Step 5: The Layout

The T-shirt quilt blocks are assembled in individual strips and then the strips are sewn together building the body of the quilt. From personal trials, I believe that constructing the quilt based on vertical strips is the easiest because there is a little more room for adjustment in the length of material available from your shirt block. This instructable will construct a quilt made from vertical strips .

Remember, be patient and flexible with your design...this is the most difficult part of the project!  Think of this part as a puzzle...you may have to move or rethink the sizes of specific design blocks to make it all fit.  There is no simple solution or step-by-step procedure, just keep fitting individual blocks by folding the excess material at the edges and re-arranging.  Also, keep the color of the blocks in mind during this phase as well.  I prefer varying my colors and not having too many like-colored blocks adjacent to each other.

It is best to work from widest design to narrowest design because the narrow designs can still be made to fit into wider strips if needed!

You will need floor space or a VERY large work table  to fully lay out your T-shirt quilt (I have never owned a table that large).  Collect design blocks from your widest pile (my 16 inch pile) and begin making your first vertical strip approximating the finished length of your quilt.  Just fold the edges around the design at this stage of the layout to adjust for proper width and length of the strip.   Don't forget, you will loose at least 1 inch of length per block with the seam allowance, so don't underestimate your desired final dimensions. 

If your widest vertical strip is too short, start adding the needed pieces from the next-size-down pile (my 14 inch pile), just make sure that the overall material dimensions of the design block with border will meet the needed width for the strip. 

Be sure not to exceed the finished size of your blanket and backing !

Continue laying out similar-width strips.  My 5 strips are 16, 14, 12, 10, and 5 (pocket print-width) inches wide.  Once the strips are assembled they can be arranged in any order.  The easiest way to incorporate pocket prints is to design a vertical strip, however, a more interesting way to integrate these small prints is to incorporate them as "design blocks" within existing same-width strips.

I have a question about your batting. I see you are using a blanket. What kind of blanket, or does it matter?
How do I put a t shirt on my blanket if I cut it too small?
<p>how do I find your instructions ?</p>
<p>wish me luck! May be in over my head as I cut out all the t shirts according to design with no plan and now after reading this I may have to do some serious rethinking!!!! Will keep you posted! ?</p>
<p>I'm looking for quilt information....perhaps you or someone out there can offer some suggestions. I'm making a t shirt quilt using my daughter's college collection...she specifically wants to use it on the beach as a beach blanket. What type of batting material should be used? I think regular poly batting will be too hot and would not be good on sand, so I was thinking about using towel material for the batting. Any comments would be appreciated? Thanks so much!</p>
<p>Did anyone answer you ??? I am here to say that there are no quilt police !!! You can use anything you want to !!! I would suggest a blanket. You can also buy towel material that might be wider than a towel. You can also use a flannel sheet ! Use your imagination. As I said--- no quilt police will come down on you !!! </p>
Thanks for your help, I finished the quilt and gave it to my daughter yesterday....decided to use the widest and cheapest batting material I could find. <br>mltrayner
<p>I am excited to begin a T-shirt Quilt. My son just retired for the Fire Department after 35 years and has so many T-shirt he would like made into a quilt.</p>
<p>I am planning my first T-Shirt quilt. Using some hints from a quilting show. I have counted my t-shirts and used &quot;grid paper&quot; to layout my design. A suggestion was given, keep your measurements to multiples of 6. A 6 inch square, 12 inch square and 18 in square. I have color coded my grid paper to help with the design. Less math involved. </p>
<p>I am so excited to have found your EXCELLENT instructions! I have tubs of old T-shirts I knew I wanted to make into quilts but haven't had the nerve or knowledge to get started. Your instructions are perfect and your quilts are EXACTLY what I was picturing my ideal finished product to look like. Thank You SO much for taking the time to share these wonderful instructions!</p>
<p>You are welcome and good luck with your t-shirt puzzle ;~) </p>
<p>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!!!!!</p>
<p>Hi Oakley4.....OMG, your quilt looks beautiful, useful, and appears to have brought much joy to your #1 Steelers fan! So happy the instructable was helpful.</p>
<p>Hi there,</p><p>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?</p><p>Julianne.</p>
<p>Hi Julianne,</p><p>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</p>
Thanks for your reply Stacey,<br>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!!<br>Julianne.
<p>I don't understand the last step. Never made a quilt b4. I get what you mean by connecting back front &amp; batting but Tying knots on each corner I don't understand. I can't do much with my hands &amp; I have used sewing machine on all. How can I do knots with machine?</p>
<p>Hi nytowl1,</p><p>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. </p><p>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. </p><p>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!!).</p><p>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.</p><p>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. </p><p>Good luck!</p>
<p>Heyy, if you're still looking, I found a whole bunch of them just by searching &quot;The Bomb&quot; 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/</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>So glad to hear it!! I would love to see a picture.</p>
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!
Very glad to hear it!!! Concert Tee's are keepers!
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
How much would you charge to make one of these lol?
Thank you for the inspiration and instructions that are comprehensive, easy to understand and entertaining.&nbsp; Your quilt appears easy to maintain and comfy too.&nbsp; Great job. This t-shirt quilt is now on my short list of things to do.
I hope you get a chance to make one...you will love it!
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. <br><br>Great instructable!
Thank you, maybe in all my spare time:)
Well done! Very thorough Instructable.

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