my son wanted something super soft. These are the best instructions I have seen.

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lynncandler7 months ago

Thank you for the easy to understand step by step instructions and pictures! I just finished my t-shirt quilt top and can't wait to finish this project. Maybe I will post a picture of if.

trowel_gal (author)  lynncandler7 months ago

So glad to hear it!! I would love to see a picture.

dkbwise8 months ago
Great
amaranth071 year ago
I just finished my first T-shirt quilt using my collection of concert and band tees and your fabulous instructable! I am so happy with it! thank you for the helpful instructions!
trowel_gal (author)  amaranth0711 months ago
Very glad to hear it!!! Concert Tee's are keepers!
pyromonkey2 years ago
These are so much fun to make:) I made one for my bed, but I used bigger squares since I didnt want to sew many tiny ones:P
kslobodnik2 years ago
How much would you charge to make one of these lol?
Mimi-One3 years ago
Thank you for the inspiration and instructions that are comprehensive, easy to understand and entertaining.  Your quilt appears easy to maintain and comfy too.  Great job. This t-shirt quilt is now on my short list of things to do.
trowel_gal (author)  Mimi-One3 years ago
I hope you get a chance to make one...you will love it!
xrobevansx3 years ago
WOW. This is awesome. You need to start a business. It would be super-easy to base your prices on the amount of t-shirts the customer sends to you.

Great instructable!
trowel_gal (author)  xrobevansx3 years ago
Thank you, maybe in all my spare time:)
paleotool3 years ago
Well done! Very thorough Instructable.
trowel_gal (author)  paleotool3 years ago
Thanks!