Sunday, January 1, 2012

Custom T-Shirt Keepsake Quilts

I've recently made several custom quilts using T-shirts. Most of them are throw-sized quilts, usually between 40"-48" x 70"-85" depending on the number of shirts. All of the shirts are backed with interfacing to keep them from stretching out of shape when they are sewn. I like to add a solid-color sashing fabric between the shirts so the shirts are separated from each other. The borders and vertical sashing are also a solid color (or a mostly solid).

With the exception of the first quilt, all of the quilts were purchased by mothers whose kids have moved out of the house but left several items behind with requests to "don't get rid of my T-shirts." And all but one of them were given as gifts for either graduation, Christmas, birthdays, or Hanukkah.

This quilt has 16 T-shirts with medium blue horizontal sashing and darker blue vertical sashing and borders. This quilt was made for a woman as a graduation gift from her friends. 

I asked her friend how they got the shirts from the woman without her noticing and her friend told me that these aren't actually her shirts, instead all of her friends donated one or two of their shirts. Good idea!

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This quilt has 17 T-shirts on the front and one on the back (plus part of a pair of sweat pants). One of the shirt had people running that went all the way around the shirt so that is in the middle of the quilt going all the way across. 

The sashing above and below the runners is purple and the sashing and borders on the rest of the quilt are blue.

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This quilt has 20 shirts. It has grayish-purple horizontal sashing and dark green vertical sashing and borders.

This "square" that is counted as one of the shirts on the quilt above is made of four smaller "patches" of logos that were on the sleeves or breast pocket.

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This quilt has 19 shirts on the front and three on the back and includes T-shirts and also sports jerseys. I figure that if you can wash the shirt in a washing machine and dry it in a dryer then it can be used in a quilt, although sweatshirts don't work very well. Also, any shirts that have a lot of wear will be the weakest links when it comes to caring for your quilt.

This quilt has 22 shirts and includes T-shirts and also sports jerseys. Since this quilt had a lot of jerseys and sport shirts, I used green for the sashing and borders since many sports are played on green fields.

When I quilt a T-shirt quilt I like to quilt inside each shirt 1/4" from the edge and also approximately 1/4" around the image on the shirt, using thread that is the same color as the shirt. Then I quilt 1/4" inside all of the sashing and binding.

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This quilt contains 60 T-shirts, 2 dress parts, 2 leotards, 1 pant leg, 1 sweater sleeve, part of a fleece blanket and 10 patches. Some of the patches are actual patches and others are smaller logos from other shirts that were appliqued on to some of the shirts. 

It was a gift for a young girl on her 13th birthday. Because the shirts were from when she was younger, they were pretty small so I was able to arrange them in a grid with the smaller shirts on the edges and getting larger as they moved to the center of the quilt.

Since there were so many shirts (and other articles of clothing) this became a double-sided quilt. I aligned the purple sashing and borders so when I quilted to two parts together the sashing would line up. When it was all finished it measured 54" x 86".

For information about purchasing a custom T-shirt memory keepsake quilt using your T-shirts, visit

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