Dec 20

T-shirt Quilt (105)

Winter makes me lazy.  I don’t feel like going outside to take pictures.  So please excuse my poor pictures.  I have no one to blame but myself.

Back in February, I began working on two quilts for two little neighbor girls who lost their dad that month.  By March, I was able to have the quilts in their arms, and they use them every night when they sleep.  I was grateful to have given them such a great gift and way to remember their dad.

He was his parent’s only son and youngest child.  His death was very hard on his parents, and I could imagine it would be for any parent to lose a child, no matter what the circumstance.  The girls’ mother came to ask me if I could make one more quilt from his shirts, for his mother.  How could I refuse?

T-shirt Quilt

So with 20 different T-shirt panels, a lot of Pellon Shape-Flex, and Kona Raffia for the sashing, I was able to put together this quilt top.   I tried to use a different quilting design for each square, one that was dictated by the design on the square, and I have to admit that I love this one the most.  I have seen Elizabeth Hartman use this random zig zag acute angle design many times, and I was glad that I was able to try it on this square.

acute angle quilting

I always have a difficult time choosing the backing for T-shirt Quilts.  I want it to match the personality of the t-shirts, but also match the personality of the recipient.  I have to admit, I have  never met my neighbor’s mom, but I hope I found a fabric that could best compliment the shirts.  I found ModCentury by Jenn Ski from Moda.  It was manly, it was graphic, it was bright, and it tied together the shirts, the sashing, and the binding (Kona Medium Gray).  I’m glad I found it, and I hope it matches her personality.

T-shirt quilt with backing

I will admit, T-shirt quilts are not my favorite.  I get easily frustrated, especially during the quilting of it, that I just have to break it up and walk away from it when I get too frustrated.  That jersey is very difficult to work with, even with the Shape-Flex.  So, I  hope she sees beyond the imperfections.  I hope this helps her to heal.

This quilt is 71 inches by 88 inches, before washing.  Thanks for stopping by!



  1. Liz says:

    Very nice, I can’t wait to have my completed jean quilt done with the fabric from my mom’s clothes. I will show you when I am done. It is taking us awhile to cut all the jean and fabric and batting. Each of my sisters and I are making one. But we can’t wait to have the completed project. Thanks for all your help and ideas. I do enjoy it.

  2. Lynda M O says:

    A friend from jr high just asked me about putting his favorite t-shirts together into a quilt and later this same day I come across this fabulously descriptive post about how you were able to successfully accomplish just that with this batch of tees.

    Many thanks.

    Lynda-fabric artist
    SF Bay Area

  3. allison says:

    I made a t-shirt quilt from my and my husband’s old punk rock shirts a few years ago. I used a flannel sheet for the backing and NO batting. It was still unbelievably heavy! When we got a bigger bed, I had to add strips down the sides. Even heavier!
    I understand and appreciate how difficult these are to work with, but good on ya for making 3! (If I read correctly)

  4. Susan says:

    You are an angel to make the quilts for the family to help them grieve their loss.

    My daughter has again learned to appreciate the stitches of love from her mother. The only quilt she has asked me to make is a quilt from her t-shirt that she acquired in college from her sorority. She thought she had given away and lost all her shirts. On a visit home, she found a big box and a small box of shirts that her mom had retrieved. I have even found one from Mom’s Day and one from Dad’s Day. Her dad and I have been divorced for over 15 years. We thought maybe we were going to be able to reconcile and took a trip recently to visit her and her family. I had told him of daughter’s desire for the quilt. On the trip, he gave me another Dad’s Day shirt with the stipulation that I have to make the quilt. Now I know what kind of interfacing to use. I had “heard” that it was Pellon, but I had no idea what flavor of Pellon. Many things for your posting.

    I just found your website and am having a ball reading along and making quilts in my head. Your work is beautiful and you are very generous to share your work and patterns with us, the quilt world.

    May God richly bless you and all your endeavors.