Thursday, March 1, 2012

DIY T-Shirt Quilt

T-Shirt Quilt
Before I explain this project, I need to set two things straight. First off-- I'm a sentimental hoarder. If a fond memory is even remotely related to an inanimate object, I keep it. For example, I have almost every ticket from any movie I've ever seen, I have a serious problem with getting rid of stuffed animals, and I have a knickknack box full of dumb things like a dried clover flower that my friend threw at me while we were lying in a cornfield, bored, waiting for a cross country race to end. (I also have a craft supply hoarding problem, but that's a different story.) The second thing I need to get straight is that I've always been a joiner. Clubs, teams, committees, sororities, you name it. In the life of an average American teenager, if a person has the sentimental hoarding trait mixed with the joiner trait, by the age of 18, that American teenager will have a TON of t-shirts. And this is where the t-shirt blanket comes in.
T-Shirt Blanket


My mom made me this blanket as a high school graduation present, and it is still one of the coolest things she's made me. This blanket is so meaningful because those shirts were my favorite shirts EVER growing up.

T-Shirt Blanket
Space camp, elementary school, 4-H club, AAU basketball, student council-- all of the shirts are there. It's like my childhood is stitched up in all that jersey knit.

T-Shirt Blanket
I don't know when my mom made the decision that she was going to keep all of her kids' t-shirts and then someday make a blanket of them, but it worked out that way and now she's working on my little brother's t-shirt blanket as he gets ready to graduate and go off to college-- so it's kind of perfect timing to write this tutorial. :)

What you need to make a t-shirt blanket:
-T-shirts (I used probably 30-40.)
-Lightweight fusible interfacing, just go to a fabric store like JoAnns and tell then you're making a t-shirt quilt. They'll point you in the right direction.
-Sewing machine
-Iron
-Lots of rulers
-Lightweight blanket for the middle to make the blanket thicker
-Fabric for the back

T-Shirt Blanket
If you understand how to make a basic quilt, then a t-shirt blanket will be easy with the right supplies. I do know that it takes a long time to make one of these, I actually made a second t-shirt blanket when I collected more t-shirts, but it is totally worth it and it will be so meaningful for you or as a gift.

Step 1: Make a square template (or rectangle, whatever shape) and cut out all of your t-shirts. Then take the fusible interfacing and cut out your template shape as well. Iron the t-shirt squares to the fusible interfacing. This makes sure that the t-shirts don't become too stretched when you try to sew them all together. Otherwise your shirts might not match up properly.

Step 2: Sew all of your t-shirts together into a giant blanket. Then you can finish it however you'd like, but my mom stitched the t-shirt edges to the edges of the blanket and then made the back fabric finish the whole shebang and enclose the inner blanket and cover the outside edges.

T-Shirt Blanket

T-Shirt Blanket
A good tip to remember is you can always insert sports uniforms in the blanket as well. Makes it all the more meaningful. :)

T-Shirt Blanket
My mom also sewed buttons in various spots around the blanket to keep it all together. This isn't 100% necessary, but I like how it makes everything more secure.

T-Shirt Blanket
I didn't actually use this as my comforter in college because it was too special to me and I didn't want to mess it up, but I did use it for the occasional shivery winter night when I was cold. This blanket was perfect-- heavy, warm, and cozy. :)

shirt

72 comments:

Isi said...

Oh, it looks amazing!!!!

greetz from germany

LisaRae said...

This was something I've been wanting to do. I don't wear my favourite band tshirts anymore but never ever want to part with them and didn't know what to do. Then I heard about tshirt quilts and my mind was made up! Yours is awesome, and I have started saving some of my kids shirts so one day I can make them a quilt (glad to know your mom did this for you as well)! It looks good, and my hubby went to space camp as well, he still has the jumpsuit.

megstermeter said...

I love it! I made one of these just from sorority t-shirts...I still somehow have an entire drawer full of t-shirts at home though. Here's mine: http://megstermeter.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/1-adpi-t-shirt-quilt-completion/

Betsy said...

Love the quilt! I have been wanting to make one (with old basketball shirts, too) for years now! And I totally have that same Purdue Women's Basketball shirt. I think I got it at a camp one year?

