Combine T-shirt logos and pieced sections in various sizes to make a keepsake quilt that will be cherished for years to come.

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Designer: Theresa Porter of The Meandering Thread

Finished size: 70-1/2×91-1/2"

Materials

Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42" of usable fabric width.

  • 24 to 30 T-shirts with logos (sections)
  • 3/4 yard yellow-and-white print (sections)
  • 1 yard light gray tone-on-tone (sections)
  • 1-1/4 yards yellow tone-on-tone (sections)
  • 3/4 yard black-and-white chevron (sections)
  • 2-1/4 yards dark gray tone-on-tone (sections, binding)
  • 5-5/8 yards backing fabric
  • 79×100" batting
  • 10 yards 20"-wide featherweight fusible interfacing
  • Acrylic ruler with 45° angle marking

Prepare T-shirts

1) Cut T-shirts open along side seams, underarm seams, and shoulder seams, but do not trim to size.

2) Place T-shirts facedown. Cut interfacing pieces a few inches larger than each T-shirt section that you want to include in the quilt.

3) Following manufacturer's instructions, press fusible interfacing pieces onto wrong sides of T-shirts; let cool.

Cut T-shirts

The T-shirt measurements that follow are for the quilt shown. If your shirts are smaller in size, combine two T-shirt pieces to make one larger unit.

Refer to the Quilt Assembly Diagram, as a guide for placement and size of T-shirt pieces needed. The Quilt Section Measurements Diagram, shows the size of each completed section.

Cut pieces in the following order.

From interfaced T-shirts, cut:

  • 1—18-1/2×7" rectangle
  • 1—14-1/2×4-1/2" rectangle
  • 2—13-1/2×15" rectangles
  • 2—13×16" rectangles
  • 1—13×15-1/2" rectangle
  • 3—13×15" rectangles
  • 2—13×14-1/2" rectangles
  • 3—13×9-1/2" rectangles
  • 1—13×7" rectangle
  • 6—10-1/2×13" rectangles
  • 2—6-1/2" squares
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Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order.

From yellow-and-white print, cut:

  • 9—2×42" strips
  • 4—2-1/2×10-1/2" strips
  • 4—2-1/2" squares

From light gray tone-on-tone, cut:

  • 9—2×42" strips
  • 8—3×7" strips
  • 1—2-1/2×13" strip
  • 2—2-1/2×6-1/2" strips
  • 2—2-1/2×4-1/2" strips

From yellow tone-on-tone, cut:

  • 9—2×42" strips
  • 2—2×34-1/2" strips
  • 8—2×29" strips

From black-and-white chevron, cut:

  • 9—2×42" strips
  • 1—3×18-1/2" strip
  • 3—2-1/2×6-1/2" strips

From dark gray tone-on-tone, cut:

  • 9—2-1/2×42" binding strips
  • 9—2×42" strips
  • 12—2×29" strips
  • 2—2×18-1/2" strips
  • 6—2-1/2×10-1/2" strips
  • 16—2×6-1/2" strips
  • 6—2-1/2" squares

Assemble Sections A1–A4

Measurements include 1/4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Press seams in directions indicated by arrows on diagrams. If no direction is specified, press seam toward darker fabric.

1) Referring to Diagram 1, sew together a yellow-and-white print, light gray tone-on-tone, yellow tone-on-tone, and black-and-white chevron 2×42" strip along long edges to make a strip set. Press seams in one direction. The strip set should be 6-1/2×42" including seam allowances.

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2) Repeat Step 1 to make three strip sets total.

3) Cut strip sets into sixteen 6-1/2" squares (Diagram 2).

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4) Referring to Diagram 3, sew together four Step 3 squares and three dark gray tone-on-tone 2×6-1/2" strips, rotating every other square, to make a sashing strip. Press seams away from squares. The sashing strip should be 6-1/2×29" including seam allowances.

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5) Repeat Step 4 to make four sashing strips total.

6) Referring to Diagram 4, sew together a dark gray tone-on-tone, yellow-and-white print, light gray tone-on-tone, yellow tone-on-tone, and black-and-white chevron 2×42" strip along long edges to make a strip set. Press seams in one direction. The strip set should be 8×42" including seam allowances. Repeat to make six strip sets total.

