Saturday, August 22, 2015

T-shirt Quilt -- A SURPRISE for Brookie's birthday! :)

Hi everyone :) 

I wanted to share a T-shirt quilt I have been working on for several weekends now in hopes that I would get it completed by Brookie's upcoming 9th birthday (PS ... I did finish it!!!)  :)

I have had several friends ask if I could share tips/ideas on how I made this as they have always wanted to make one! :) 

First -- I have to thank hubby Brian as he has gotten Brookie out of the house now for several weekends so that I could work on this - they have had some awesome bonding time while I have been home working on this quilt! I couldn't have pulled this off, without him getting her out of the house! :)  And I have to thank the in-laws too, as they babysat Brookie so we could go to Jo-Ann's to get backing fabric for the quilt, as I had to take the sewn together T-shirt squares to the store to make sure I bought enough backing fabric (I asked a Jo-Ann employee to measure my sewn squares to get the right size) :) 

If you are like me, you have saved MANY of your kids old T-shirts ... I have been saving some of my fave ones of Brookie's since she was 2 :)   So I have known for awhile that I wanted to do something special with her old shirts :)

I self-taught myself how to sew. So when I decided to make a T-shirt quilt, I did my homework first.

After searching T-shirt quilt books on Amazon, I chose this one -- she had some good tips, but after reading it, I realized it wasn't a book for a "brand new" quilter -- so even though I got some good tips, I wouldn't recommend this book, unless you have previously quilted. 

I also ordered this book for my Kindle -- I liked the author's humor and she had a lot more tips than the book I bought in print. This book I would recommend, as the author has a great way of explaining things :) 

Then I hit up YouTube and searched "T-shirt Quilts" :)

This one was my favorite on how to prep the T-shirts that I used -- I did things a LITTLE different than she did -- I didn't "mark" my shirt squares to the size I wanted until AFTER I did the interface fusion cloth prepping (NOTE --- this was the MOST time consuming part of doing the quilt -- it took me HOURS to cut the sleeves off, iron the interface fusions on, using my T-shirt transformation to 'mark' my squares sizes, cutting the squares) .... the woman doing this video obviously has A LOT more experience than me, so I am sure with practice I would be faster, but I wanted to share the videos that I used to help me with everyone, so they could see the prep work involved with this project. 

Because of the above video, it led me to buy these products to help me finish this quilt --

I bought these products --

I bought this from Amazon, but I also saw it at Jo-Ann's.  Because I used Brookie's shirts, I used the 10 1/2 inch square size. 

I bought this from Amazon -- I bought two packages and the fusion fabric inside was enough to do all but 5 squares (I had to buy more Interface Fusion material at Jo-Ann's -- they didn't have the same kind as this one -- but, what they did have worked well too) 

I bought this also from Amazon to use to iron the front of the T-shirts.  I bought it on the advice of the YouTube videos I watched, but since I washed all the T-shirts before I started and then hung them on hangers until I was ready to start this project, I didn't really have a HUGE need for this product -- so I wouldn't recommend it, unless you feel the need to iron the designs on the fronts of your shirts, then you don't really need this product. 

Another Amazon purchase (but can also be purchased at Jo-Ann's) -- this is a must have -- I know that I don't have the experience to cut knit fabric (especially the 40 squares I did for this quilt), so I am glad I had this. 

I also bought these products at Jo-Ann's -- these are also MUST HAVES to make a T-shirt quilt :)

This is the straight edge ruler I used as a guide to cut my squares with my rotary scissors

I also used a large self healing mat to cut/make my T-shirt square blocks.... as a paper crafter, I already had a "Making Memories" one -- but I wanted one just for this project -- so I bought a larger one like this -- 

Ok ... so now that I have completed the painstakingly T-shirt square blocks (seriously people ... this took me 3 weekend days to do!!!!!!!!)  -- I was STUCK ..... ummmmm so now what??!?!?!?!

Back to YouTube to see what were the next steps .....

This was my FAVE one to watch and learn from .... they did NOT prep the shirts like I learned from the other video I linked above ... but it was the only video that I found that showed me from beginning to end how to do this quilt!!! :)

Again .. this video DOES NOT show the prep work that I did with all the products I showed above .... but I am GLAD that I did that prep work, as this is really my "first real" sewing project and I don't think I could have done it freehand like this couple did.  

There are several things I LOVE about this video -- they showed me how to sew the squares together, what needles to use in my sewing machine, how to attach the backing and how to use yarn to finish it all off!! :) 

I really don't think I could have finished this without watching this video :)

Ok ... so if you have made it this far (God bless you if you have made it this far *wink*) ... well then, let's see this quilt I made for Brookie's upcoming birthday!!!!! :)

****side note 1**** -- I literally cried once I had this all sewn together ... like a baby bawling cried!!! Seriously people, I literally taught myself how to sew, so to take something on this big ... I was SO RELIVED when I was done and that I had actually done it!!! :) 

****side note 2**** -- again these are kids sized T-shirts -- so each square is 10 1/2 inch X 10 1/2 inch big --- so it is 52.5 inches wide X 84 inches long :)

****side note 3**** Is my quilt perfect?!??!?! ABSOLUTELY not!! If you look closely, you will see that my squares are not always even, my squares aren't always centered ... but I did it!!! And I am hoping that Brookie will still love it, even with all the character flaws *wink* :)

