I knew I wanted to make my son a t-shirt quilt, so I saved some of his t-shirts over the years. When I started laying them out, I realized I had more than I needed. I also realized that I had several West Virginia t-shirts. We are avid Mountaineer fans. My husband and I both went to WVU. During the time I was designing this quilt I started becoming interested in the quilt as you go method. I decided that if I used this method, I would be able to use all the t-shirts and my son could have a reversible quilt. He could change the look in his dorm room just by flipping his quilt to the other side. Also I would be able to do the quilting in smaller increments and not have to deal with the weight of the entire quilt. I found a great video by the Gourmet Quilter, (video) that taught me how I could join my quilted t-shirt blocks together.
Since I made this quilt before I started my blog, I’m afraid I can’t go back and take pictures of each step. So hopefully with a little instruction, and some help from the Gourmet Quilter’s Video, you will be able to make one of your own.
- The first step is to decide how big you want your quilt to be. Mine is a twin size so my son can use it when he goes to college. For a twin size quilt you will need 20 shirts for 1 side, or you can do like I did on the WV side and insert fabric panels so you will only need 10 shirts.
- Then you will need to cut the back off your t-shirts and place interfacing on the back of the area you will be using. I used SF-101 interfacing. Make sure you cut the interfacing bigger than the size you will be cutting. (I used a 15 inch piece of interfacing). You will need to cover the decal on the shirt with some type of non-stick product, so that you do not ruin it when ironing. I used some paper I had left over from some wonder under I had already used. There are products you can buy such as this product: Bear Thread Applique Pressing Sheet
- Then take a square 12 1/2 inch ruler (I like this one: Creative Grids Quilting Ruler 12.5″ Square but any will do) and lay it over your t-shirt so that your decal is centered where you want it under the ruler and then cut out around the square with a rotary cutter such as: Fiskars 45mm Classic Stick Rotary Cutter (197950-1001). You will now have a nice 12.5 inch quilt block made from your t-shirt.
- I put borders around my t-shirt blocks that were 2 inches wide. This made my final block size 13.5 inches. I think borders are nice, because they will help stabilize your quilt. HINT: it is a good idea to cut your borders about 1/2 inch larger on one side, so when you cut to square up your blocks, you can cut from the smaller side and you are sure to have both sides even.
- Once you have all your quilt blocks prepared and laid out the way you want them for both sides of the quilt, it is time to sandwich them together. Cut your quilt batting (do not use a very heavy batting as this quilt will be warm and heavy enough) to the size of your larger blocks. Then lay the larger t-shirt block face down on your table. Lay the quilt batting on top of that, then lay the t-shirt for the opposite side of the quilt face up on top. I used pins to make sure the 4 inner t-shirt corners were lined up. Once you are sure you have them lined up correctly, use safety pins to hold them all together.
- Then you can quilt this square, square it up and cut off the excess of the bigger side, and repeat with all squares until they are all quilted.
- If you want borders on the outside of your quilt like I did, you will make them now (once again cutting 1 side 1/2 inch larger) and quilt them now as well. Borders can be any width, to make the quilt the size you want.
- Now that we have all our pieces quilted and ready to assemble, you will use the method so aptly shown in the Gourmet Quilter’s video.
I do receive a small percentage if you buy your non-stick mat, ruler or rotary cutter from the links above. I added the links for your convenience and you can feel free to purchase from any venue.