I blogged about an easy way to make a T-shirt quilt five years ago. I just recently made a new one for my nephew who just graduated high school and I thought it would be a good idea to re-blog about the process.
I think this is the easiest way to make a big heavy t-shirt quilt and wanted to share the steps of it for you.
The first thing I did was take my big 15” square and cut out all the t-shirts. I aimed to get any writing that was on the front or back of the shirts. Don’t worry too much about the sleeve or collar seams and be sure and save the backs as well you may need them in the long run, depending on how many t-shirts you have. Cut out bigger around than the 15” as it will shrink up a bit as you quilt it. Just use the square as a guide.
Second thing is to get the backing for the quilt. I decided to use flannel on mine, it makes it nice and warm, but it also makes it heavier so keep that in mind.
It takes 35 t-shirts to make a twin size quilt. I cut out the flannel using my ruler and rotary cutter, cutting across the flannel every 17 inches and then cutting that into 2 17” x 20” pieces. I used seven different boy prints of flannel to give the back a patchwork look to it. You can’t squeeze out three squares across unless the fabric is 54” wide and you want to have the backing pieces bigger than the front pieces. I then used a 17” square piece of batting to create individual sandwiches. It is much easier to have the batting and backing bigger than the top square to easily place the top square over a larger backing unit. I then quilted each of these squares individually and once they where quilted I squared them up again to 15”.
I then laid them out on the floor to arrange them. If you use different color flannels you might want to lay out the t shirts on the floor first and arrange the flannel so that no two that are the same are next to each other before you start the quilting process. Take a picture so you can remember the way you laid it out.
Jacob’s new quilt Erik’s quilt 5 years ago.
Once I had the arrangement that I liked I sergered all the squares together so that the serging is facing up on the top of the quilt and the flannel is all enclosed on the back of the quilt. It was a very fast and fun way to make a t-shirt quilt. It has held up very well to college abuse and Erik will have his for a long time. I am sure Jacob will too. By the way they were both TRILLED to get them. Boys love quilts too.
If you run out of t-shirt fronts you always have the backs. Remember it takes 35 squares to make a twin quilt. I used the backs and put family pictures on them using Bubble Jet and then quilted them. I put a traditional binding on the quilt using the left over flannel bits. You need to cut the binding wider than you normally would as the flannel adds bulk. I cut my 3 1/4” wide and then doubled it over.