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7) Join two Step 6 strip sets along long edges to make a 15-1/2×42" strip set (Diagram 5). Press seam in one direction. Repeat to make three 15-1/2×42" strip sets total.

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8) Referring to Diagram 6 and aligning the 45° line on an acrylic ruler along left edge of one Step 7 strip set, diagonally cut:

  • 2—6-1/2×13" pieced rectangles (used in D section)
  • 2—5-1/2×13" pieced rectangles (used in A sections)
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9) Aligning the ruler from the right edge on a second Step 7 strip set and using the 45° line on the ruler, diagonally cut:

  • 2—6-1/2×13" pieced rectangles (used in D section)
  • 2—5-1/2×13" pieced rectangles (used in A sections)

10) Referring to Diagram 7 for direction of cutting lines and using the 45° line on the ruler, from the remaining Step 7 strip set, diagonally cut:

  • 2—5×13" pieced rectangles (cut 1 in each direction; used in C sections)
  • 12—3" pieced squares (used in B sections)
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11) Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, join a T-shirt 13×15" rectangle, a 5-1/2×13" pieced rectangle, and a T-shirt 13×9-1/2" rectangle in a vertical row; press seams open. Add a sashing strip, three dark gray tone-on-tone 2×29" strips, and two yellow tone-on-tone 2×29" strips to the vertical row to make Section A1. Press seams in one direction. The A1 section should be 26-1/2×29" including seam allowances.

12) Using the T-shirt and fabric pieces indicated in Quilt Assembly Diagram, repeat Step 11 to make sections A2, A3, and A4, positioning pieces as shown. See Quilt Section Measurements Diagram, for size of each completed section including seam allowances.

Assemble Sections B1 and B2

1) Referring to Diagram 8, sew a yellow-and-white print 2-1/2" square to each short edge of a light gray tone-on-tone 2-1/2×6-1/2" strip; press seams away from light gray tone-on-tone strip. Add yellow-and-white print 2-1/2×10-1/2" strips to remaining edges; press as before. Join dark gray tone-on-tone 2×6-1/2" strips to opposite short edges to make a yellow rectangle unit. Press as before. The unit should be 13-1/2×6-1/2" including seam allowances. Repeat to make a second yellow rectangle unit.

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2) Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, gather six 3" pieced squares, a yellow rectangle unit, four light gray tone-on-tone 3×7" strips, a dark gray tone-on-tone 2×18-1/2" strip, a T-shirt 13-1/2×15" rectangle, and a T-shirt 18-1/2×7" rectangle.

3) Sew together three 3" pieced squares and two light gray tone-on-tone 3×7" strips, alternating pieces and noting direction of diagonal seams in squares, to make a vertical strip (Diagram 9). Press seams in one direction. The strip should be 3×21" including seam allowances. Repeat to make a second vertical strip.

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4) Add a yellow rectangle unit to T-shirt 13-1/2×15" rectangle. Press seam in one direction.

5) Join a Step 3 vertical strip to each long edge of Step 4 unit. Press seams in one direction.

6) Add a dark gray tone-on-tone 2×181⁄2" strip and a T-shirt 18-1/2×7" rectangle to bottom edge of Step 5 unit to make Section B1. Press seams in one direction. The B1 section should be 18-1/2×29" including seam allowances.

7) Using the T-shirt and fabric pieces indicated in Quilt Assembly Diagram, repeat steps 2–6 to make Section B2, positioning pieces as shown.

Assemble Sections C1 and C2

1) Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, gather a T-shirt 13×16" rectangle, T-shirt 13×14-1/2" rectangle, yellow tone-on-tone 2×34-1/2" strip, and a 5×13" pieced rectangle.

2) Sew together T-shirt rectangles and 5×13" pieced rectangle. Press seams in one direction.

3) Add yellow tone-on-tone 2×34-1/2" strip to make Section C1. Press seam in one direction. The C1 section should be 14-1/2×34-1/2" including seam allowances.

