Have you ever considered making t-shirt quilts out of your old shirts? You may be like some of us and have drawers (or closets, or bins, or bags) full of t-shirts that you love.
But maybe just don’t need them all, or even wear them anymore.
They could be t-shirts from the good old days, your little one’s baby clothing with so much meaning that you just can’t get rid of, or possibly those articles of clothing from a loved one that has passed away.
Free up your drawer space, while holding onto memories, by transforming your ‘t-shirt clutter’ into a new and practical item that you will use for years and years to come. This post covers the basics of creating a keepsake t-shirt quilt that is special enough to give as a gift to a loved one.
Related: Tricks to Getting Rid of Your Kid’s Old Clothes
T-Shirt Quilts Are Such A Thoughtful Gift
Re-purposing these items from memorable times into a t-shirt quilt is a beautiful and thoughtful way to give shirts a brand new purpose in life. Using old and treasured shirts turns the end result into a memory quilt – the perfect gift for a loved one.
- Using your daughter’s favorite high school shirts creates an awesome t-shirt quilt you can give as a graduation gift.
- Using your husband’s favorite sports team shirts can create a treasured t-shirt blanket for any birthday, Father’s Day or Christmas.
- Using your child’s baby items creates the best keepsake t-shirt quilt that you can gift to yourself and cherish for years to come.
You can even create campus t-shirt quilts for your college grads or a bereavement quilt for a loved one that is meant to be hung on the wall.
If you can (and like to) sew, you can likely tackle this project on your own. Whether you want to or not, is another question. T-shirt quilts are time-consuming (and physically demanding) with multiple steps, take up a lot of space, and are just overall one of those projects that looks easier than it really is.
If you enjoy sewing try making one yourself! Or hand it over to a professional and let them create a one-of-a-kind quilt.
Related: Decluttering Sentimental Items
Things To Consider About A T-Shirt Quilt
What do you want exactly?
- A certain size? Maybe you want a baby blanket instead of a king-size quilt.
- A certain price?
- Do you have specific shirts that are a must to include?
- Are you providing shirts, or do you need help to find shirts to include?
These questions are the basics of getting started. From here, you can decide the t-shirt quilt designs (style/layout) you would like. Each person has their own preference as to how they want their quilt to be constructed.
You have the option of different layouts. Like block quilts, mix-match (what I call puzzle piece), and some even sew the full items directly onto their quilt (more seen with baby clothing).
The Theme of Your T-Shirt Quilt
The theme is something else to think about as well. You may like to make one with a common theme of a sports team, activity, art, music (etc.) or possibly the theme will represent a particular time of life (for instance, high school or college).
Or maybe there is no real theme at all… just a bunch of favorites!
Type Of Quilt You Want
Once I have received shirts and gathered information (size, style, backing/binding color, due date, etc.), I get to go to work! Well, to be completely honest, they get on a list to be worked on.
It seems I always have a list and as soon as I get through my busy seasons (graduation/Christmas) my list starts right back up again!
Quilts Made From Old T-Shirts
Due to the time it takes to put these together, and a revolving list of orders, I am typically on a 4-6 week turnaround time (sometimes longer around the busy seasons).
When your quilt is next on the list, I get to start prepping the shirts! Finding their ideal cut for their quilt, based on size/shape of the shirt’s logo/image/design.
Once the blocks are ready, I design a layout to be sure that they are balanced visually, through color and design. This is not often done in one try… lots of switching and rearranging till it looks just right. (And I can be a little picky).
Then comes sewing all of the blocks together to make the top of the quilt. Once the top is together, batting is added, and I quilt the three pieces together.
From here, the binding is completed, threads are snipped, Little Bean Embroidery label added, pictures taken, folded up, tied up with a ribbon, and it’s ready to make its way home.
Shipping out The Finished Quilts
That final step of tying the bow is such a reward… right next to showing a customer their ‘new’ quilt.
(Leftover fabric is either re-purposed into another creation or donated to a local thrift shop that can use our cut-up strips of fabric!).
How Long Does It Take To Make T-Shirt Quilts?
A lot of people ask how long it takes to put one together. And that answer varies. It is all dependent on the size, style, number of shirts, and my work (and life) schedule.
Technically, if I had a whole day to myself with nothing else to do, I could probably make a small to middle size t-shirt quilt in a day.
But with other things on my plate, included embroidery, towel, and other orders, as well as three children and their schedules, a quilt a day does NOT happen around here.
Try To Make Your own Shirt Quilt
If you want to try creating one on your own, there are some ways to put them together. I recommend researching different steps/methods and from there, find what works best for YOU! (Google and YouTube are great friends here.)
Getting to make these for my ‘job’ is such a blessing. Opening each bag or box full of clothes is like Christmas for me every time. Not only do I get to share my gifts, but there have been tears, hugs, smiles, and new friendships formed along the way. Making quilts is such a blessing.
About The Guest Post Author and How to Connect
Jen Hoening, Owner
Little Bean Embroidery
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3 thoughts on “T-Shirt Quilts are the Perfect Gift for Loved Ones”
I had one made from Project Repat for my husband for Christmas as few years ago, and we loved it so much I’m getting one made for myself this year! So comfy and meaningful.
I made one for my daughter with her college sorority shirts
I used a twin size sheet for the base and added batting and another fabric for the opposite side
Finished with a narrow border and some yarn ties pulled through
Has been very popular!
I like them so much, I’ve had 4 made! 1 lap, 1 twin, 2 full size!
And the makings for probably 2 more. My Ts provide many memories . Enjoy them alot.