How to Make a T-Shirt Quilt

comments (15) August 11th, 2008     

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lcampb Lilly Campbell, contributor
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The finished product is just waiting to be moved to my dorm bed.

The finished product is just waiting to be moved to my dorm bed.

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I am proud to say that my summer project is complete and just in time, since I will be heading back to school this weekend. I wanted to offer a tutorial for my quilt as a goodbye and good luck to all you crafters out there.

Note: Given my time constraints and inexperience, I cut some corners, literally and figuratively, in putting together this final product. I did not bind the quilt because I was intimidated by all the instructions I found for binding. Unfortunately, Mary Ray's "How to Make Mitered Corners for Bindings" came out just a few days too late because I think her awesome tutorial would have given me the courage to try. Regardless, you can apply binding and quilting techniques to your T-shirt quilt if you're up to the challenge.

t-shirt Get more T-shirt projects:

• How to Restyle a T-Shirt into a Ruffly Cardigan
• How to Upcycle a T-Shirt into a Cardigan
• How to Crochet a Rug out of T-Shirts

• How to Make a Headband from an Old T-Shirt

How to Make a T-shirt Quilt


  • 24 cotton T-shirts (this was for a 4-foot x 6-foot quilt for a twin-size bed). You may want extras so that you can decide to leave some out at the end if they don't fit your color scheme.
  • fabric scrap strips, up to 14 inches long and 1 inch to 4 inches wide
  • large fabric piece for backing, 2 yards (72 inches) by 3 yards (108 inches) gave me enough extra to make a border for the front
  • rotary cutter, cutting mat, long plexiglass ruler, and scissors
  • sewing machine, pins, and thread
  • iron and fusible interfacing
  • heavyweight batting
  • 3 skeins neutral-colored embroidery thread and embroidery needle

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posted in: fabric

Comments (15)

lorahyatt writes: Awesome job on your quilt this post couldn't of come at a perfect time! I was given a huge bag of T-shirts from my Grandaughter a couple of weeks ago. She will be a senior this year and has been playing softball since she was knee high to a grasshopper. Just got through prepping all of the shirts, cutting sleeves and neckbands off and stood and stared at all the different sizes of the emblems. Your post just saved me a lot of thinking time, lol
Scraps ! What a perfect idea since I have lots of those! Also the idea of tying it off instead of quilting it, now I'm kind of tossing the idea around about using some really tiny ribbon to tie it off with and make some tiny little bows since she and her teams always wore hair ribbons, I could color coordinate with the shirts. Found some really cute softball print fabric for the backing too! Oh my, the ideas are flowing now! Thanks for your post, and again great job,
Posted: 6:23 am on September 1st
SonyaMae writes: I used your tutorial to make a lovely quilt from about 40 Harley Davidson shirts (for a friend). It turned out beautifully. instead of other fabrics I used the extra fabric such as sleeves and tails from the same shirts and mixed and matched the colors. Thank You very much for sharing the step by step tutorial. Started the quilt on October 2 and delivered it to my friend on Nov 17. This was in my spare time between working my full time job.
Posted: 8:01 am on November 21st
mariadvg writes: I haven't sewn before and want to tackle this project. Is there hope for me??
Posted: 9:23 pm on June 25th
LSzogas writes: Hi!

I just finished my first t-shirt quilt, and I'm ready to start tying. My squares are 12", and my sashing is 1-1/2". I've decided that I'll tie every 4" in the shirt, plus at 4" intervals on the seams. Does this sound reasonable?

Your method of tying sounds very efficient - I hadn't thought about making a line of stitches, and then cutting them. What kind of thread did you use to tie? I was thinking about embroidery thread - but not sure whether 3 strands or 6 strands would be best. I've seen both mentioned.

Thanks again for your suggestions.


Posted: 1:59 pm on September 12th
librarygirlo writes: Very inspiring. I think the key to success just may be the use of interfacing behind the t-shirt material!
Posted: 10:16 am on March 7th
sd101 writes: how long did it take you to make the quilt!!
It looks fabulous!!!
Posted: 6:45 pm on November 26th
Posted: 5:25 am on July 16th
Mickderb writes: Your quilt is very nice, so colorful and fun. T-shirt quilting is my favorite pass time. I would like to share with readers that recycling the unused backs and sleeves of the t-shirts can be donated to animal shelters or to painters/construction companies. (Some who might even pay for them as clean-up rags).
Posted: 12:45 pm on January 17th
coffee_snob writes: Thank you. Your instructions have inspired me to make a t-shirt quist for my husband. He collects t-shirts, but he no longer wears the older ones. This way he can enjoy them all over again.
Posted: 8:26 am on October 15th
4dogs3cats writes: I am delighted to find this....its something I have planned to do, for a long time, for my son..he was into all kinds of activities and each time, we got another t shirt..this will be a REAL memory quilt! thanks.......
Posted: 2:49 am on September 28th
KeetaCollection writes: What a wonderful quilt. I can see you put a lot of time into it.
Posted: 4:20 pm on September 18th
_nikki_ writes: is that a t-shirt with a Corgi on it I see!?!!?
Posted: 4:21 pm on August 25th
IggyJingles writes: Congratulations, it looks just beautiful. Don't forget to sign the back. Quilters will often sew a small hand written (or embroidered) label with their name, the date, and any name they have given the piece. It's art. It deserves a signature.
Posted: 9:28 pm on August 11th
MichaelaMurphy writes: Wow, Lilly, this is terrific! I agree with Diane, the framing really sets off the whole quilt very nicely. Thanks for all of your hard work this summer! Good luck at school, I'll miss you. M
Posted: 6:08 pm on August 11th
Sister_Diane writes: I love the idea of framing the t-shirt pieces in other fabrics - the mix is really fun, and also makes this more elegant than any other t-shirt quilt I've seen. Nice work! And, good luck at school!
Posted: 5:01 pm on August 11th
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