4) Using the T-shirt pieces indicated in Quilt Assembly Diagram, repeat steps 1–3 to make Section C2, positioning pieces as shown.

Assemble Section D

1) Referring to Diagram 10, sew a dark gray tone-on-tone 2-1/2" square to each short edge of a black-and-white chevron 2-1/2×6-1/2" strip. Press seams away from black-and-white chevron strip. Add dark gray tone-on-tone 2-1/2×10-1/2" strips to remaining edges to make a gray rectangle unit. Press as before. The unit should be 10-1/2×6-1/2" including seam allowances. Repeat to make three gray rectangle units total.

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2) Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, sew a T-shirt 10-1/2×13" rectangle to each long edge of a gray rectangle unit to make a large T-shirt segment. Press seams toward rectangle unit. Repeat to make three large T-shirt segments total.

3) Sew 6-1/2×13" pieced rectangles to top and bottom edges of a T-shirt 6-1/2" square, noting direction of diagonal seams, to make a small T-shirt segment. Press seams toward pieced rectangles. Repeat to make a second small T-shirt segment.

4) Sew together large and small T-shirt segments; press seams in one direction. Cut and piece three remaining dark gray tone-on tone 2×42" strips to make two 2×42-1/2" strips. Sew the strips to top and bottom edges of the joined T-shirt segments to make Section D. Press seams in one direction. The D section should be 42-1/2×34-1/2" including seam allowances.

Assemble Quilt Top

1) Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out sections in three horizontal rows, noting position of each section. Sew together sections in each row; press seams open. Top and bottom rows should be 70-1/2×29" including seam allowances; middle row should be 70-1/2×34-1/2" including seam allowances.

2) Join rows to complete quilt top; press seams open.

Finish Quilt

1) Layer quilt top, batting, and backing; baste.

2) Quilt as desired. Designer Theresa Porter machine-quilted custom designs across the quilt top, including wavy and straight lines, loops, and a starburst motif. She also quilted words and dates into some of the fabric pieces.

3) Bind with dark gray tone-on-tone binding strips.

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Tips for T-shirt Quilts

T-shirt pieces to make one larger unit. Designer Theresa Porter has made dozens of T-shirt quilts. What is her most important rule for these projects? "There are no rules," she says. "They do not have to be perfect in any way. They are soft, snuggly scrapbooks full of memories." While there aren't rules, there are ways to make the process easy and enjoyable. Use these tips to transform stacks of T-shirts into memorable quilts.

Use a lightweight interfacing. Many bad experiences while making T-shirt quilts come from using interfacing that is too thick or stiff. Sewing stiffly interfaced pieces together is hard on you and your machine, and the resulting quilt isn't cuddly. Choose a lightweight interfacing that controls most of the T-shirt stretch without adding bulk or rigidity. Many quilters use fusible knit tricot interfacing. (When using knit interfacing, be sure to put the stretch of the interfacing opposite the stretch of the T-shirt.) Others prefer woven or nonwoven interfacing. When purchasing interfacing, look for words like featherweight, lightweight, and sheer.

Adapt the pattern. "Following a T-shirt quilt pattern exactly as written is nearly impossible because the shirts you are using are unlikely to match up perfectly in size to those used in the pattern," Theresa says. It's easy to adapt any pattern. If your shirts are too small for a particular area, combine two or more T-shirt pieces to make one larger unit. Or add a strip cut from another part of the T-shirt or from coordinating fabric to bring it to size. Graph paper can help when you're making adjustments like this to the layout.

Be careful when ironing. Press T-shirt pieces from the wrong side or use a press cloth, because some logos and lettering can be damaged (or can damage your iron) if they are touched directly with a hot iron.

Add unexpected materials. In addition to using T-shirts, Theresa incorporated team uniforms, some of which were made of mesh or jersey. She basted these open-weave fabrics to same-size pieces of cotton fabric before incorporating them into the quilt top. To include patches in a quilt, first sew them to a cotton fabric.

Make the quilting meaningful. Continue the personalization by incorporating names and significant words or dates into the machine quilting.