Stacie Grissom said...

@Betsy !!! No way! Yeah I went to the Purdue basketball camp a few times when I was in 5th and 6th grade... 2000-2001-2002?

Small world!!! :D

MIranda said...

I saw this on the home page of pinterest and instantly noticed the Creekside Walkers shirt! I knew it had to be someone I knew! So Glad it's you! Yey!

Deb said...

If you have never done a quilt is it still reachable for the beginner sewers?

Stacie Grissom said...

@Deb Hey Deb! I think if you are a beginning sewer and you use the fusible interfacing you can totally do it. It's just sewing the squares together... Make sure all your t-shirts are the same size and that will make it a lot easier.

If you get stuck, I am sure you can take it into a sewing store and they can help you out. All of the people I've met that work at JoAnn fabrics seem really nice and always willing to help. :)

DogpackMOMMA said...

Your tutorial Inspires me to get cracking! Thanks & Happy Trails!

Flowers in the Window said...

Great idea. My 2 sons have loads of t shirts so I may get round to making them a blanket one day.... Thanks, Maggie

Peppy said...

I love it!, what a great idea!!!

Melissa C. said...

Did your mom quilt the blanket? Or just sew around the edges? Thanks for your help!

Melissa C. said...

Never mind. I just saw the part about the buttons. :)

pomgirl16 said...

I need to do this where did you get the tie dye back side fabric from? Is it hard I am a descent sewer, but I dont want to mess up my shirts for nothing...

Stacie Grissom said...

My mom got the fabric from JoAnn fabrics-- and I didn't think it was too hard to make the blanket. :) Make sure you use the fusible interfacing.

Ash! said...

Oh my goodness! The part of your post about being a sentimental hoarder could have just as easily been written by me. I have EVERYTHING anyone has ever given me (seriously, I have a mcdonalds syrup-packet my best friend gave me, like, 10 years ago, and I'm sure that's not even the weirdes thing), and I can never get rid of stuffed animals either (THEY HAVE FEEEEELINGGGGSSS! I know that's illogical, but knowing something's illogical didn't stop me from bursting into tears one time when I saw a broken umbrella lying in the street, in the rain).... and... I can't get rid of clothes, either. and I have a LOT of t-shirts. I've been meaning to make a quilt for probably 15 years. Reading your post makes me actually really want to do it. especially because I KNOW I have a ton of fusible interfacing lying around somewhere... I'm really glad I read this post, because I see that if I were to have gone about making the quilt the way I'd been envisioning, it wouldn't have turned out very well! So thank you for this post!

Bea said...

I literally have about half of these shirts, especailly the ones from AAU! I can't wait to start making my blanket!

JH Schott said...

What are the size of the t-shirt squares your mom used? I noticed they are all the same 'width' but different heights. Thanks.

ebrodbeck said...

Love the quilt Stacie! I remember a lot of these t-shirt!

StacieGrissom said...

Ahhh AAU-- those days were the best weren't they? ;) 

StacieGrissom said...

Hahahha! No problem! ;) They DO have feelings! When I used to scrapbook a lot, my hoarding of silly things (like McDonald's syrup packets) was OUT OF CONTROL. #KindredSpirits ;) 

DindraneErin said...

As a Huntsvillian, I love the Space & Rocket Center sighting. :D

Tina said...

I am going to have to go find the Fusible interfacing. I am a beginner but i would like to do something with the ton of t-shirts my daughter has collected over the years. I am sure I may be able to make more than one quilt. guess we will see. I have two years before she graduates high school. I hope that is enough time...lol,

StacieGrissom said...

Hahaha! Good luck! :D It I

Linda Green Hupp said...

I was surprised to see a t-shirt from Brebeuf Prep - it is a big rival of my daughter's HS, Bishop Chatard. Small world!!

Becca said...

Love the purdue women's bball shirt! Im a boiler as well! Boiler up :)

Karen Mullins said...

Yay DPU Tiger on the bed! Love your quilt!

MaMa Nap said...

This is perfect! My youngest took dance classes from the age of about 6 until she graduated from HS. I finally boxed up all her recital t-shirts when she left for college. I don't think I have enough to complete an entire blanket this size, but could probably get blanket t-shirt material & fill in with those & possibly put something dance related on those. Thanks for the project!

