Do you have a few old t-shirts lying around that you don’t wear anymore but don’t want to throw away? Here’s showing you how to put them to good use by making a quilt out of them.
T-shirt quilts are pretty easy to make and take nothing more than a few hours to be completed. In fact, once you have decided on a design and arranged the t-shirt panels, you can complete the sewing part in a jiffy.
There is no need to follow any particular pattern or technique for these quilts, which is one of the reasons why beginners love it.
So, how basic or intricate do you plan to make your t-shirt quilt? Regardless of the intricacy of designs, the basic steps for making t-shirt quilts have been outlined below.
8 Steps to Make a Quilt Out Of T-Shirts
It would take you three hours and cost about thirty dollars to make a quilt out of t-shirts. Before getting into the steps to make the quilt, let’s take a look at the tools and the materials you’ll need.
- Measuring tape
- Sewing machine
- Rotary cutting tools
- Ironing board and iron
- Fusible interfacing
- Backing fabric
- Coordinating fabric (Optional)
- Matching binding and thread
Now that you have got all the materials and tools at one place, here’s moving on to the steps.
Step 1: Planning the Quilt
Take a look at the shirts that that you are planning to use, and answer the following questions before you start making the quilt:
- What is the number of t-shirts you plan to use and how big are they?
- Do you want all the quilt panels of the same size or not? Quilts with uniform size of panels look as good as the quilts with different sizes of panels to form a jigsaw puzzle kind of layout.
- How big should the t-shirt quilt be?
- Are there enough t-shirts available with you to make a quilt as big as you want? If the answer to this question is no, then you would need extra fabric for filling the spaces in between.
Step 2: Choosing the T-shirts
The choice of t-shirts rests on you because there are no rules regarding how a t-shirt quilt is supposed to look like. If you are planning to have a uniform look throughout the quilt, you can use multiple t-shirts of the same color or pattern.
On the other hand, using t-shirts of different colors, patterns, and panels of different sizes is also a look that many quilters love. In fact, we would say you should try both the ideas after you have mastered the steps by making one t-shirt quilt.
Step 3: Cut the T-shirts Apart
Before you run your scissors through the t-shirts, wash and dry them completely. In fact, you should also get them ironed to get rid of all wrinkles.
After you are done with the ironing, take a pair of the sharpest scissors you have for removing the front panel of the t-shirts. As such, start cutting near the sides to leave as much material as you possibly can because you can trim it later on, as needed.
Cut off those connecting seams and sleeves. Moreover, cut right below the neck banding and remove all the hemmed area found along the shirt’s bottom. So, you have a rectangular panel in hand right now.
Now, go and cut the rest of the t-shirts in a similar manner. You can also cut the back of the t-shirt in this way if you plan to use that side of the tees, as well.
Step 4: Mapping out the Design
No particular rules exist for designing t-shirt quilts. However, you should always map out the layout before starting to sew.
So, lay out the t-shirt panels on a flat and even surface. Now, shuffle the panels until the pattern looks right to your eyes. During this stage, you should also cut pieces of the coordinating fabric for filling in the gaps between the t-shirt arrangements.
Also, remember to leave enough fabric to ensure a ½-inch worth of seam allowance.
Step 5: Trimming Your T-shirt Panels
It is now time to trim the t-shirt panels as per your design. Make sure to leave enough material around the edges of the t-shirts for about a ½-inch seam allowance and leave an inch worth of additional fabric that you can cut after applying the fusible interfacing.
In this way, you will have tightly fused edges for the final cuts. Also, use your rotary cutting tools to make it easy to have clean cuts.
Step 6: Get the Interfacing Fused To Your T-Shirts
Follow the instructions of the manufacturer for fusing the interfacing right on the back of your t-shirt panels. Also, make sure that the interfacing remains securely bonded. Now, get the panels trimmed to your preferred size, while leaving that ½-inch seam allowance.
Step 7: Start Sewing the T-Shirt Quilt
Starting to sew the quilt is pretty easy and straightforward. However, you would find it much easier to sew the quilt using your sewing machine rather than manually.
So, start by pinning together the t-shirt panels as per your preferred design. Afterward, use a ½-inch seam allowance for sewing the panels, including any sashing by putting fabric strips between the panels or any other type of patchwork. Sew it all together in a row.
Additionally, keep pressing the seam allowances open. Now, start joining the rows while matching the intersections where the seams meet when needed for designing purposes.
It is important to mention here that if you are a beginner, practice making a small quilt with scrap materials from the tees before cutting and sewing the actual quilt.
Step 8: Cutting and Sewing the Backing and Batting Fabric
In the next step, cut off the backing and batting fabric as per the size of the quilt top. Then, get the batting layered between the backing and top, while pinning the three layers together.
Afterward, get the layers sewed together while using the stitch design that you prefer. Lastly, sew the quilt binding, i.e. the fabric strips for covering the raw edges, right around the quilt’s perimeter with a ¼-inch seam allowance.
How Many T-Shirts Must Be Used For Making A Quilt?
There is no set number for how many t-shirts you plan to use because it all depends on the size of the t-shirts.
However, in order to give you a general idea, you need at least sixteen tees of the average size to make a quilt the size of a throw blanket. Anything less than sixteen might lead you to use complimentary fabric.
As a matter of fact, it is always better to have a few extra tees near at hand rather than sitting down with the exact number of tees you know you will need.
What Kind Of Needle Suits T-Shirt Quilts?
You should switch to the ballpoint needles, which are especially used for knitting. Many standard sewing machines end up snagging the fabric of the t-shirt, though this will not be an issue while utilizing interfacing. But, just to be safe, go with nothing but the ballpoint needles.
Should You Use Polyester Battling For T-Shirt Quilts?
You can use all kinds of batting for t-shirt quilts, but the 100% polyester battings are the worst. In case you don’t quilt the thing close enough, the batting will start to wad up after a number of washing cycles.
Gradually, it will start poking out of the back of the quilt through the fibers of that backing material in such a way that you’ll be able to pull out strips of the fiber.
It is best to go for something that is a blend of twenty percent polyester and eighty percent cotton, instead of a hundred percent polyester batting.