DIY: T-Shirt Quilt Part One (of two)

warning: photo-heavy post.
Raise your hand if you have so many tshirts that your dresser drawers won’t shut anymore.
Both of my hands are raised… and my feet are too. Here’s the deal. I was the t-shirt chair of my sorority my junior/senior year, so there was really no way of getting around having millions of t-shirts. I really didn’t want to just throw them away, so I decided to make a t-shirt quilt out of all of my beautiful college memories. I chose 25 t-shirts and created this:
And now I’m gonna do a little tutorial on how you can make one too.
Keep in mind, this isn’t an afternoon project, folks. It takes quite a while (you may have seen my exhaustion tweets from the weekend) but you can most definitely do it.
supplies you need:
-Your old and memorable t-shirts that you want to show off
-Non-woven fusible interfacing (amount depends on how many t-shirts you’re using)
-100% (prewashed) cotton fabric for border and backing (amount depends on how many tshirts you use)
-100% cotton batting (again, amount depends on how many tshirts you use)
-Rotary cutter & board
-Fabric shears
-Iron & ironing board
-Plenty of sewing pins
step one: cutting
Pick out the t-shirts you want to use and start cutting 14×14″ (or whatever size you want) squares. Make sure you’re getting as much of the screen printing in your square as possible & placed how you want it to look! My rotary board is pretty small (it was a gift), so I free handed this part and used my fabric shears. (another option is to cut a piece of cardboard the size you want your squares to be).
Then, cut your fusible interfacing into squares the same size as your tshirts. Again, at this point I free handed (I was more precise later).
step two: ironing & rotary cutting
Iron your non-woven fusible interfacing to the t-shirt squares you just cut. Make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging. This gives the t-shirt shape and makes it wayyyy easier to sew later.
After the t-shirts and interfacing are one, set up your rotary board and cut all the t-shirt squares the exact same size. Mine ended up being 13×13″ because I had some mess-ups along the way.
step three: design, pin & sew
Set them up like you want them. I chose to do a 5 square by 5 square pattern and arranged the t-shirts according to color and design
Next, start in the top left corner and pin that t-shirt square right side down to the t-shirt square directly to the right (the red “Theta” on top of the yellow ties). Line up raw edges, pin, and sew a 1/4″ seam.
When the first and second squares are sewn together, pin the second t-shirt square to the third, line up raw edges, pin, and sew a 1/4″ seam. Continue this pattern across the top row and repeat on the next four.
Now, you have five rows containing five t-shirt squares each. next, pin the top row face down on top of the second row, line raw edges, pin, and sew a 1/4″ seam. Try to line up seams as much as possible, this will make the entirety of the quilt more uniform (and it shouldn’t be hard since all of the t-shirt squares are the same size).
Once that’s finished, you have the front of your t-shirt quilt completed.
Take a break, you deserve it.

32 thoughts on “DIY: T-Shirt Quilt Part One (of two)

  1. I made one of these for my boyfriend for his birthday a few years ago – used a bunch of his old band tshirts. He’s obsessed with it – such a great gift!

  2. wow, that’s a great idea. i’ve thought about making a quilt many a times but i just haven’t gotten there yet. hopefully someday! looking forward to the finished project!

  3. I’m just starting this project myself and decided to search google under blogs to hopefully find a tutorial… thank you so much! 🙂 I’m also making mine out of 25 shirts, 5×5 and I don’t plan to add sashing either, so this was the perfect tutorial to find!

  4. Hi There,
    I am making a tshirt quilt for my son…I loved your example…very simple. I just wanted to know about the edging…did you use 3″x3″ strips or just use 3″width. I couldn’t quite understand or see it from photo. I was thinking of just using left over tshirt material…what do you think?

  5. You’re a lifesaver! I had made tshirt quilts for my twin boys when they graduated from high school but that was 13 years ago. My Goddaughter had been asking for a tshirt quilt for 6 years – she started two years before she graduated from high school and now she’s graduating from college on Friday! I sorta remembered how to make one, but I found your step by step instructions and basically kept my computer next to me all weekend! It’s just as I remembered, not hard, but uber labor intensive. I did mine both back and front (she had 50 tshirts!) so it was almost like making two separate quilts. But I can’t wait to see the look on her face when she sees I finally did it:) Thank you so much for “holding my hand” along the way:)

      1. never have, sorry! i would imagine it would be very similar to this one, but with tees on the front and back!

      2. Susan,
        I’ll try to attach a pic here but if it doesn’t show up, send me your email address and I’ll send you the pic. It turned out great – yes, double work, but she LOVED it:)

  6. This is perfect! I have a ton of old Fish Camp shirts that are taking up space in my dresser that I am too attached to to donate. Thanks for the instructions!

  7. I just cut out my T-shirts. I planned to outline each one with broadcloth to give the quilt more stability. I’m seeing a lot of quilts with just t-shirt fabrics. Do they hold up just as well?

    1. yes- but they hold up well because of the interfacing that is used on the back of the tshirts!

    1. it will depend on how large your front ends up being. i used quilting cotton but i think flannel would work, too.

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  9. Some days you have to choose between cleaning the house and playing “Go Fish” with your child.
    They will coordinate any specific t-shirt in addition to polo top
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