Tuesday, June 26, 2018

T-shirt quilt -- part 2!! :)

Hi everyone!! :)

Yesterday I shared a T-shirt quilt I made for a friend's husband -- and this is the 3rd one I have made, and I have had many questions on how to make one -- so this time, I decided to share a photo tutorial on how to make one! :)

This is part two -- yesterday I shared part one -- which you can see here!! :)

Yesterday I left off with ironing the seams down -- now I will start with the next step which is to get the rows ready to sew together.

Here I am showing the backside of a couple of the rows showing the seams ironed flat.

Now, just like the individual squares, you will be sewing the rows face down to each other -- you will position the rows so they will be the top of the row touching the bottom of the other row -- like this -- 

The row I am holding above is now laying on top of the row that was laying down on the counter -- 

It will look like this when you pull up the top piece -- 

Another view from the opposite side -- you can see here the piece I am holding (with the repeated "Star Wars" on it) is the top -- and the white/gray under it is the bottom of the square -- this is different from when you did the individual squares, which were side to side, and the patterns were facing the same way, the rows are top pattern to bottom pattern. 

You will now pin the two rows together -- make sure you pin the correct side! lol! :)  When looking at the photo above, you will NOT be pinning the side that I am holding, you WILL be pinning the opposite end from what I am holding above.  Once you sew the row together -- when you open the finished row, it will again open like a book -- so think of it that way when pinning it together -- once you open it, will the book open the right way with the patterns facing the right way, or will it be facing the wrong way?  And I am not saying that to be condescending -- lol -- I TRULY want you to check before you pin, because I certainly do!!! :) 

Once you have pinned the row together -- it's time to sew it -- again, I sew the row twice to ensure it is secure! :)

Here is the first row sewn together -- 

 Continue to sew the rows in the same fashion as the first one -- your next row will be placed face down on the top of the last row you just finished and so on -- here it is will all the rows sewn together -- 

Now it is time for the backing fabric -- since this is a quilt -- and when I think quilt, I think of something comfy to snuggle under on cold days/nights -- I ALWAYS pick a very soft chenille. I will LITERALLY walk through Joann's with my color choice in mind (in this case, my friend chose blue) -- and I will TOUCH each "soft" looking fabric I see until I am HAPPY with the texture that I pick.  

In this case, the chenille fabric that Joann's carries is NOT big enough for the width of my quilt.  So what I did was buy my fabric DOUBLE the width amount of my quilt -- so what that means is, my quilt is 78 inches wide, I bought DOUBLE that amount -  So I bought enough fabric (156 inches) by 108 inches for the length --- actually, (and I feel this is a good tip!!) I buy 5 inches longer on each side, to make sure I have enough.  

Before I left Joann's, I also asked them to cut it in half for me -- because I know their counter/cutting space is WAY bigger than mine, and they can cut  easier because of that -- if I was to cut it in half at home, I most likely would have been off center and that would be really BAD! :)

The reason I wanted it cut in half, is because due to the size I needed for the backing, I will need to position these so the fit the size of my squares I have sewn together -- and then I will sew the two pieces together to make it work! :)

Here I have placed the two pieces together -- 

Here you can see the two pieces separated. 

Once you have ensured that the two pieces are placed the right way to fit your top piece of the quilt (I do this by laying out the bottom fabric and then lay the top piece on top of it -- then I walk around to make sure that I see backing fabric showing under the top part of the quilt) -- you will lay your two separate pieces face down to face up -- just like your quilt squares and quilt rows, think of this like a book -- having the two "top" pieces facing each other when laying them together, will ensure once they are sewn together and it is opened to full length, that the "soft" side will be all together.  (Please note -- you ONLY have to do this step if you are taking on a larger project and have to have two pieces of fabric to fit your projects length/width -- if your project is smaller, you most likely will only have to buy one piece of fabric) -- 

Once you have the two pieces laid down, you will pin them together and then sew them together --- again, I also sew twice to reinforce the strength.

Now my two large pieces is ONE BIGGER PIECE!! :)

Now you will head back to the T-shirt rows --- since this fabric is 'harder' to sew, I suggest making your seams first.  What I mean by this -- I take the time before I sew the T-shirt piece to the backing fabric piece together, by creating the "line" I will use to guide myself as I am sewing them together.

Just like your T-shirts you wear, there is a "seam" at the bottom of the shirt, and at the sleeves -- so you wouldn't sew the shirt part to the backing fabric without a seam there -- as your rows aren't perfect!! Trust me on that! LOL! :)  They might be a little longer in some spots, a little shorter in other spots -- not enough to be that noticeable -- but you want your finished product to look clean and no chance to fray later on. So I always make my seams BEFORE I sew the pieces together.  

 I fold over about an 1/8 inch all along my row - you will fold INTO the Fusible Interfacing fabric -- and remember, this is still T-shirt material, so it is not something that will STAY folded over when you do it -- so as I fold the pieces down, I pin the folds down -

You will continue folding down your created seam and pin it all the way around the top piece of the quilt.

Once that is done, saturate your 'seams' with the water feature on your iron and then iron them down --- now if you remember from yesterdays post -- the Fusible Interfacing fabric is THIN -- so it will BURN/SCORCH easily -- so what you cannot tell in this photo is -- I am holding the bottom of the iron ABOVE the Fusible Interfacing fabric -- I am not touching it with the iron.  If you are not comfortable doing this method -- you can also iron on the other side, just where the seams are. 

The reason you are doing this, is because this will give the seam you are creating a little more stability when sewing the two quilt pieces together. 

Now all my seams are created and ironed down -- and if you look closely, I kept the pins in it.  I will be using these pins when putting the back and front together --- so this is simply a time saver for me.  If you aren't comfortable leaving the pins in while you are moving the pieces around, then you can take them out, as your seams are ironed down now, and shouldn't move too much when you are getting the two pieces together to sew them together. 

