A little note before we get started: I originally posted this tutorial on my old blog that I have since taken down. One thing that caused me to stop blogging was a hateful comment left on this tutorial because of a silly typo that I made. I am not perfect and have never claimed to be perfect. It took a lot of time to write this tutorial, and the only reason I did it is to help others make their own quilts. I hope you enjoy this tutorial, and I trust that you will keep your comments respectful :) Thanks, ya'll! Enjoy!
I've learned a lot from online tutorials, so I'd like to pass along my method for making t-shirt quilts. I'm a sentimental person, and I always knew a quilt was the perfect way to keep a neat record of some great memories. At the same time, I didn't want to just start cutting up my shirts...it's not like I could get a replacement if I ruined it! I searched and searched for a comprehensive tutorial that would meet my needs, and I never found it.
I combined several tutorials into my method, and here is what makes mine different than most: I do NOT use any interfacing (big cost-saver), I do not put any sashing between the quilt squares (mine was already going to be big enough and I wanted to keep this as simple as possible...plus, that's more fabric to buy, and I'm trying to be budget friendly), and it's not technically "quilted" (it's held together by tying embroidery threads through all the layers) .
If you can sew a straight line, you really can make your own t-shirt quilt. But hey, if it seems like this project is too big for you, just send off your shirts to someone who will make it for you. It should only cost $300-800. Or you could make your own for about $30-40. So let's DIY, shall we?
(if using both sides of a shirt on the quilt, you will also need some
other old shirts you can cut up to serve as "interfacing) (Free!)
Batting (Low loft is plenty because the shirts and fleece backing make it very warm and heavy. I used Poly-Fil traditional batting from Hobby Lobby. $9 after my 40% off coupon.)
Fleece fabric for backing (I used Northern Lights Solid Fleece sold at Hancock Fabrics for $3.99/yard. I needed 6 yards because my quilt was wider than the fleece)
Cotton fabric for binding (I used 1 yard of fabric from Hobby Lobby, about $4)
2 skeins of embroidery thread (for tying together instead of quilting, from Hancock Fabrics, about .25 cents each)
Coordinating thread for your sewing machine (An all purpose thread is good for this, about $3)
Sewing machine needles (I used a size 11 for the t-shirts and size 14 for the binding--already had these)
Hand sewing needles (Already had these)
Lots of straight pins and some safety pins (Already had these)
Total cost: $40.50
I am not a sewing or quilting guru and there are other t-shirt quilt tutorials out there. In fact, one of those tutorials might suit your needs or preferences better. At the very least, they are probably a good supplemental read because they may explain something in a different way that makes more sense to you.
If you do not want all your t-shirt squares to be the same size, consider using this tutorial:
Or if you want sashing (strips of coordinating fabric) between your t-shirt squares, consider using this tutorial:
I've broken my tutorial down into three parts--ready, set, go!