T-Shirt Quilt Tutorial for beginners


I have a cousin and a niece who live far away. Which means I can’t work with them on the t-shirt quilts they want to make. So I’ve created a PDF tutorial for them, which I thought others may enjoy too. They’re a great way to preserve your favorite shirts, and make GREAT graduation or birthday quilts for teens – who tend to collect tons of t-shirts!

Since they are both noobie’s to quilting, this tutorial is geared towards beginners – but the instructions can be used by anyone who wants to make one of these fun quilts! I’ve included lots of helpful tips and hints to make things as easy as possible.

Pre-sashing makes construction a breeze!

The instructions are in two parts (combined into one PDF file). Part one is for creating the blocks. Part two is sewing them together and adding the borders. It does not include creating the “quilt sandwich”. There are plenty of tutorials out there for this, so I’ve left that to others. Plus, I’m just plain tired of looking at this tutorial – it was quite intensive to create! I forget how involved these tutorials are until I start one. My praise go out to those of you who create these things on a regular basis. You’ve got much more patience than I do!

As always, the usual disclaimers:

There are many tutorials out there on t-shirt quilts. This is how I make mine. It works for me. Please read through these instructions before beginning. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this tutorial. We accept no responsibility for errors or omissions, but welcome your suggestions for corrections or improvements that can be made for future editions.

This tutorial is the property of seamstobeyouandme.com, all rights reserved. Do not copy or redistribute without prior written consent. Please be kind and link to this blog so others may download their own pattern.

Click the picture below to access the PDF instructions….

If you create a quilt from these instructions, please send us a picture! We’d love to show off your creation on our site!

I want to thank Peggi for enduring my endless e-mails, questions and frustrations while I was writing this. Trying to make this easy to understand for noobies – while not “talking down” so much you can’t understand it – isn’t an easy thing to do. Without her help (and hysterical e-mail answers!) this may have never been published. You’re a doll! Here’s a picture of us doing what we do best….when we are able to get together. This pic was taken at the Houston International Quilt Festival this year. What fun we had!

Peggi & Cindi relaxing after the show :)

I’ve got the quilt on the frame now, and once it’s completely quilted and the binding is on I’ll post a picture of it. It’s from the t-shirts I collected when we vacationed in Australia last November/December. What a blast we had, and now I’ve got a quilt to snuggle under to remind me of all the places we visited. 

30 thoughts on “T-Shirt Quilt Tutorial for beginners

  1. Thank you for the tutorial! Is the interfacing used to prevent the shirts from stretching when sewing them to a non knit material?

  2. Hi, Angela! Yes, the interfacing is to prevent stretching – not only for sewing them to the sashings, but also when quilting the finished top. The shirts often tend to stretch under the presser foot, which will result in wonky quilting, tucks, etc. Fusible interfacing will stabilize the shirts, preventing movement. Thanks for asking!

  3. I am in the midst of constructing a t-shirt quilt and don’t know if there is a batting layer. Can you advise me whether this step is needed. I am using a cotton blend for the backing.

  4. This tutorial is great! I am a complete “noob” and I understand it. Thanks for taking the time to make such a quality tutorial. I was wondering if it is okay to use the front and back of a t-shirt to make 2 separate blocks? Some of the my husband’s beloved t-shirts have logos on the front and back so I wanted to see if it would work. I can’t think of why it wouldn’t work, but then again, I don’t have any experience to draw on! Thanks!

  5. Batting is normally done on quilts, and I do use batting in mine, as I state in the last page of the tutorial. It is completely up to you as to whether or not you use batting, Maryjo. Good luck!

  6. Jessica, you absolutely can use the front and back logos! In fact, I’ve even taken logos on t-shirt sleeves and combined them into one block! If you used our tutorial to make your quilt, please send us a pic. We’d love to post it on our blog!

  7. Thank you for this tutorial! I can’t wait to start making my quilt! I was wondering your thoughts on doing t-shirts on both the front and back of the quilt? If it would be too much or would work out? I just have a lot of shirts and would love to put them all together. Thanks!

  8. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I am finishing up the second quilt made from my dad’s old t-shirts. He passed away in 2011, so this has been a great way to use those t-shirts. The first quilt is on my 6-year-old’s bed and she loves her “Grandpa quilt.” My 4-year-old cannot wait until I’m done so she can have hers. And then I’ll have to scrounge up some more shirts to eventually make one for my youngest child.

  9. Thanks for this PDF I’m currently working on my first T-Shirt quilt for my girlfriends oldest daughter. Will post when done!!

  10. Very excited by your pdf – i have all different kinds of materials and want to include images from scarves – what is your thoughts please?

  11. Deliah, I’ve never done scarves, so I won’t be much help with those thoughts, but as long as the scarves are sufficiently stabilized and able to withstand numerous washings, I don’t know why you couldn’t!

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  13. I’ve been looking for a beginner quilt project and your tutorial is perfect! My husband has lots of sentimental t-shirts. Wish me luck :) and thank you for sharing

  14. I have had the tshirts set aside for years to make a quilt for my brother. The only problem was that I didn’t feel like I had enough information to do it right. I have just finished reading through your tutorial and will leave it up on my computer as I work. It has more than enough information for me to tackle my task. I’m NOT a newbie seamstress, but I learned a lot from your post. Thank You, thank you, thank you!

  15. I was delighted to find your tutorial. I saved some t-shirts a couple of years ago. After seeing this tutorial, I’m all revved up to make a quilt. Thanks for all your hard work!

  16. Thank you for step by step instructions on making at shirt quilt. This will be my first one.

  17. Pingback: Lil’s Quilt | Needle and Foot

  18. My husband is a retired Stagehand. He has several boxes of T Shirts given to him when he worked various shows. We had planned to ask a friend to make him a quilt but now I think I want to tackle it myself.

  19. My granddaughter who’s just off to college asked me to make her a T shirt quilt. Never having made a quilt of any kind, I went looking for help and luckily found this tutorial. I’m almost finished with what’s turned out to be a reversible quilt since she had so many shirts, and I was going crazy trying to combine colors and designs and then limiting it all to 15 squares!
    Just wanted you to know I could NOT have done it without your tutorial which I followed, practically to the letter (as in “to a T”–pardon the pun) ;D
    I’d be happy to send you photos once it’s complete. In the meantime, thank you very much for making this an enjoyable and successful venture!

  20. Just what I was looking for. Hoping to be able to start soon and get it done for our son for Christmas. Just the inspiration I needed THANKS!

  21. This is by far the most detailed and best illustrated tutortial I have found for t-shirt quilts. My son turns 30 soon and I have created a quilt top with what his Dad says looks like a “life quilt”. Thanks so much for giving me the confidence to complete this project.

  22. made for our son is 21. It was really nice and easy. Can’t wait for him to see it at Christmas. thanks for the tutorial

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