Thursday, September 23, 2010

T-Shirt Quilts

Welcome back for my second ever blog post!  This one is about t-shirt quilts.  So far I’ve made three t-shirt quilts.  My husband had so many t-shirts he collected (and couldn’t wear any longer) that I decided to make a two sided t-shirt quilt. 

It took about 40 t-shirts to make each side. The t-shirts were fused to mid-weight interfacing to stabilize them, and behaved just like woven fabric when I sewed the blocks together.   The blocks were cut to whatever size the image was plus whatever extra it needed to be a multiple of 3” on each side (3” by 9” or 12” by 18”or whatever) plus an extra inch for ½” seam allowances.  They went together like a jigsaw puzzle. I didn’t need to do any extra cutting to get square tops.  There were a couple of blocks left over for next time.


The tops were so heavy that Wanda Rains from Rainy Day Quilts, my machine quilter at the time (now I’m trying to do it myself), convinced me to make two quilts instead.  She used felted cotton batts and backed them with navy blue flannel.  She sent a note saying that they were pretty difficult to quilt, and recommended light weight fusible next time.  She mentioned that the needles kept getting gummed up with the fusible stuff.  They came out great, nonetheless, because Wanda is awesome.  Check out the stitching below.

Wanda's Quilting

Fast forward to last Christmas, when my daughter’s friend Jose came over and brought a collection of monster-movie t-shirts.  This time, I used light weight interfacing, and in order to make it look like the t-shirts are individual frames in a movie film reel, I found some striped interlock fabric to mimic the sprockets.  This was also fused to light weight interfacing.  It seemed to sew okay, but the fabric stretched so much that—I kid you not—I had to rip and resew the seams about 12 times to get the top to square up.  To accomplish that, there were pins about every half inch along the new seams.  Seems like the interfacing didn’t do much this time to stabilize the interlock.  The red vine quilting fabric that acts as a background helped somewhat to keep the “film reels” squared up.  It was backed with flannel and has a light felted poly batt.  There was some fusible gunk build-up on the needle when I lightly quilted it, but it wasn’t too bad.  I finished it in time for his birthday in July.

 Next time, I’m going to try quilting the t-shirts individually to the flannel without interfacing. Then I’ll sew the blocks together, and trim the seams so the back will be a flannel rag quilt and the front, a t-shirt quilt. 

 Now, if only I could find a way to shoot photos of my quilts that doesn’t make it look like the quilt has hands and feet…

 Please let me know if you’ve tried making a t-shirt quilt, what worked and what didn’t.  Thanks for visiting!



  1. Interfacing before, that's a lot of work but fabulous result looking at your quilt!

  2. I've seen a lot of Tshirt quilts about the place and these are among the loveliest and most interesting I've seen. Love the one that looks like film strip!


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