Want to try to make a quilt for yourself? It's really not too hard. It can just be tedious. There are two sets of instructions here. The first set is more detailed for beginners. The second set further down the page is for experienced quilters who just need a little information on how to make the quilt.
Instructions for virtual beginners
These instructions are for a 20 shirt quilt
You will need.1 ½ yards sashing fabric6 yards for the cornerstones and backing10 Yards Interfacing, (Medium weight fusible)Twin size battingVarious colors embroidery floss
I. Cut Shirts
a. Cut each shirt 2” larger than the final square will be. I use 14” squares so I cut the shirts 16” square.
b. Use a home made paper pattern or a 16” plexiglass square, rotary cutter and cutting mat.
II. Back Shirts
a. Use a medium weight fusible interfacing. You will need 1 yard for every 2 shirts.
b. Iron the interfacing to the back of all the shirts. Interfacing has a little bit of stretch to it. Be sure it runs crosswise with the stretch of the t-shirt square. A tedious job but well worth it.
c. Trim each shirt by ½ inch along each side. Now you have perfect 15” squares for the quilt.
III. Prepare Sashing
a. Horizontal Sashing (strip piecing)
i. Cornerstones, Cut 5 - 2” X 15” strips
ii. Horizontal sashing, cut 4 - 15” by 15” squares
iii. Sew Cornerstone strips to sashing squares. The finished piece should be 15” deep and have a pattern that alternates cornerstones and sashing, beginning and ending with cornerstone fabric.
iv. Cut this lengthwise in 2” strips. These will be the horizontal sashing rows for the quilt.
b. Vertical Sashing
i. Cut 25 - 2” X 15” Strips of sashing fabric.
IV. Assemble Shirt Rows
a. Arrange the squares in the order you want them in order top to bottom and right to left. The top left square should be on top of the stack and the bottom right square should be on the bottom.
b. Pick up the first 4 shirts. Sew them alternating with the sashing so you get a row that starts and ends with sashing.
c. Continue as above and make the rest of the 4 rows.
V. Pin to Sashing
a. Pin horizontal sashing strips to the bottom of each t-shirt row and to the top of the top t-shirt row. Sew.
VI. Assemble final rows
a. Sew all the t-shirt/sashing rows together.
VII. Make the quilt backing.
a. Cut two pieces of backing about 8” longer than the quilt top. Sew them together lengthwise. It should be larger than the quilt top. You will trim it later.
VIII. Make the Quilt Sandwich
a. Layer the backing, batting, and quilt top on the floor or other large flat area. Pin them together in the sashing area only. You don’t want to over puncture the t-shirts.
IX. Finish Quilt
a. Hand tie the quilt at intervals of every 3-4 inches.
b. Use 3 strands of embroidery floss in matching colors for each knot.
c. I use a curved needle for best results.
d. You can tie 9 knots in each shirt in a 3 X 3 pattern. Each sashing strip gets 3 knots and each cornerstone gets one.
a. Cut a several strips of cornerstone fabric 3” wide. You need enough to total about 288”.
b. Sew them together along the bias. To do this you need to place one end horizontal and the end of the next strip vertically together. Sew at a right angle from one outside corner to the other. After you clip off the excess triangle of fabric you will have a long strip with a bias seam.
c. Fold the binding in half lengthwise and pin to the tied quilt top with all raw edges even. Leave the first 2” of binding loose and sew the binding to the quilt.
d. At thecorners.
i. Stop sewing about ¼” from the end of the quilt.
ii. Turn the quilt to sew along the next edge.
iii. Fold the binding first up and away from you and hold the bias fold made there.
iv. Then fold the binding back down toward you and along the next side of the quilt.
v. Continue sewing.
e. Meet yourself at the end
i. Lay the end of the binding along the quilt under the first 2” that you left loose.
ii. Fold the end of the binding down and away from the quilt to make a bias fold.
iii. Stitch it all down.
f. Trim all the excess batting and backing away from the quilt edge. Keep it even with the edge of the quilt top.
g. Turn the quilt to the back. Wrap the binding around the raw edge of the quilt and sew it down just inside your last row of stitches.
Whew! You are done.
Instructions for experienced quilters.
Cut each shirt square 2” larger than the final square
Interface each square with medium weight Interfacing.
Trim each square by ½” on each edge.
Set in a sashing of your choice.
Finish with hand tying or “Stitch in the Ditch” along the sashing.
Clear as mud?
Here are some alternate sources for t-shirt quilt instructions.
HGTV Simply Quilts
McCalls Quick Quilts
Green Eggs Grove