Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The T-shirt quilt

I don't quilt. My quilting skills leave more than a little to be desired. So when, a few months back, a mom from my former youth group contacted me asking if I could make a t-shirt quilt I almost said no. She had collected over 10 years worth of youth group t-shirts and wanted to make a quilt out of them as a thank-you gift for my former youth pastor. Now I really wanted to help, as my former youth pastor is a great guy and this quilt seemed like the perfect thank-you for him, but I just wasn't sure I could get this t-shirt quilt to turn out as awesome as it should be. Well after discussing ideas with the youth group mom I decided to take on the project. I would make the quilt in the same way I made my brother's flannel quilt for Christmas. No actual quilting required.
First I cut all the shirts into 15 inch squares, as the largest design was about 14 inches and I needed to allow room for seam allowance. I cut a 15" square of simi-transparent material that I laid on top of each t-shirt as a template before I cut. 

This allowed me to get each design centered on the quilt square. Once a quilt square was cut out of the front of each t-shirt I cut around the designs on the back of the shirts. I had a plan for them. For the quilt backing I cut 15" squares of flannel.
Once everything was cut it was time to lay out the quilt. First I laid down a sheet. This was just to keep the quilt clean, but actually came in very handy later. Then I laid out the quilt. I had 25 squares in all, so I was able to 5 across and 5 down. 

(please excuse my messy sewing room)

After that was done it was onto sewing! Remember I cut out the designs on the backs of the shirts? Well I decided to put the backs of the shirts on the back of the quilt. First I used fusible webbing to attach each design to the flannel square that would back the front of the shirt it came from. Then I used a zig-zag stitch around the edges just to make sure the design wouldn't come off the flannel.

Finally it was time to assemble the quilt. This is where the sheet I laid everything out on came in handy. I needed to go babysit one night, and I would have a couple hours of free time once the kids went to bed, so I brought my sewing machine and the quilt pieces along with me. To keep the pieces laid out the way I wanted I rolled them all up in the sheet.

This worked amazingly well! When I unrolled the sheet there wasn't a piece out of place so I was able to get right to sewing! (If and when I make another quilt I will definitely lay it out on a sheet again!)

Just like with my brother's quilt I laid the front on top of the back of each square, then treated each square as if it were just one piece. I sewed the squares to each other, backs together so that the seams would be seen on the top of the quilt. Once the entire quilt was sewn together I clipped each seam to make it look raggedy. I made the quilt binding out of leftover flannel, folded over and sewn on with the seam on top, just like with the rest of the quilt.

And then the t-shirt quilt was done!

I am so excited about how this quilt came out! It is so fun to see all those youth group memories together! The best part? The youth pastor really liked it, and that was the goal.

I'm glad I decided to take on this project. The quilt isn't fancy, it's not perfect, but it has meaning. All these t-shirts in one place really show what an awesome, committed youth pastor the youth group has had. Thank you so much for caring about the students, their personal and spiritual lives, as much as you do!


  1. You did a great job! And thanks to Mrs. Deborah O'Haro, who was a co-commissioner!

    1. Yes! You both played a huge part in this project!