Over the years I’ve acquired a huge pile of t-shirts from all of the events I’ve competed in. Some shirts are nicer than others. Regardless I’m not going to be able to wear over 20+ t-shirts and I hate throwing away a perfectly good shirt. Solution? Turn the shirts into a blanket! There were plenty of t-shirt quilt examples available on Pinterest, but I didn’t really care for any of them. Then my mom made herself a t-shirt quilt using all of her SummerFest shirts (“it’s the largest music festival in the WORLD” -mom) and it was adorable! She coached me through the process and now as I write this post I’m curled up on the couch wrapped up in my very cozy and warm t-shirt quilt.
A quick inventory of all the materials I used when making this quilt.
- 20+ t-shirts
- Heat n’ Bond Ultrahold (rolls)
- Ironing board
- Quality sewing scissors
- Sewing machine
- Sewing needle for medium-weight fabric
- Various colors of thread
- Bobbins (I used about 10 bobbins with all the different colored thread I used)
- Embroidery hoop
- Embroidery floss (I purchased the package that came with 12-15 different colors)
- Embroidery needle
- Quilting fabric (I used 108″ extra wide fabric and purchased 5 yards)
- Clear acrylic quilting ruler
- Large cutting mat
- Rotary cutter
- Quilting pins (extra long and strong)
- Pin cushion
Here is step-by-step instructions:
1) Gather all of the shirts you plan to use. Naturally, the larger the blanket you plan to make the more t-shirts you will need. I used well over 20 shirts. The beauty of making your quilt this way is that you can pick and choose different sections of the t-shirt that you want to use. For example, I took an old 5K shirt and only used the pair of tennis shoes from the logo, or another where I took just the bike chain graphic.
2) Purchase at least one roll of Heat n’ Bond Ultrahold (I ended up needing two rolls). You can get this at most fabric stores, but it’s cheapest at Wal-Mart. Measure out the Heat n’ Bond over the logo of the t-shirt that you plan to put on your quilt and cut out. Place the adhesive-side (shiny side) onto the backside of shirt (following the Heat n’ Bond directions) and iron on. When the Heat n’ Bond is secured onto the t-shirt, you can cut out the logo. Make sure that you are always ironing onto the backside of the t-shirt. I got distracted a couple times and ironed directly onto the logo and had to attempt to remove the adhesive. It was a mess to remove.
3) I purchased an 108″ extra wide fabric from Fabric.com. I ordered 5 yards (2-1/2 yards for each side). Make sure to wash your fabric before you begin using it, then fold it in half (unless you are using two different fabrics for the front and back). Line up (even out) the front and back and cut so that they are two separate pieces. Trim the edges so that they are straight and the front and back fabric piece’s edges line up. Use a clear acrylic quilting ruler to help guide you in keeping a straight line. You can use a rotary cutter and cutting mat if that is easier than using scissors.
4) Once you have all the sections of your t-shirt cut out, you can organize them out onto your fabric. When you are happy with the organization of your t-shirt pieces, take a photo as you will need to remember later. Pin the center piece of fabric and put away all the rest.
5) Take your layer of fabric with the pinned t-shirt piece and lay it over your ironing board. You will remove the paper from the backside of the Heat n’ Bond and iron the adhesive to the blanket fabric.