Erin Wright said...

SUper super cute. I am a HUGE Twilight fan (please don't judge me...I realize I am an adult now...but its a guilty pleasure) and I am telling you this because (in case you are not a fan) her mom made her one of these t-shirt blankets in one of the movies and I FELL IN LOVE with it. I told my husband...see, so just because I am a "sentimental collector" doesn't mean I need to get rid of EVERYTHING!!! I have wanted to make one, but had no clue where to start...thanks so much for this tutorial. Yours is AWESOME!!!

Stacie Grissom said...

Bahaha! You are speaking to someone who owns all 4 Twilight books. ;) And thank you so much for your kind words! I TOTALLY agree with you-- it's not hoarding, it's just saving things for later! :D

Stacie Grissom said...

Hahaha! Thank you! Are you a fellow DPU'er? ;)

Stacie Grissom said...

Thanks Becca! :D I used to go to the basketball camps when I was growing up. So many wonderful memories. ;) (And my mom went there.) :)

Stacie Grissom said...

Such a small world!! I actually went to school in Franklin! :)

Stacie Grissom said...

Awh thanks Emily!! :D Yeah we were in a lot of the same sports and clubs, huh? ;)

Stacie Grissom said...

So sorry for the delayed response! The t-shirt square sizes were all different, she just made sure they matched up on each row. Hope this helps! :)

Stacie Grissom said...

Ahh! That is so cool! I loved Space Camp. :)

briar-angel said...

I feel so connected to you right now O.O not only do I hoard crafting supplies, I have a shit load of memorial items including t-shirts. AND I went to space camp too! (Only mine was called Astro-Camp) Thanks for an awesome inspiration to get rid of some of the clutter, but keep the memories going strong! YOU ROCK!

Car Accident Lawyer said...

This is such a neat idea, especially if you collect t-shirts! Or maybe a blanket of your baby's first year in clothes? :)

Aliyah said...

OMG I WANT TO MAKE ONE! And I freaked out when I saw space camp and Grissom. I live in Huntsville!

Jessica Molchan said...

Could I make the blanket two-sided? Like, the top would be tshirts and there would be a blanket in between, but instead of covering the back with one big piece of fabric, it would be more tshirts....I have a ridiculous amount of tshirts and two "categories" so I was thinking of making two blankets, but I wonder if I could just make it two-sided instead?!

Stacie Grissom said...

Hey Jessica!!


I actually have a second t-shirt blanket that is two-sided. You can totally do it! I guess you and I both were in too many organizations that gave out t-shirts. :)

Katie Wiseman said...

I would definitely recommend fusing the interfacing BEFORE cutting ;c) And PRESSING the shirts before fusing. . .so that's Pressing, Fusing, Cutting. PFC is ABC of T-shirt quilts LOL

Jessica Molchan said...

haha I guess so! Thanks for letting me know though! So excited to be able to incorporate all of the t-shirts into "one" blanket! Yay!

Indiamarks said...

I have to wait for a little longer time to make one quilt like this. Don't have 30-40 scrape T-shirts and can't afford to buy new ones :(

Katie said...

Wow, this is awesome!

Tena Valu said...

This is awesome I love this so much. I want to make one for my baby girl...thank you for sharing because I almost gave up looking back there lol. Thank you lots of love :)

Social Bot said...

Love it

sallykayak said...

I made one for my cousin out of her many sports jerseys, using the fronts and backs of each. it took some attention to make sure that the back was behind the matching front, but it turned out great. I also used sashing between each shirt panel and a border around the whole thing.

Yvette Zelaya Guarracino said...

Finally a easy, uncomplicated way of making a t-shirt quilt, been looking for this..Tks.

Bonnie said...

Awesome Quilt!!! I too fused the t-shirts before cutting them out and it worked well-- I did striping on my daughters quilt and backed it with flannel--I had done my oldest daughters with flannel and she used it as a bedspread at college and it kept her plenty warm in MN

Brandi Malcom said...

