Learning how to make a T-shirt Quilt

I've challenged myself to use up my fabric and crafting stash - not just some of it, but ALL of it! Yep, probably a crazy challenge, but I've reached boil over point with having too much stuff and an extreme solution seems to be the way to go!

I've done a couple of smaller projects already - and this is my first bigger one - to use up a box of t-shirts I've been saving when my daughters discard them as being too small or just not 'cool' anymore. 
I did have the idea that in the future I would make some kind of quilt for them out of the t-shirts. So with my new challenge I thought, 'why wait?'. It's winter here now in Cairns and a blanket or quilt would at least be used instead of a box of t-shirts just sitting in the cupboard!

T-shirt Upcycling

So, here's what I started with:

All kinds of shapes and sizes of designs, logos and pictures. Should make for an interesting quilt/rug if I can get it right! Hopefully not just a messed up mish-mash.

First I have cut and ironed all the designs from the t-shirts. I cut them roughly at first, then neatened the edges of each one to square them off.

The pieces are all kinds of sizes, and I also have one piece with a rounded top - it was a singlet PJ top and I cut as far out from the design as I could! I don't want to cut any of the design off to make it square, but I'm not sure what to do about the rounded top...any suggestions welcome!

A quilt, a rug or maybe a blanket?

I randomly laid out the pieces, then rearranged them to get this.

The four 'columns' of t-shirts are roughly the same width, and I think I can trim all the pieces to make them fit reasonably evenly together.

I tried to spread the colours out, but other that that, there is no reason for this ordering of the t-shirt pieces other than sizes.

How to put them together?

So there you have where I'm at now. The next step is to put the pieces together into a quilt/blanket.  

I've been checking out some posts online to see how other people have made their t-shirt quilts. Here are some bits and pieces of advice I found:

One suggestion is to cut your t-shirt pictures out and then use fusible webbing to attach them to a backing fabric and applique around them.

Sashing is another way to work around different sized pictures. This simply means adding extra fabric around the pictures to make them into the right sized blocks for your nice even sized quilt.

Some tutorials say to use iron-on interfacing on the back of each t-shirt picture as the fabric is stretchy. This should then make the blocks easier to sew evenly.

Then there is finishing the quilt around the edges. Do you stitch it all wrong sides together, quilting as you go, then add a binding around the edges?  Or stitch the front and back right sides together and then top-stitch around the outside and quilt afterwards?
Or a third option is to stitch the front and back together block by block, folding the seams over and top stitching as you go around each block.

Please Help!

Have you every made a t-shirt quilt? Do you have any advice, suggestions or opinions as to how I should continue with this project?

I have some soft knit fabric from my stash that I'm going to use for the backing, basically because it's a piece big enough to use and a nice soft fabric for a blanket/quilt.

Please leave me a comment below.
 I'm ready to get stuck into putting this 't-shirt' quilt together!

I've now finished my t-shirt quilt. You can see the finished quilt, plus a photo and written tutorial - and my first ever video tutorial, showing how you can make one of your own here!


  1. I love it!
    Here you can see the two I had made:

    1. Thank you Leen! I just went and had a look at your t-shirt blankets - they are beautiful!!

  2. I personally would use a serger to sew the pieces together. The rounded pieces would need to be pieced with another piece to make a straight edge. Then I would make a duvet with the backing piece you say you have. I have pinned this to my Pinterest T-Shirt Restyling board where there is also a T-Shirt quilt pin you may want to look at: https://www.pinterest.com/thelostapron/t-shirt-restyling/

  3. Thanks for that Ana - I hadn't thought of using my serger to join the pieces together! I found that quilt on your PInterest Board - and started following your board too! You've found some more great t-shirt upcycling ideas - thanks!!

  4. SUCH a neat idea! :)

    I’d love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, and tips: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

    1. Thanks Jessica. I will pop on over to your Facebook group and share it!

  5. Hi Jill, wow that is a great way to use up the old t shirts of your kids. You are so crafty! :)
    Thanks for sharing at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.
    Enjoy the week.
    Julie xo

    1. Thanks Julie. I had a lot of fun making this t-shirt quilt! Hope you have a great week too!


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