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Thursday, January 23, 2014

How To Make a T-Shirt Quilt


Hey guys! Do you have a huge stack of t-shirts that you don’t wear? We all do- shirts we got for free from various places, band tees, fandom tees, shirts you’ve outgrown but are too nostalgic to get rid of- they’re everywhere. Well, here’s something to do with them: turn them into a quilt!

You’ll need:
15-25 shirts (you can use more or less depending on the finished size you want, and also if you want to use the backs or not)
Fleece for the backing, about 2 yards- again depending on the finished size
A sewing machine, scissors, thread and pins (unfortunately, I don't think this is a handsewing project, but if you're up to it, I'm not here to stop you.)
Heavy cardstock and a marker
About 4 hours


IMG_4742This blanket’s finished measurement is about 60”x75”, and is made up of 25 shirts (20 shirts + 5 backs) each cut to be 12”x15”. You’ll need to figure out exactly how you want yours sized and how many shirts you have and do the calculations from there, but if you use the same measurements I did, two yards of any standard fleece will be the perfect amount of fabric. Cut a template out of heavy cardstock using the measurements that you’ve come up with.

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Use the template to cut out all of your shirts. You want the shirts to be cut as close to the exact same size as possible so that the blanket stays squared as you assemble it. I recommend tracing the pattern and cutting instead of pinning and cutting each one because it’s quicker, but if you prefer to pin, that works too.

If you’re using backs of shirts too, just cut through both layers. Just make sure everything is smoothed out nicely.


IMG_4748Take the time to carefully arrange your shirts. You want to make sure that it’s aesthetically pleasing, of course. Take into consideration the colors, designs and types of shirts, and lay them out exactly how you want the finished project to be. I like this part a lot, because it's pretty much like a huge puzzle that you get to design.


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Once you know exactly how you want the layout of the t-shirts to look, pin each individual row together. For example, if you have 25 shirts and you’re doing 5 rows of 5 shirts like I had, you’ll want to have 5 sets of shirts pinned together. Sew them together, keeping your seam allowance consistent. This, again will help keep the entire thing squared.

You don’t really need to worry about backstitching here, because all seams will be caught in other seams. If you want to backstitch though, go for it!

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When you’ve got your rows sewn together, you’re going to attach all of them together. Again, make sure you pin and sew with a consistent seam allowance.


IMG_4763You’ve now got, essentially, a blanket! The entire front of your blanket is finished, and if you wanted, you could stop here. You could attach a blanket binding to clean up the edges, or just hem all the way around, but if you don’t want to have a heavy backing, here’s where you’d stop.



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However, we’re going to keep going, so that this is a warm cozy, fleecy blanket. Lay out your fleece with the right side up. Spread it out on the floor and make sure it’s as flat and as even as you can get it, and then lay out your t-shirt square front on top, right side down. You want the right sides to be together when you do this.

Take the time to make sure that it’s straight and flat, and that the edges line up and that the tops of both fabrics point in the same direction. Trim around the edges if you need to, and pin both pieces together. You really want to make sure you take the time to line it up right so it looks perfect when finished. Usually I’m a slacker, but this is the step to NOT slack on.

Sew it up, leaving about one square length open on the bottom.


IMG_4771Turn the whole thing right side in. Take this chance to check for holes or skipped stitches and to poke out the corners. Once you’re finished this step, you won’t be able to fix any holes so double check for them now. When you’re sure, sew up the gap you’ve left at the bottom.

Snuggle up, because you are DONE!

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This is definitely one of those projects that seems daunting and like a challenge, but it’s all straight lines and basic stitching. If you’ve got about 4-6 hours to commit to it, you do this project.

If you wanted to fancy this project up, you could do the measurements to cut different sizes, or do a few blocks made up of smaller ones to use shirts with smaller pocket type designs. You could also embroider or draw on a square or two to add a personal touch. If you’re doing this with baby/children’s clothes that have been outgrown, maybe you might want to have them put paint handprints on a square. I’ve made one for a gift where I had all of my cousins decorate squares to mix in with my grandfather’s old shirts for him. The possibilities are endless!

If you do one of these, I’d love to see it! Send me a picture on twitter or instagram @techni_moments, and don't forget to check out the video of this project, here :)

Stay Crafty!






PS: Thanks to Chloe for modeling this, and doing the entire project. She wanted me to teach her how, and I told her I would, but I would be documenting the entire thing.

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