Thursday, July 21, 2016

How to make a super simple T-shirt Quilt



I've had a box of t-shirts sitting in my cupboard for a few years now, saved with the idea of one day making a t-shirt quilt with them.

Well, this week, I decided that it was time to just do it! 

I read plenty of blog posts from other people who had made t-shirt quilts, and listened to various pieces of advice, then launched into trying it out for myself.

I decided to go the simplest way possible. I only used the t-shirts and a large piece of knit fabric I had in my stash for the backing. I chose not to add any 'extras' like batting, interfacing or sashing.
I used the current needle in my sewing machine - which I found by checking after I made the quilt was a denim needle!
And I cut the t-shirts with just regular dressmaking scissors and sized the pieces by eyeballing them, no measurements.

The quilt turned out the size of the t-shirt pieces I had, finished - roughly 1 m  x 1 m 60 cm (39 x 63").

So here is how to make your very own super simple t-shirt quilt in  10 steps.
There are no measurements in this tutorial. The size of your quilt will depend on the number of t-shirts you have, and the size you cut them to with the logos and designs you have!

I made my first ever video tutorial for this t-shirt quilt. You can watch this, or scroll down for the photo tutorial.






1. Collect your t-shirts

2. Cut the logos/ designs out from the front of the t-shirts, leaving as much space around them as you can. 
Lay them out flat. Do this often to see what you have and get an idea of your layout, size and order.


3. Now take each piece in turn and trim to make the edges straight and the corners square.


Note - I had a piece with a rounded top as it was from a singlet.

You can still use pieces like this - I simply laid this on top of the piece above it and ran a tight zig zag stitch around the edge to hold it in place.


4. Lay your pieces out again, this time matching them up by width. Try to make each row using pieces of a similar width.  You can do this either down or across. I went down here.

5. Shuffle and move your pieces around until you're happy with where they are. I moved mine lots, added and took away pieces until I was happy with the layout and it looked even.

Then trim each row of pieces to make them all the same width.
You can see in this picture I have 4 rows (going downwards) each row being the same width.

6. Now pin then stitch the pieces in each row together one at a time, right sides together.

Once you have all of your rows finished, then you join these rows to each other one by one. Simply pin and stitch.

When stitching with t-shirt fabric, use lots of pins and don't push or pull the fabric through the machine. Hold your work loosely and let the machine feed it through.


7. Now lay your backing fabric flat on the ground face up. Smooth out any wrinkles. 

 Then lay your t-shirt quilt top face down on top of the backing and smooth out any wrinkles.


8. Put plenty of pins around all four edges - but leave a gap of about 30 cm (1') to turn the quilt right sides out.
Roughly trim the edges of the backing and stitch around your quilt edges, remembering to leave that gap!




9.  Turn your quilt right sides out through the gap, then top-stitch all the way around, closing that gap with the edges folded inwards.
I used a dark thread for the top and a purple thread for the bobbin to match the backing fabric.


10. To finish off your quilt, stitch around the edges of your t-shirt pieces. This is called 'stitch in the ditch' as you're stitching along previous lines of stitching, which provide your guide-line!




All done!

Now you can admire your super simple t-shirt quilt!









So do you have a pile of t-shirts saved?  Is it time you jumped in and made a start on that quilt?

You could choose to add batting to make the quilt warmer, or interfacing to make the t-shirt fabric firmer, or to add sashing or binding. There are so many ways to make a quilt - but this is the easiest method I found and I'm really happy with how my little t-shirt quilt turned out!

My daughters love it - it's made from their t-shirts, and my youngest daughter asked me to show me how to make one so she can start saving her clothes to make herself one!


If you liked this tutorial, I have over 100 free sewing tutorials here for you to browse through. They are for making all kinds of things and for all levels of sewing abilities. Do go and take a look at:



And I'd love to know what you think of the video. I'm just learning and playing around with this at the moment!


I'll be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons and direct links can be found on my linky party page.





19 comments:

  1. Nice job on the quilt, Jill. Personally, I always go for static photos and instructions rather than sit through a video, but hey, you've got it all covered. Congrats!

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    1. Thanks Rochelle. I generally like written instructions and photos myself too, but I've had so many people ask for videos, I thought I'd give it a go!

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  2. I'm glad to see that you finished this. It came out great. I have pinned this to my T-Shirt Restyling Pinterest board.

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  3. Hi. U have beautiful blog! And This post, that idea is really great. ;)

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  4. Awesome use of old t-shirts, Jill. I can't believe how quickly you made it - very impressive.

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  5. this is such a lovely idea and would be great to personalise for a child. I'd love to make one of these for my eldest son who will be leaving for University this autumn. I love the way you have used all the logos as the basis for each square. Another brilliant idea so well illustrated.

    thank you for sharing with me at #Trash2Treasure

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    1. Thanks so much Fiona! My original plan was to wait until my girls were leaving school and make one then, but since I'm using my stash up now I thought I'd just jump right in and I"m glad I did! I'm sure in a few years time when they finish school, we'll have saved more t-shirts to make another with!!

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  6. This is fantastic, Jill - I can't believe it's your first video tute! yes, i watched it! Your quilt turned out adorable, and so colorful and cozy looking. and what a fun thing if your girls decide to make more!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to watch my little video! So glad you liked it. *:) happy It was a lot of fun to put together!

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  7. Wouldn't you use some type of fixative to keep that shirt material from slipping around? I would think it would be hard to work with ...
    The reason I ask is that I tried to put a fleece backing on a quilt top with nothing in between and it was absolute disaster for me. I couldn't control the fleece and I had puckers and gathers in all the wrong places.

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    1. Hi Tami, I didn't find I needed any kind of fixative. When I attached the front and back I spent some time smoothing the layers out to get them nice and flat and used lots of pins to hold them in place. Then when I stitched them together using my machine, I just went slowly and let the machine pull the fabrics through with the feed dogs as I stitched. Without me pulling on the fabric at all, I had no problems with it slipping or puckering.

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  8. What a fab idea! #trash2treasure

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  9. Great idea, Jill, and well done on the video!!
    I am a very visual learner so love videos that show me how to do stuff.
    Look forward to your next effort! 👍👍

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