Textile art has been around since the beginning of civilization. It has served as both a form of self-expression and a practical tool for survival, warmth, and comfort. In fact, textiles can be traced back more than 100,000 years ago.
While the tools and materials have evolved and changed over time, with the invention of new technology, agricultural discoveries, and travel and trade, the cultural and personal importance of quilting, sewing, and weaving, remain as essential today as they were during the early days of humanity.
Step by Step Guide on How to Make a T-Shirt Quilt
Here at Love Sew, we believe that ancient and beautiful art forms should be accessible to everyone. That’s why we’re sharing our favorite tools and resources for creating quilts, clothing, and more at home today.
One of our favorite projects that holds a lot of personal significance and is easy to try out with the tools you already have is the t-shirt quilt. Here’s what you’ll want to think about when it’s time to make your next t-shirt quilt.
What Is a T-Shirt Quilt?
We collect many t-shirts over the course of our lives. They are often related to important events or activities, like a school play, summer camp, volunteer event, or family vacation. These t-shirts can be wonderful memories, but they can also take up room in the closet, and you may find that you simply don’t have enough time to wear them all. That’s where the t-shirt quilt comes in handy.
A t-shirt quilt, at its simplest, is a quilt made of your favorite t-shirts or other textiles. It can be a wonderful way of repurposing your mementos from important or happy memories and allows your favorite shirts to last even longer.
One of the reasons that t-shirt quilts are such a great option for crafters at all levels is that they can be made to match your skill. You can make it with a simple pattern that lines up your favorite shirts or a more complex style that takes your skills up a notch. You can also adjust it to the number of t-shirts you want to use. Around 30 t-shirts, depending on size, will make up a full-size quilt, but you can make a smaller throw blanket with fewer shirts. If you have more, you can cut the logos and designs smaller to fit them all onto your quilt.
A t-shirt quilt varies from a t-shirt blanket in that it uses three layers, rather than two. A quilt will have batting in between the top and bottom layers, which is what keeps it so warm. You can also make your quilt more comfortable by using a soft fabric for the backing. By contrast, a t-shirt blanket will be two layers sewn together and is more comfortable for warmer weather, as it doesn’t have the added insulation.
How to Make a T-Shirt Quilt
When you’ve collected enough shirts for your t-shirt quilt, it’s time to begin the crafting process. Here are the tools you’ll need and the steps you’ll take to create a lovely memory quilt of your own.
Tools and Materials for a T-Shirt Quilt
It’s important to have the right tools for the job. Here are a few of the tools and materials you’ll want to have on hand when it comes to making your t-shirt quilt.
Your sewing machine is an essential tool in your kit. While there are many ways to hand-stitch your next quilt, a sewing machine can make the process faster. Hand-stitching is an art form, as well, but it can be helpful to know how to utilize your machine when needed.
Rotary Cutting Tool and Scissors
You’re going to need to cut your t-shirts down to a uniform size and shape or to match your patterns. A rotary cutting tool is used for cutting large pieces of fabric, and scissors can help you get a closer cut.
A measuring tape or ruler set will help you to get the uniform shapes and sizes you need when cutting your t-shirts. It will also ensure that your batting and bottom layer are the right sizes.
T-shirt quilts are often very large, but even if you’re working on a smaller project, you’ll want to have pins on hand to keep all the pieces in place.
Iron and Board
It can be difficult to work with wrinkled fabrics, which is why it’s important to have an iron on hand. T-shirts can become wrinkled with use, so iron out your shirts before cutting.
You’ll want to have a backing for your quilt so everything can be properly tucked away. Since the quilt pattern is entirely up to you, find a color or style that matches your vision. Cozy fabrics like fleece are often used for quilts.
A quilt is set apart by the batting between the layers. Make sure you have enough batting for the size of quilt you’re making.
One way to connect your t-shirts is through fusible interfacing, which uses a type of iron-on method. There are other options, but this is recommended for its ease of use.
Gather up all your shirts for the quilt!
The Steps for Making a T-Shirt Quilt
Once you have all of your materials gathered, here are the steps you’ll want to take to assemble your t-shirt quilt.
1. Make a Plan
You’ll want to look at the number and condition of the shirts you have and create a design first. This will help you when it comes to gathering your materials. The number of shirts you have will help to determine the size of the quilt.
If you have too many shirts for one size, you can use the remainder on the back of the quilt. If there aren’t quite enough shirts, add colored shapes to create a pattern you’re sure to love.
2. Prepare Your Shirts
Begin by washing and ironing your shirts as necessary. Once dry, cut the design away from the shirt, around the neck and hems. Leave as much room around the design as possible.
3. Organize Your Shirts and Cut
Take the time to plan out your design and put your shirts into place. Create a blueprint you can return to as you begin the sewing and quilting process. Once you’re certain of your design, you can cut the shirts down to size. Make sure you leave a seam allowance.
4. Fuse the Shirts
Use your preferred fusing method to connect the shirts together and then trim your fabric. Make sure you leave enough fabric for a seam, about ½ inch.
5. Connect Your Panels
Connect your panels together by pinning and running through your sewing machine. This is also a useful place to hand stitch if you’re interested in adding more of a unique and personal touch to the quilt.
6. Complete Your Quilt
Cut the back of your fabric and batting down to the right size. Connect the three layers with pins, and then use your favorite thread color to sew the layers together. You can also hand-stitch specific pieces as part of your style or design.
7. Make Adjustments
If you still have any ragged edges, then you can use quilt binding to give it a complete, polished look after the quilt is finished.
You now have a beautiful, cozy quilt to share with loved ones or cuddle under on chilly nights. Now you can begin collecting t-shirts for the next great quilt!
There are so many individual ways to create a t-shirt quilt, which makes it a great option for quilters at all skill levels. It’s the perfect craft for creating a lasting memory out of your most important t-shirts, and you can adjust it to fit the number of t-shirts you have or your favorite pattern. If you want to wait to collect up to around 30 shirts, you can have a full-length quilt, but you can make a larger or smaller quilt if you have more or less.
And Love Sew is here to help you every step of the way. We believe that creating beautiful, long-lasting pieces should be available to every artist and crafter. That’s why we carry our favorite tools and guides for getting the job done right every time and why we’re sharing what we’ve learned over the years of creating t-shirt quilts and a whole lot more ourselves.
Gather up your favorite t-shirt and begin creating a lasting t-shirt quilt full of memories at home today!