Tshirt Quilt


After school shopping we made Tyler clean out his closet.  He brought out 3 huge piles of outgrown clothes!  What’s really sad is that we’ve only lived in this house for a year and a half.  He’s grown that much.  Normally, we will give away all the clothes to friends or Goodwill.  He just had so much, I thought I should make something with them.  I weeded through all the things I couldn’t bear to cut apart and pulled out about 25 tshirts.  Yes, 25.  I still have a huge pile to give away.  More than enough to make a lap quilt.


1.  Measure your shirts to decide your quilt block size.  Your block sizes are going to depend on the size of your tshirts.  My son is 14 and was in a boys lg/xlg.  Most of his shirts were at least 15 inches across the chest.  So I made my blocks 15″ x 15″.  I had to fudge on a couple of them and I screwed up a couple more.  Also the boys shirts had most of the designs really high on the shirt, so I had to do my best to get the pics in the block.

2.  Cut off sleeves.  I found it easier to cut the blocks if I took the sleeves off first.

3.  Next, cut your block.  I had to cut just under the neck for most of my shirts.  I cut through both of the sides at the same time (unless I was trying to use the design on the back also).

4.  Cut out all your blocks.  After a few mistakes, I had 20 shirts.  So with fronts & backs, I had 40 pieces.

5.  Cut out 20 15″ x 15″ blocks of batting.

6.  Make your quilt sandwiches.  Place bottom layer (back of shirt) wrong side up.  Put  block of batting on top, then cover with front of shirt (right side up).  Pin in a couple of places to hold together.  Do this 19 more times.

7.  Draw lines from corner to corner, making a big X.  Don’t you love the pink shirt.  That’s what happens when there is more girls than boys on the team.

8.  Stitch along the lines.  Sorry about the crappy pic.  My new natural lighting in my craft room doesn’t brighten too well.  I didn’t use a walking foot, my machine seems to do okay most of the time.  I did pull a little on the corners to give a little tension.  This helped prevent puckering, especially where the two stitches cross.

9.  I guess this is where I got too excited about being done and forgot to take pictures.  Arrange your blocks in an order that looks good to you.  I had a hard time with all the dark colors not ending up together.  I put 4 rows across and 5 rows down.  This made a nice size for a lap quilt.

10.  Now sew together like any rag quilt.  Sorry again about the no pic thing.  Sew together your top row of four.  Take one sandwich lay it right side down.  Place another sandwich directly on top, right side up.  Make sure all of your designs will line up (one of mine is upside down, thank goodness you can’t really tell with the pattern).

11.  Line up all of the edges and pin down one side.  Stitch that side using a 1″ seam (you can use 1/2″, but the tshirts don’t fray, so I went with 1″).

12.  Stitch all your rows the same way.

13.  Now sew your rows together.  Lay the first row right side down.  Place the second row on top, right side up.  Match your seams, pin & sew.

14.  Sew all your rows together the same way.

15.  Now sew a 1″ seam around the whole quilt.

16.  Get comfortable, the tedious part begins.  In all those seams you have, you need to trim the batting.  Trim off all visible batting close to the seam.  Be careful not to cut your stitches.

17.  Now you need to clip those seams.  Clip every seam about 1/2″ apart 1/8″ from stitches.  Once again, be careful not to cut your stitches.   This step takes a while.  My thumb was sore for a day afterwards.

18.  Wash your quilt and you are done!!!  Washing won’t make this fabric fray.  It just softened it up some.  I’m pretty sure Tyler didn’t wash all those shirts before he gave them to me. I thought I was making this for Tyler, but my husband already claimed it.  It’s so soft with all those broken in tshirts.

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