Now with your backing fabric FACE up on your surface, you will lay the T-shirt piece on top of it, FACE down.  Just like when doing the squares and rows, you will be sewing this face to face.  You do this because when you are done, the stitching (except for one part - I will explain later) will not show.  This is the reason you seem to be doing everything backwards and inside out, because when you sew them this way and then you open the pieces, the stitching doesn't show. 

Now, because the chenille fabric is soft (and heavier!), I did not have to iron down the seams, as it is easy to fold down and it will stay in place to pin to the shirt part.  

You can see in the far part of my photo below that the shirt piece is seam up.  For the bottom/chenille piece, you will make your seam facing down.  This is opposite of how all the other pieces have been put together.  The reason for this method is, once you have sewn THREE sides together, (YES! three sides!) you will be turning it inside out, so that all the seams will be on the inside of the quilt, which means you will not see them! :)  

So again, the shirt part will be seams facing up, the bottom fabric will be seams facing down.  You will pin all the way around THREE sides only! :)

Now you will sew the seams you have made together.  Remember, you are only sewing three sides. I sew with the shirt side facing up as me, as the chenille fabric has a larger "fold" than the shirt does, so I can follow it easier.  Again, I sew this part twice for stability. 

Once you have the three sides sewn together, you will turn it inside out.  Get your finger tips WAY up in the corner, to ensure they are flush. 

You will see below that the bottom is left to sew together, but I have a TON of extra bottom fabric hanging over.  I did this on purpose.  As mentioned above, I always buy a little extra fabric, just in case.  It is easier to cut off excess, than it is to add on extra! :)

Now because I have extra fabric, I will be trimming it down.  The reason for that is, if I was to TUCK all this in and sew it, it would fall down inside the quilt because remember, I am only sewing on the seam I made on the shirt piece. So there will be nothing "holding" all that fabric into the quilt, and it will have nowhere to go, but to bunch up in the bottom of the quilt. 

I trim it with enough to tuck into the quilt, but not too much! :)

Now the bottom piece is sewn different than the other three sides.  This is the bottom piece. It won't be seen as much, as it will be at your feet when laying with your quilt. So the seams will be sewn into each other.  Your shirt already has your ironed seam, now take your bottom fabric piece and fold your seam INTO the quilt.  So, seam in and seam in on both pieces. 

Pin all the way down your top/bottom seams that you have put together. 

Now you are DONE!! Just kidding!! :) Only the sewing part is done! :)  Now comes the fun part?!?!? :)

Grab some yarn.  The reason for this is, even though all your sides are sewn together, there is nothing holding the back to the front.  So you will be sewing "X's" to each square corner of the shirts to stabilize it to the back.  This will hold the back to the front, and prevent it from moving around.  

Even though the back fabric is blue, most of the shirts are black, so I chose a black yarn (thanks Mother-in-law Sue for loaning me this yarn from your stash, so I didn't have to buy some for how little I would be using!).   The black will show on the back piece, but since this most likely will be folded with the shirt side up, I was ok with that! :)

Pull off a long piece of yarn to work with. You will not knot it, as you will be "tying" off each "X" you make on here. 

Thread your needle.

Go under the quilt at a corner of the one of the four squares and pull your needle through.

On the under side, hold about two inches of yarn, as you will be using this to tie off the "X" you make.

Take your needle into the opposite corner of another shirt square.  Remember, your goal here is the make a "X" -- so when sewing with the yarn, keep that in mind when you are working with your four corners of squares. Corner to opposite corner. 

It will look like this.  Remember, you are still also holding your two inches of loose yarn underneath. 

Bring the needle up through the other two corners of the shirts to make your "X".

Once that is done, flip it over and tie off your "X".  I knot it about four times to secure it. 

Cut it off about a 1/2 inch. 

Continue to do this at every four corners of your quilt -- and once that is FINISHED -- you are FINISHED!! For real!! No kidding this time!! :)

And here again is what it looks like when it is all done!:)

I hope this tips have helped you and encouraged you to make one of these!! :)  It is a lot of hard work, time consuming, but in the end, to me it is worth it! :)

Besides T-shirts, you can also do this with sports jerseys (with that material, I would definitely suggest using the Fusible Interfacing fabric on the jerseys!!), jeans and any other piece of clothing that you have kept! :)

Thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate it! :)


  1. Wow that is absolutely amazing, thanks for all the work in putting this post up.. the end result is awesome..

  2. Wow!!! Wow!! You always amaze me.... yea I just ups mine to via julie.com. lmao.....the hard work via Dani would be disaster 101. Haha. Just saying. Love it though. Awesomeness..panda loves hers.

  3. Thanks for the step by step guide. I have a pile of my daughter's Tshirts to turn into a quilt. I've been saving them since I saw the one you did for Brookie.
    PS she's taller than me now - as is my daughter.

  4. WOW. Such an awesome keepsake!

  5. Wow!!!! Your quilt is amazing! And YOU are amazing! Working with t-shirt material isn't easy, but you master it like a pro! Your corners are SO precise. I am in AWE, my friend... complete awe!

  6. You are really talented, Julie. I am in awe! (Oh, I just saw that Audrey said almost the same, but I already had typed it. It MUST be so then, you are awesone!)

  7. Fabulous tutorial. It sounds even more difficult than I'd thought, so I'm even more impressed with how it turned out!

  8. Oh my. This is sooooooo much work! You are so amazing! I think I might give up halfway....but I'll start collecting T-shirts in the meantime. *winks*

  9. WOWZERS!!!!! This is amazing Julie! I don't know where you find the time girl! You rock and always AMAZE me!!
    Have a great evening,
    Sherrie k


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