Introduction: Easy T-Shirt Blanket

About: I've been a film-maker since I was 14, and a crafter since I was 4. As the years have passed, I've managed to combine my two passions to make costumes, props, and the occasional furniture.

Got a pile of T-shirts you don't wear, but can't bring yourself to toss em? I know that feel. Moving out of my parents house left me with a pile of shirts from my 22 years of being in the nest. And when they're too small or ragged but too sentimental, you get creative! After maybe 8 hours of work, I now have a finished blanket with a plethora of shirts I loved growing up. Check out the video link to see the quick overview, then keep reading for more details!

Step 1: Materials

For this project, you'll need:

  • shirts (as many you can get your hands on)
  • a large blanket
  • sewing machine and thread
  • Paper (to take down notes, and to make a template)

Step 2: Math

Take down the dimensions of your blanket, and decide how you want your shirts to look in the end. If you have enough, you can really get creative and do something quilt worthy.

Decide on your pattern, then divide your blankets width by how many shirts will make it up, then same with the height. This will give you the size for your shirts that you need to cut each into. To make this easier, take some paper and cut it (or tape more paper on) to make a template. I just used some paper from my notebook and duct tape.

For my blanket, I used 30 shirts in a 5X6 grid, cut into a 14"X13.2" square. Since my square wasn't, well, square, I marked which side was which length.

Step 3: Cutting

Flatten out your shirt on a table. Some people will iron their shirts as they go, but I didn't find it extremely necessary. (plus, I just moved out, so I've no clue where the iron is)

Lay your template on top of the shirt, and center it how you want that square to look.

For my own blanket, rather than having all designs facing the same way, I rotated the template 90 degrees each shirt that I cut, so then I could have them facing every which-way on the blankie. Though, in retrospect, would've been cool to turn a few 45 degrees so I could get diagonal squares as well.

When you cut the shirt, cut around an inch away from the template, giving you a "seam allowance" for later on when you start sewing. Since one side of my template was longer than the other, I used a sharpie on the shirt to mark the edge of the 14" side. Don't worry, this came off easily in the washing machine

Step 4: Assembly

This is the fun step, cause now you get to see your vision come together.

Lay out your blanket, then begin putting your shirt squares on top in your desired pattern. This is the time to decide what shirt should go where, to move around the red shirts so they don't clump together, etc.

Remember, the shirts are all cut with a seam allowance, so when you lay them down, you'll want to overlap them a bit to get a more accurate size. This doesn't entirely need to be perfect, just lay down the basic idea to help get you through the next step.

Step 5: Sewing Together

Grab your pin cushion. The trick to nearly all of this blanket is to lay the squares on top of each other (good sides facing in) and to sew along one side. To get started, fold over the corner shirt square onto its neighbor, then pin the side that will be sewn. Unfold, then fold the two over the next square and pin, etc.

You don't necessarily need to go the whole blanket, I just did this for the top row (5 shirts for me)

After the top line is done, sew along the pinned edges. Now you can easily add squares one at a time by laying it face down on the adjacent square, pinning, sewing, rinse and repeat. *chuckle*

I found the best way to keep track of the squares was to put a pin in the sides I was going to sew as I picked it up from the floor. So for example, I had to sew the top edge to the main blanket, then typically the right edge to attach it to the rest of the row. Since my squares were rotating through the design, and were different sizes, marking which sides I needed to sew saved a lot of headaches down the road.

Step 6: Final Sewing

When finished, you should have the start of a basic blanket; a tapestry of T's, if you will. Lay your shirt-quilt down over your blanket, and grab your pin cushion.

Center the T's over the blanket the best you can (if you did it right, it should be the same size, if not a little bigger than the blanket. Mine had another 7 inches of leeway) Now grab an edge at one of the corners, fold it over a little, and pin it down. Do this all the way around the blanket, or until you run out of pins.

All that's left now is to do a stitch all the way around the edge, holding the T shirts to the blanket, and then you're done! You can, if you'd like, add a few stitches in the middle or around the squares for extra stability, but I didn't find it necessary. The blanket holds together very well on its own.

I hope this tutorial is helpful! Stay warm everyone! And check out my youtube channel for more fun and crafty videos!