Easiest Tshirt Quilt: A How-To

Do you have a stash of tshirts that don’t really fit anymore, but are too threadbare to donate? I’ve had a stack of clothes in my fabric bin for a while, just waiting for a good project to come along. Well after I learned about the whole rag quilting method, I decided to give it a shot on the classic tshirt quilt!

Tshirt quilts are awesome because 1) they’re super soft 2) they’re recycled & 3) they’re pretty much free. I had a good stack of old cotton shirts, tank tops, and sleeping pants. You could also raid some garage sales for cheap supplies. Here’s how I did it:1) Cut all your squares. For my quilt, I cut 2 squares for each block, 7.5″ square. You will also need 1 square of quilt batting for each block. There are a total of 48 blocks, which makes 96 tshirt squares and 48 quilt squares. I cut them all while watching Friends with Benefits. Once they’re cut, make your block: one tshirt square right side down, a quilt block, then another square right side up. They don’t have to match if you don’t want them to!

2) Quilt your blocks. I sewed a straight seam corner to corner in an X shape. It’s easy and keeps the pieces together.

3) Repeat for all squares. My quilt is 6 squares wide and 8 squares long, measuring 40″x55″. That makes it the right size for a child blanket or a lap throw. If you have more shirts, you can make more squares for a larger quilt. This one is perfectly Charlie sized.

4) Sew horizontal strips. I laid out my pattern on the bed, then stacked each row of squares in order so I knew how I wanted to sew them. Make sure you pay attention and sew all the seams facing the same side. I got hasty and had to rip a few out. Just do a 1/2″ straight seam to sew them together.

5) Sew your rows together. Again, make sure you’re putting the exposed seam on the same side as the rest.

6) Press the squares flat and sew a zigzag seam around the edge of the quilt. It acts as a binding and keeps everything flat.

7) Show it off! This project took about 5 hours start to finish, from cutting to “binding”. It’s very easy and simple, definitely a beginner’s project. So don’t be afraid to try out quilting! It shakes up the “traditional” tshirt quilt a little bit too.

The seams won’t fray like cotton or flannel rag quilts. Mostly they’ll stay looking like this. You could also display it from the back.

Now the hard part will be saving up more shirts to make an adult-sized throw! I may have to hit up a Goodwill sometime soon. They’re too easy not to make!

17 thoughts on “Easiest Tshirt Quilt: A How-To

  1. Oh my goodness, what a great beginner project! I have so many tops that I am about to throw out, totally using them all in a quilt! Love it! I’ll be coming back to you with questions!!

  2. thanks for sharing. i do not consider myself crafty, but this is a project i’ve envied from afar for a while. thanks for breaking down in easy to follow steps! i’ll have to tackle my first sewing project now πŸ™‚

  3. I’m new to sewing, taking a few lessons at the moment. I wanted to know if you stuck with the same color thread for the whole quilt?

    1. I did. Using one color thread helps unify all the colors in the quilt and make it look like one cohesive piece, in my opinion. But you can switch colors to match your tees if you want something really subtle

  4. i am so excited to find this quilt plan – i have three boys ( 14, 12, 8) and most of their clothes i have passed down to friends with boys…BUT all mommas have some of those precious things we can’t bear to part with – cowboy PJs that all three wore, or a sun faded t-shirt that all three wore in the ocean on annual beach trips…i have a stack of those items that i have been wanting to make into a t-shirt quilt, but not had the courage to start cutting and figure it out….this looks TOTALLY doable, even for me – who can only manage a straight line on my sewing machine!! thanks!!

  5. My quilts are not ready to give until my cattle dog Rodeo has a bit of time on them as well. PS, I will have to try your method on my next t shirt quilt. I just finished to top of my 24 year old daughters.

  6. This is super cute and looks easy enough for a sewing newbie. My favorite part is the first picture, I have a heeler too! (but Murphy is blue) πŸ™‚

  7. I love this quilt! It looks like the perfect starter project for me as I’m a sewing novice but really want to get into quilting. I have one question, does it matter what sort of batting you use with this quilt? I have an old thin felt blanket I was wondering if I could use for this job? TIA πŸ™‚

      1. I was considering using a large fleece blanket as batting, sounds like this is the go-ahead signal for me!

  8. Thanks for this awesome and easy quilt design. I’m about halfway through with my first quilt ever, though mine is taking MUCH longer than 5 hours. πŸ™‚ Instead of using t-shirt material for both sides of each square, I bought a large piece of flannel and cut it up to put on the backside. I found that the t-shirt material stretched and pulled too much for my newbie skills and the flannel helped it lay flat while I was making my batting “sandwiches”. I’m doing a checkboard pattern, with t-shirt and flannel alternating on both the front and back. I’m shocked at how good it looks considering it is my first large piece of sewing ever! Thank you so much!!!

    1. Use cotton iron interfacing to back your t shirt squares, rectangles etc.. and they won’t stretch on you.

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