While T-Shirt Quilts of Texas would love to make a custom t-shirt quilt for you, sometimes you just gotta do it yourself!
We'll walk you through the basic steps.
Should You Make Your Own T-Shirt Quilt?
So, you know just enough about sewing that you want to try it yourself. Great. Here are some things to consider.
- Sewing Machine. Basic sewing supplies (thread, scissors, pins, tape measure and so on.)
- Rotary cutter and mat. You can use scissors, but you need the rotary cutter to get an accurate cut before piecing.
- Time. Allow 30 - 60 hours depending on your skill and comfort level.
- T-Shirts. - The more the merrier. But, keep it under control. BIG is heavier and harder to manage.
- Fusible Interfacing - This is what makes the t-shirt fabric manageable. Don't skip this step. Whether you or a professional quilter is quilting this, this makes the t-shirt fabric easier to work with. Without it, your quilter has to spend more time making the the t-shirt fabric lie flat and even.
- Fabric. Amount depends on size of quilt. PLEASE use good quality fabrics. Don't spend all the time creating this quilt using low quality fabrics.
- Batting/wadding. This is usually a 80/20 blend of cotton and polyester, or some folks will use a 100% poly. Your choice.
- Iron and ironing surface. We use a professional iron press here in the shop, which only takes a couple of seconds per shirt. You will probably have to use a domestic iron. Just follow the product instructions and apply to back of t-shirts.
- Plastic Square Ruler. Optional, but very helpful to size your blocks.
Prepping the TShirts
- The first step (and the hardest) is selecting the tees that you would like to use in your quilt. The shirts should be clean and in relatively good shape. Stinky shirts make a stinky quilt! If laundering before proceeding, add a tablespoon or two of vinegar to the laundry. That will take out most odors.
- Rough cut the shirts. This means cutting out the image a couple of inches larger than your finished block size.
- Stabilize the shirts. This means adding a fusible interfacing to the back of the tshirt. Use a light-weight fusible.
- Final cut the tees to your desired size.
Creating the Top
- Lay out the t-shirt pieces into a pleasing design. Use a large surface like the floor or your bed.
- If you are using sashing, add that to either one side or the bottom of the shirt squares (except the last on in the row/column).
- Sew together.
- Add borders if desired. (We get a LOT of t-shirt tops. Many times they have us select the backing and add a border to match the backing).
- Iron the sashings (if used) towards the sashings. If not using sashing, iron the seams OPEN.
- Optional - Add borders. Most are anywhere from two inches to six inches wide.
- Quilting. Next, you are going to turn the 'top' into a quilt. A quilt is defined as three layers with some sort of stitching holding those layers together. Probably the easiest way to do this is to send that finished top to your longarm quilter. She will probably have batting and backing fabrics available for your convenience. Read more about Quilt Sandwich
If budget does not allow for a professional longarm quilter, then you can either quilt it on your machine or 'tie' it. We don't recommend tieing it, as the quilt won't be very stable and won't stand up to laundry over time.
- Binding. The last step is binding. That is the step to finish all the raw edges of the quilt. Again, your longarm quilter should be able to take care of that for a reasonable charge.
There you have it. T-Shirt quilts in a nutshell.
T-Shirt Quilts of Texas is a full service professional business that can help you complete your quilt at most any stage. We also 'fix' quilts made by non-professionals. If you get started, and don't feel you are going to be able to complete your quilt. Take pictures of your quilt in process, email it to us, and we can let you know if we can help you get it finished.
For more about T-Shirt Quilts
- Quilt Finishing Services
- Need More Tshirts For Your Quilt?
- Choosing Border Colors for yourT-Shirt Quilt