DIY Vintage T-Shirt Quilt [How-To Tutorial]

by |July 11, 2014
Categories: Crafts, Resource
DIY Nostalgic Vintage T-Shirt Quilt Tutorial and Instructions


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

recycle your old tees


Gather your supplies

You will need:

  • At least 9 t-shirts (Our theme is vintage superheroes and comic book characters)
  • Cutting Mat
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Scissors
  • Coordinating Fabric
  • Fusible Interfacing
  • Square Cutting Guide
  • Sewing Machine

prepare to cut

It's okay, Magneto. You're going to a better place.


the sleece are the first to go


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.

the sides get it next


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.

lay your tee flat

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!

iron on fusible interfacing


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.

protect any screen images


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!

select focal point


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.

cut square panels


Now cut around the guide using a rotary cutter.

cut all tees


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.


sew side strips first


Seam and cut instructions

create layout


iron seams flat



final strips


attact horizontal stripes


Final rows


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.


quilting longarm and binding


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!

couch throw


The size we create is perfect as a throw for a couch or as a baby blanket.

lap throw


It's also great for a chilly office!


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Any lingering questions about the quilting process? Stop by this tutorial.

Kate Horvat

Kate is’s Marketing Project Coordinator with an obsession for all things supernatural and spook-tacular! If it’s eerie or peculiar you will find her wide eyed and cross-legged, eagerly awaiting more information. She also enjoys listening to paranormal podcasts (the more provocative the better!), conducting true crime research (the bloodier the better!), crafting (the geekier the better!) and super sleuthing (the more obscure the better!).