I’m not sure why, but those old t-shirts that have been shoved in boxes or bottom drawers definitely tug at our hearts with sweet memories of years past. From volleyball teams, marathons, travel, or other adventures and sports, those t-shirts represent a big or small portion of who we are. When extra space is needed in a closet or drawer, those t-shirts aren’t usually the ones to go. They are just too precious to get rid of so making them into a quilt is a great way to preserve them. I can’t even begin to count how many people have asked me “How do you make a t-shirt quilt?” So…I’m going to show you how and it’s easy!
SWEET MEMORIES TEE SHIRT QUILT
Tee shirt fabric is incredibly stretchy, so before sewing those sweet memory blocks they have to be stabilized. The best way is to use Therm O Web’s Heat N Bond Fusible Interfacing. It keeps the t-shirts from stretching out of shape without making them stiff and when washed they remain soft. I love using it and wouldn’t use anything else. It totally makes this quilt so easy to put together! We have a brand-new product to make t-shirt quilting even easier, HeatnBond EZ TEE Stabilizer. Click here to learn more.
This quilt was made out of my hubby’s marathon shirts where he was a participant, planner, or part of the crew. The finished quilt measures 54” x 68” with finished blocks at 12” x 12” (unfinished blocks are 12½” x 12½”.)
Let’s get started making those old t-shirts into a sweet and memorable treasure!
What you need:
- Border #1 (black): Cut 2 – 2½” x 40½” strips and cut 2 – 2½” x 58½” strips
- Border #2 (orange): Cut 2 – 2” x 44½” strips and cut 2 – 2” x 61½” strips
- Border #3 (black): Cut 2 – 3½” x 47½” strips and cut 2 – 3½” x 67½” strips
- Fabric for backing: 54” x 68”
- Fabric for binding (orange): 1/2 yard
Check your t-shirt’s logo/decal to make sure a 12” finished block is big enough. Blocks can be made bigger to fully capture a larger logo/decal, just make sure you cut all blocks the same size for this quilt and make adjustments in the length of borders and sashings. The directions in this post are for the finished 12” x 12” blocks.
A few things to deal with are small logos with the date on the sleeve or back, weirdly placed logos with little fabric around it, and/or maybe a stain or two. Sewing smaller pieces together to create a big block works just fine. As for stains, even though my hubby felt his bloody bike fall stains (badges of honor, I guess) would be fine on the quilt, I chose to cut those out and piece other parts together to get the right-sized block.
Select 12 t-shirts that you are willing to cut up.
Cut the sides of the t-shirts leaving plenty of room around the logo/decal. Using the 12½” ruler or ruler w/rotary cutter, fussy cut around logo/decal to make 12½” blocks. *Fussy Cut means you cut a specific spot of fabric to show in the quilt you are making. Allow a 1/4″ seam allowance around the logo/decal. Cut 12 – 12 ½” squares of Therm O Web’s Heat N Bond® Fusible Interfacing . Following the Therm O Web’s Heat N Bond® Fusible Interfacing or Heatnbond EZ Tee directions, iron the adhesive side of the fusible interfacing (it’s a little rougher feeling on the adhesive side) to the wrong side of the t-shirt block. Be careful not to touch your iron to the right side of the logo/decal or it might melt. Let them sit until cool to the touch. Measure the blocks again to ensure they are 12½” x 12½”; trim if necessary. Your blocks are now ready for assembling into a quilt. I love that interfacing and what it does to stabilize the blocks!
Sewing instructions (all seams are 1/4”):
Sew 2½” x 12½” sashing strips to the bottom of nine blocks. Sew blocks together as shown:
Sew 2½” x 54½” sashing strips between t-shirt rows: Border #1: 2½“ x 44½” strips to top of quilt. Next, sew 2½” x 61½” strips to sides of quilt. Border #2: Sew 2” x 47½” strips to the top of the quilt. Next, sew 2” x 58½” strips to sides of the quilt. Border #3: Sew 3½” x 47½” strips to the top of the quilt. Next, sew 2 – 3½” x 67½” strips to sides of the quilt. Quilt and add binding using your favorite method.
So, are you ready to drag those favorite t-shirts out of their boxes or drawers? Gathering together your teenager’s sports shirts would make a great graduation or birthday gift, don’t you think! I say go for it and make a sweet memory for someone you love.