We imagine everyone has experienced something akin to this internal dialogue at some point: "I need to get rid of some of these t-shirts. But I love these t-shirts. I have such fond memories of these shirts. But I don't wear them any more. But, I can't just get rid of them!" Then back into the box and under the stairs they go.
Whether your nostalgic memories stem from glory days of high school sports or college Greek life, the rock bands your dad listened to, or a comic con road trip with your buddies, any themed group of old tees can be transformed into a new keepsake quilt! Even if you're not into cohesive themes and you want to put Johnny Cash in the same quilt as a My Little Pony, go for it! Just promise to sent us a pic.
How To Make Your Own Vintage T-Shirt Quilt
You will need:
- At least 9 t-shirts (Our theme is vintage superheroes and comic book characters)
- Cutting Mat
- Rotary Cutter
- Coordinating Fabric
- Fusible Interfacing
- Square Cutting Guide
- Sewing Machine
It's okay, Magneto. You're going to a better place.
Cut the sleeve just inside the seam. This doesn't need to be perfect since we will be cutting squares of the design a few steps from now.
Once the sleeves are removed, cut along each side. Again, this doesn't need to be perfect. Just be sure to leave enough fabric around the design to cut a perfect square later.
You will now have a big piece of fabric with a neck hole. Cut along the seams at the shoulders, removing the back panel.
- Tip: If you have kids, cut around the neck hole and you'll have a fun and simple cape for superhero play time!
This next step is very important. Most tees are very soft and the fabric is thus stretchy and thin. Iron-on fusible interfacing makes the fabric stiffer and will prevent stretching while sewing. We used a medium weight interfacing. Before ironing, the glue side (usually the "bumpy" side) should be facing up with the back of the tee laying on top.
When ironing the interfacing, use a scrap piece of fabric (any of your discarded tee scraps will do) to protect the images so that the iron doesn't melt the ink!
We recommend using a square cutting guide, which may be purchased at any craft store. This one was extra handy since it's clear, which allowed us to position the square exactly where we wanted over the design. Our square guide is 9 1/2 inches by 9 1/2 inches.
Now cut around the guide using a rotary cutter.
Repeat this simple process on all of your tees. We used 9 t-shirts in total, but you can use as many as you like for a bigger quilt.
You're done! Well, at least your part is done. The final step is to take your piece to a quilt shop and have them longarm the batting and backing onto the quilt. You can also have the shop do the binding if you are unfamiliar with how to do it.
The machine quilting and binding portion of this DIY were completed at Sewing Seeds Quilting Co in New Ulm, MN. They did an amazing job! The simple swirl pattern doesn't distract from the tees used in the quilt. Special thanks again Ann, Jackie, and Cindy!
The size we create is perfect as a throw for a couch or as a baby blanket.
It's also great for a chilly office!
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Browse our entire collection of superhero tshirts here!
Any lingering questions about the quilting process? Stop by this tutorial.