So I just stumbled on this and I also live in Franklin Indiana! What a small world! Love your idea btw! Time to dust off the sewing machine!

Michelle said...

I have been collecting my daughter's shirts that either her or I love and didn't want to get rid of and the pile was growing. She is now 11. I saw your pin, this tutorial and showed her; just want to say thank you so much for showing us how to do this. We don't have enough now but look forward to doing steps as we go for a super wonderful non replaceable memory that will be with her forever :) thank you so much for sharing!!

Tyler Phelps said...

I have a friend that did this with a bunch of his old shirts and I've always been interested in doing it as well, but I've gotten rid of SOOOOO many of my old shirts that would be PERFECT for a quilt like this :(....I guess I'll just have to start saving up again and try it a few years down the road. Also, it's always nice to come across a fellow Midwesterner on posts like this (saw the Purdue, Gus Macker and AAU stuff and put two and two together...could be wrong though?)

Jun said...

Dude, awesome idea. And ahah I went to space camp too :)

Jorchet said...

That looks amazing!

Baffled said...

I was wondering if someone might help me...I paid someone $120. to do a t-shirt quilt and sent 25 t-shirts. I cried when I got it...the shirts are sewn together in rows ...then those are sewn together and then a black felt-type material is sewn to the back with an outside seam at the top with yellow thread...you can pull the back away from the front if you grab in the middle of the "quilt". There is no seam around sides or bottom to finish it off...the marks from where they were supposed to sew are still on the shirts and an ugly spot at the bottom that has a fold where sewn together...I don't want to spend more on it...it's not even worth what I paid...I don't have a sewing machine, but I think I could do a better job if I did, I'm just not a seamstress so I haven't spent money on that!

Kelley said...

Love this, and recognize a lot of central Indiana themes in there!

courtnewsewer said...

I am a beginner sewer but this project seems like something I REALLY want to do! Is there more of a step by step tutorial? I am confused about the blanket 'in between' and also how to finish the edges with the material from the back of the quilt. If anyone has any extra info to help me through this process Id appreciate it! :)

old quilter:) said...

Instead of a blanket, regular quilt batting could be used. This would be lighter weight. When the tee shirts are fused, and sewn, lay out a fabric for backing which is larger than that of the top, (tee shirts). Put down the blanket/batting and then the tee shirts. Pin it all together with the 2-3 inches of backing fabric sticking out on all sides. When all pinned together, fold over the backing edges to form a finished edge on all sides. Then stitch around it.
The button idea is a cute way to hold it all together or you can tie it with yarn or something like a tied quilt.

Nicole said...

I happened across this post from Pinterest. Reading through the comments, this one seriously made me LOL! This is totally me regarding the stuffed animals. And I too am sad for that poor umbrella. I'm so happy I'm not the only one like this! :)

Julia @FaveCrafts.com said...

What a cute project! I love it so much that I decided to feature it in our roundup of graduation crafts! Check it out here: http://www.favecraftsblog.com/graduation-crafts/

Have a great day!

StacieGrissom said...

Thank you so, so much, Julia!! :D

Mallory said...

Where did you get the fabric for the back? I LOVE IT!

katelewis said...

This is such a creative and really an awesome usage of t shirts ,I must say.Cool.

http://www.apparelnbags.com/athleticwear-athletic-polo.htm

lila's mama said...

Im gunna do this for my daughter. She is about 8 months old an already she has onesies and receiving blankets that r her favorites Lol an a couple that r mine.

lila's mama said...

I wish they still had it. I would have loved for my daughter to go.

Lisa said...

This is just one of the T shirt quilts I have made

Sheenachu said...

I am in Huntsville, I loved Space Camp! :) Great post!

Mickey said...

I feel I must too say I'm from Huntsville and freaked when I saw the Grissom jersey! Haha totally going to do this.

abby said...

I have a question for a two sided tshirt blanket (20 shirts each side) blanket is 5'x6'.... other than the tshirts, what material did you use? I was thinking interfacing for the shirts to stiffen the shirts up and a layer of fleece in between. do you think that will be too heavy?

StacieGrissom said...

Depends on how warm you need it to be! I did a double-sided blanket once and used a sheet in the middle-- worked out fine! :)

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