****side note 4**** -- sorry these aren't the best photos -- remember I had to work on this when Brookie was out of the house -- which means I needed to take my photos of it when she wasn't home -- so I unfortunately had some sun issues :)

Here is the fabric I chose for the back --- it's a soft chenille :)

And here are some of the squares :)

This is the back of the T-shirt from the House of Blues restaurant :)

This from an old Pajama set that I loved! :)

This is the back of her dance recital T-shirt that has her name on it :)

This photo doesn't show the whole shirt (I had it hanging over the fence so I could photograph it), but this shirt was bought by Brian when he went to the National Bowling Tournament in Reno, Nevada when Brookie was 2 :)

This shirt was bought by the in-laws in Chicago :)

She bought this shirt at Universal Studios California :)

The front of her dance recital T-shirt :)

Another shirt Brian bought her in Reno, Nevada when she was 4 :)

From her 4th Birthday :)

Thanks for sticking with me on this post!! Hope you like this :)

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


  1. You definitely deserve the awesome momma award...this is spectacular!

  2. OMG!!! Are you kidding me!!! This is the most wonderful-est present I've ever seen! WOW Julie! I had never heard of this before and what a labour of love - she's going to treasure this for the rest of her life!

  3. Brilliant idea!! And the finished T-Shirt quilt looks AMAZING!! Brookie will love it!!

  4. To me it's perfect!! Made with so much love, Brookie will love it!

  5. wow--what a vibrant and fun blanket!

  6. Oh wow, she will definitely love it! This is absolutely amazing!

  7. What a treasured gift!! Beautiful & inspiring work..x

  8. This looks absolutely amazing! Well done on teaching yourself how to sew and then create this beautiful keepsake for your precious daughter... All the special memories that looking at each square will bring! I hope you get a photo of Brooke's face when she sees it! A wonderful gift created with lots of love!

  9. My goodness - she's gonna LOVE this! I would! Kudos to you for putting in such an effort for her.

  10. She is gonna love this sooooo much - & be soooooo surprised!!!! Fabulous Julie- such a special gift:):)

  11. Congratulations on finishing your first quilt. It turned out beautifully and she's going to love it!

  12. Fantastic work with those squares, lovely quilit!

  13. This is one of the most heartfelt projects I have ever seen. I used to sew all the time! Wish I could have helped you. Oh my, Brooke is going to love this!!!!'

  14. Oh she's going to definitely adore this quilt!! This is absolutely brilliant, Julie! You've really done a phenomenal job on it. It turned out so beautifully.

  15. This is the BEST surprise birthday gift EVER! She will SCREAM with delight! YOU are a FAB Mom, Julie!

  16. This looks so cozy and snuggly. What a wonderful way to save all of these keepsakes. Good for you for tackling this project! :)

  17. She is going to LOVE it!! What a great present and a wonderful and thoughtful Mom you are Julie! Super Cute ! <3

  18. You are getting a standing ovation from me, Mama!! OMGosh, this is amazing!

  19. Bravo! It's awesome! So happy for you to have taken on such a huge project and finished it so successfully! Of course, I never doubted that you would.

  20. WOW!!! That is amazing! Love that you had the idea so far in advance to collect knowing what you would make! I bet she is going to Love it!

  21. So glad I stopped by today....LOVE this did an amazing job and Brookie will LOVE it...FOREVER!!

  22. So glad I stopped by today....LOVE this did an amazing job and Brookie will LOVE it...FOREVER!!

  23. ahhhh yay!!!! thank you thank you thank you for all the posts, links, and products used!!! pinning this right now and I'm sure once I make one, I will be totally addicted!!! LOL!!

    LOVE how this turned out it's SOOOOO dang cute!! she will love this!!!

  24. That is soooooo awesome! She is going to love it!

  25. Fabulous idea!!!!! I have been wanting to do this with my kids' baby clothes!!! But I love the idea of using special teachers!! You rocked this project!!! WOW!! I am sure she will love this!!!

  26. Gorgeous!! Such a fun idea!!
    Love it!! I hope one day to do something with our not sure what?
    Love this idea!! I'm sure Brookie will love it!!

  27. Oooh so much of love and hard work has gone into this!!
    Dr Sonia
    Cards Crafts Kids Projects

  28. You are the bestest mom! Seriously, this rocks! I love this awesome surprise for Brookie and the effort you put in to make it special for your girl. You are a rock star my friend! :)

  29. What a COOK idea!! You are the BEST Mom ever:) She is gonna LOVE this Julie:) What a treasure!!
    Sherrie K

  30. you did awesome with this project!!

  31. Julie, this is a TREASURE. You were so smart to save all those special tees and I just love how much time and effort you put into it... she must adore it!

  32. Oh, my gosh, Julie, she will treasure this always! The first sewing project I took on was all the linens from quilt and curtains to bedskirt and pillow cases for Ezekiel's first big boy bed. I, too, am self-taught. It can be done ;)... Obviously, from how amazing your project is! Hand-tying quilts is my favorite finish! I even made Adina's baby quilt with that same chenille backing, and she still uses it today. So exciting! Can't wait to hear what Brookie thinks!


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