Thursday, March 1, 2012
DIY 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 CRAP TON of t-shirts. And this is where the t-shirt blanket comes in.
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.
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.
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.
-Lots of rulers
-Lightweight blanket for the middle to make the blanket thicker
-Fabric for the back
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.
A good tip to remember is you can always insert sports uniforms in the blanket as well. Makes it all the more meaningful. :)
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.
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. :)