Home Quilting 101Quilting TechniquesPiecing a Quilt T-Shirt Quilts – Easier Than You Think!

T-Shirt Quilts – Easier Than You Think!

And An Excellent Way to Preserve Memories!

by Beth Cooper

“Grandma, will you make me a t-shirt quilt?”

“Hi Susan, I know you own a sewing machine, will you make my daughter a t-shirt quilt?”

“Oh, Carol honey, I know you like to make blankets, here’s a stack of t-shirts from when Bobby was in grade school, just whip these up into one of the things you do for fun.  Thanks.”

Do any of these questions sound familiar?  Have you been the victim of repeated solicitations of t-shirt quilts?  If so, you may be entitled to financial compensation.  Just call 1-800-QUILT-LAW.  Just kidding.  Seriously though, doesn’t everyone want a t-shirt quilt?  The answer is a definite yes!  What can you do about it?  Make one!!

So, how hard are they to make? 

Not hard at all is the answer.  Do not be intimidated by a t-shirt quilt.  You can do it!  There is just one important thing to remember.  Use stabilizer!  This is so important.  Stabilizer is ironed on the wrong side of the t-shirt.  This allows the t-shirt fabric to be “stable.”  Most t-shirts are made from jersey cotton, and it is stretchyyyy.  And stretchy fabric is bad news in a quilt.  Stabilizer will keep the fabric from stretching. 

How do you make a t-shirt quilt?

Step one:  Wash your t-shirts.

Step two:  Decide what size you want your blocks to be.  Go through the stack of t-shirts and pick the largest print or design you will be using and measure it.  Use that size for your blocks. 

Step three:  Cut the t-shirts.  Just remember to cut them much larger than what you want them in the quilt.  You’ll trim them down later.  For the first cut, you will cut them much larger than what you need.  Let’s say that one more time and louder for the ones in the back, cut much larger than you need them to be!!

Step four:  Here we are to the most important part.  Add stabilizer.  Iron that stabilizer onto the wrong side of your t-shirt pieces.  If you’re not sure what kind of stabilizer to buy, this option works great. Click here.

Step five:  Trim your stabilized t-shirts into the size of block that you want to use in your quilt.  You can use a ruler for this. It’s always easiest if you have a square ruler the same size as what size block you are making. The most common size of blocks for t-shirt quilts is 12 1/2″ and this template set works perfectly for trimming those shirts up to the correct size.

Step six:  Now that you have a pile of nicely trimmed up and stabilized blocks, you can either sew all of the blocks into rows or add sashing around the blocks and then sew into rows.  There are different layouts to choose from.  It’s a personal choice.

The Missouri Star Quilt Co. T-Shirt Quilt Pattern.
This t-shirt quilt pattern can be found here.

As you can see, there really aren’t that many steps to making a t-shirt quilt.  Everyone loves them and everyone is looking for someone to make them one.  Need some extra cash?  Cash in on the t-shirt quilt craze and get yourself a little side hustle making t-shirt quilts! 

Need more guidance? This video by Laura at Sew Very Easy is very straightforward and helpful.  She does a great job showing you exactly how to make a t-shirt quilt. 

Laura at Sew Very Easy explains how to make a t-shirt quilt.

Have you ever heard of t-shirt quilt kit?  Yep!!  There’s such a thing.  It has everything in it you need to make a t-shirt quilt (except your favorite t-shirts!).  A kit makes everything easier, doesn’t it? 

A boxed kit for making t-shirt quilts, offered by Missouri Star Quilt Company
This kit makes creating a t-shirt quilt so simple! Find it here!
Misty and Natalie from Missouri Star Quilt Company show off the t-shirt quilt kit.

With all of this new knowledge on t-shirt quilts, you can finally make one for that special child, grandchild, or neighbor that keeps asking you for one.  Or you might be getting financial compensation for the repeated solicitations of t-shirt quilts after all – from all of the people paying you to make one!

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1 year ago

The blocks don’t have to be the same size. It is more interesting and artistic if the sizes are varied. Use sashing to size them.

Judy Dubler
Judy Dubler
11 months ago

When making a tshirt quilt do you put batting inside. I am using a cloth fabric on the back.

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