noun \ˈkwilt\

As defined by Mirriam-Webster: a bed coverlet of two layers of cloth filled with padding (as down or batting) held in place by ties or stitched designs

The T-Shirt Quilt

I love to sew. It has been a passion of mine from the first moment I was introduced to needlepoint when I was 10 and a sewing machine when I was 12. I started quilting because of two things that came together:

  1. About 6 years ago my grandmother decided to make quilts for all her grandchildren. As I was the oldest, I got mine first and fell in love with it.
  2. Around the same time I got my quilt from grandmother, I found a bunch of my fiancés old t-shirts filling up a drawer.  He never planned to wear them again but he would not throw them out because he was sentimentally attached to them. At that moment I suggested I make a t-shirt quilt out of them because that way he could still enjoy them and I could do something creative. Little did I know what I was actually getting myself into.

I did my research by looking at examples of what other t-shirt quilts that people have made and couldn’t find one that really appealed to me. All of his t-shirts were different sizes so simply sewing each shirt together really wasn’t an option. I decided to make this quilt around the shirts, rather than the shirts around the quilt. I didn’t go into making this quilt with an end size in mind because I didn’t want to be restrained.

I don’t have all the pictures of how I made it, and the ones I have are low quality, because I wasn’t expecting to ever share it like this, but if anyone wants one… I’m sure I can replicate it to show you -wink wink-

The Process

  1. I trimmed each shirt to showcase each design. Similar shirts were cut to the same size. img_1651
  2. I ironed on a stabilizer to the back of each shirt, because t-shirts tend to be stretchy and not that easy to work with. Especially these ones because of how old and worn they were.
  3. I decided to frame each shirt with an inch border so they would look more like pictures and showcased better.
  4. After this was done came the hard part. I had to make each shirt block the same size so that the quilt would come together. To do this I chose colours both he and I like and created coloured squares around each t-shirt to match them all in the same size.img_2016
  5. Once these were done I was going to call it a day but it was only 12 inches short of a king size bed so I decided to add a border. My fiance is Greek so I went with a greek keys border. This was a headache. My sewing machine kept seizing every inch. I couldn’t find an exact pattern so I made my own with paper strips that I used assembled each piece like a puzzle.img_2231 img_2012
  6. I got a bit lazy after finishing the top and bottom keys so I decided to make strips that resembled columns down the sides of the quilt.img_2681

Because this was my first quilt, the sheer size of it, and I was using a sewing machine I had gotten when I was 16, I decided to get it quilted together by a professional. I chose Loopy D’s Quilting & Longarm Studio in Calgary, Alberta. She does a lot of free-arm quilting which was perfect for this quilt. It honestly came out better than I could have ever dreamed thanks to her. She traced all the patterns in the t-shirts and made them come more to life.

Here are some examples of her work:

img_3293img_3292img_3295 img_3296 img_3297 img_3290


Here is the Final Quilt

(held up by 3 of my friends)