Who doesn’t have a pile of tee shirts stashed away somewhere? I have loads of them in all shapes and sizes – some little girly ones that my daughter wore a very long time ago, some as holiday reminders and some that the boys wore that carry particular memories for me. In this t shirt quilt pattern I want to show you how you can use the motifs from these t shirts to make a quilt no matter what the size or colour of the original tee shirts. When making this particular tshirt quilt I have used eleven tee shirts and the final quilt measures 41″ by 45″.
Cutting requirements for the T shirt quilt
Very difficult to give these as it varies according to the size and number of tee shirts that you use. In addition to the T shirts I used about 2 yards of interfacing, probably about 1 yard of sashing fabric and about 1 yard of lining fabric. In addition you will need wadding and backing fabric.
Selecting the T shirts
I chose the Tshirts that held good memories for me, regardless of size or shape, and cut the squares or rectangles of the motif from them. Cut them generously so that you can trim down if necessary. Back these motifs with fusible interfacing of some kind. I have used bondaweb because I happened to have that handy, but anything lightweight that will stabilise the tee shirt will do. The aim is to stop the fabric stretching. What I actually found was that some of the motifs that were already stretched settled down nice and flat when I had ironed the interfacing on.
This may sound like belt and braces, but I then put a backing of ordinary fabric on the back of each motif as well. Not only does this give more stability to the tee shirt fabric, but it also means that you will not be sewing directly on to that fabric – when you sew the sashing it helps. I know it’s an extra step but it works for me.
Laying out the T shirt quilt
Find somewhere large – I use the kitchen floor – and lay out the motifs. Lay the motifs out in columns. Broadly, I have put the larger motifs together in one column and smaller motifs in different columns.
Choose a fairly neutral sashing fabric as you have such a variety of colours to match in with.
Make the columns for the Tshirt quilt
Start with the column containing the largest tee shirts. Add a 1.1/2″ strip of sashing on either side of the widest motif. Measure the total width including the sashing. This is your column width and the other tee shirts in this column need to be made the same width by varying the sashing width. For example, if the column width is 13″ (based on the largest motif with sashing) and the next motif is 9″ wide, the sashing on this second motif will need to be 2.1/2″ wide. This is 9″ for the motif and 5″ for the two widths of sashing and 1″ seam allowance for the two seams. When the sashing is sewn on, the total width will be 13″. If you prefer not to do the maths, you can always just add a wider strip of sashing on each side and then trim the block to 13″ wide.
Continue adding sashing to all the motifs to make them the same width within each column. I have added triangles to one tee shirt just to show you a variation. Cut four 3.1/2″ squares and mark a line along the diagonal on the wrong side. Sew the squares to the motif along the diagonals. Cut the excess triangles above the seam of the tee shirt and the sashing fabric, leaving the backing fabric in place.
When you fold the remaining triangle over the seam you will have added a brown triangle to the corners of the tee shirt which just gives a little variety to your blocks. Now you can add the sashing to the sides of this block.
I find that the safest way to press the blocks is to finger press the seam on the front and then press the block from the back so that you don’t end up scorching the T shirt motif.
The next step is to sew sashing above and below the motifs to complete each column. Sew 1.1/2″ strips of sashing between the blocks of the longest column of the tee shirt quilt and sew the blocks together to complete the column. Repeat with the other columns – I have four motifs in these columns which means I need three strips of sashing between them. Measure the total length of the first column. The other columns need to be made this length – length of the four motifs plus three sashing strips plus 3″ for seam allowances.
Finishing the T shirt quilt
Sew the blocks together within each column and then sew the columns together. Add a 1.1/2″ strip of sashing across the top and cottom of the tee shirt quilt to complete the quilt top.
The layering, quilting and binding when making a tshirt quilt are the same as for any quilt and these steps can be found towards the bottom of the beginner quilting page. For quilting you could stitch in the ditch around each motif or you could tie the quilt or perhaps sew buttons or beads on to secure the three layers together.
Here’s the video:
If you’re wondering what to do with the rest of the T shirt, you could always make a T shirt sleeve scarf.