I am a self-taught quilter, and I've sewn seriously since I was 14. I hope I can share some of the things I've learned through the years.
How to Turn Old Tees Into a Quilt
This quilt project is an awesome way to repurpose old shirts from sports teams, school, bands, and vacations. Use them to create an unforgettable and precious gift for a family member or friend. This tutorial shows how to make a t-shirt quilt with sashing, but you can use these instructions to make your own pattern. It's quite rewarding to see so many parts of a person's life and interests and create an item that encapsulates an era or a person.
Most quilts are made from simple geometric shapes (squares, rectangles, or triangles) that are sewn together with straight lines. In many ways, they're easier to create than clothing or other craft projects that require a precise fit. Just think of a quilt as one big rectangle made up of many little rectangles. Let's begin!
- T-shirts. You'll need anywhere from 12-24 pieces. Twelve tees make a 42"x60" lap quilt. Twenty shirts make a large lap quilt (five rows of four). Twenty-four shirts make a twin-sized quilt (six rows of four).
- 1 twin-sized package of quilt batting. I use Warm and Natural because it's soft, unbleached, and has a rich felt-like texture. It's easy to work with and never shifts like polyester does. This is my go-to quilt batting. Craft stores have a good selection of batting sold in packages and by the yard.
- Backing fabric. A regular flat sheet will work for this, or you can purchase quilt backing (also called fat backs) that is sold in 108" wide bolts. You can also use regular-width fabric and sew the pieces together. For a lap-size quilt with 12 tees, you'll need two yards of 44-inch wide fabric.
- Several 2-yard packages of Pellon Wonder-Under fusible interfacing. The number of packages depends on how many quilts you're interfacing. Fusible interfacing usually runs $5 per package and is an iron-on web of nylon-like material that will stabilize the jersey tees. Wonder-Under comes with a non-stick paper backing that is peeled off after it's applied.
- Cotton thread/all-purpose sewing thread. I use Star brand cotton quilting thread by Coats & Clark, which costs about $8 for a large spool. They have a great selection of solid colors as well as some cool variegated options.
- Iron. I use a cheap unbranded model. The only requirement is that it must get very hot.
- Scissors/rotary cutter and cutting mat. You can find kits on Amazon that include a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and ruler.
- Marking tools. These include items such as a lead pencil, tailor chalk, and disappearing ink
- Sewing pins
- Large ruler/tape measure. My favorite is Olfa's O'Lipfa ruler. It wraps around the edge of your cutting mat to help you make accurate cuts.
- Lightweight cardboard. This is an optional supply that can be used to make a square template. It's great if you don't have a large ruler or cutting mat. Tip: Cereal boxes are the perfect type of cardboard!
- Extension cord. This is to help you reach the middle of your quilt when you're fusing.
Fusible Interfacing for T-Shirt Quilts
Interfacing is the secret ingredient that makes it possible to create a beautiful, professional-looking t-shirt quilt. Since tees are made from stretchy jersey knits, they need to be stabilized so that they're easier to work with and won't stretch out of shape.
Interfacing for Stabilizing the T-Shirts
Step 1: Square Up Your Shirt Designs
Stabilize your shirt and cut squares.
- Separate the front of the shirt by cutting along the side seams. You can remove the sleeves or just cut all the way under the arm.
- Next, you need to make sure that the graphic on the front of the tee will be in the middle of your squares. The size of the blocks depends on the size of the largest graphic. I measure the largest design and add 1/2 inch to each side. That's the measurement you'll be using for all of your shirts. Usually, a 13-14" square will work. It can also be a rectangle if that's a better fit.
- Everyone has their own method for cutting up the shirts, and this is what works for me. I start by aligning the ruler so it is parallel with the top of the logo. The edge should be close to the bottom of the collar. See the photo above for reference.
- Make a straight cut across the chest from shoulder to shoulder seam. By making the first cut at the top, we are sure the design is aligned at 90 degrees, and it gives us a good foundation to make the other cuts and measurements.
- Make sure the center of the design is aligned with the center of the square and that there is an even space on each edge.
- Make two notches on the top edge, marking the width of your block.
- Make one cut down the left edge of the shirt that's perpendicular from your first horizontal cut.
Step 2: Cut and Add the Interfacing
This will give you one 90-degree corner to align with your squares of fusible interfacing. Before you iron on the interfacing, make sure there are not any deep wrinkles or creases, which might become permanent when fused.
- Cut the fusible interfacing in 14" squares (You can cut five 14" squares from a 2-yard roll of interfacing.)
- Gently place your t-shirt on the ironing board, making sure it is neither distorted nor stretched.
- Align the interfacing with the two straight edges of your t-shirt and the notch. (See photo) Fuse this side first to maintain the alignment.
- Set your iron to medium, which might also be the Wool/Silk Setting or "II" mark to fuse. Use a downward pushing motion instead of gliding. Keep the iron on the fabric for about 10 seconds in each spot to fuse. You'll be ironing the paper side.
Step 3: Fuse the T-Shirt Squares
- Iron on the interfacing with a smooth left-to-right motion, starting at the top and working down. Make sure the corners are well heated since this is where you will start peeling off the backing paper. Follow the package instructions if you're confused.
- Once you have the interfacing attached to the shirt, square off the edges of each block in measures of 14" inches square, or whatever size you are using. The process of fusing and squaring off 20 shirts takes about 3 to 3.5 hours and can be completed in one afternoon.
Tip: Keep the paper backing on until you assemble the blocks. Always allow the fabric piece to cool before peeling off the paper. If you have trouble with the interfacing lifting up, iron down the corners again to make sure that the interfacing has adhered. Put the paper backings aside for use later in the assembly process.
How to Incorporate Sweatshirts in a T-Shirt Quilt
Sometimes it happens. You have a favorite shirt you really want to include, but it's made from a thick, fleecy sweatshirt material. Don't fret! You can include it, but you have to keep the following tips in mind.
- To minimize extra bulk, don't interface the whole shirt front. Apply a frame of 1.5" interfacing strips to stabilize the edges. Keep your strips 1/4" from the outside edge to keep the seam allowances as thin as possible.
- If desired, apply spray starch to the shirt before cutting and applying the adhesive. It's up to you whether you'd like to complete that step first.
Step 4: Lay Out Your Shirts
Now that all of your t-shirts are stabilized and cut, it's time to work on a layout. Arrange the shirts in a pleasing pattern. Generally, I like the colors to alternate, dark, light, bright and neutral. That way you won't have four red t-shirts in a row. They'll look a lot better when spaced properly.
This layout looks pretty good to me! Once you're sure that you're happy with the arrangement, it's time to start sewing.
Step 5: Assemble the Quilt
There are two main options for assembling your t-shirt quilt.
The easiest way to assemble your t-shirt quilt is to sew the blocks to each other. Sew the blocks together into rows, trimming them to make sure the top and bottom are parallel. Then, attach the rows horizontally.
The second option is to add sashing. Sashing is like a border around each t-shirt square. It's a great way to add size to your quilt, tie together a theme, or tone down a busy quilt. Don't worry, sashing is easier than it looks!
Step 6: Add Sashing
1. For this example, I used 2" wide sashing strips for a finished width of 1.5 inches. Cut sashing and borders from fabric running parallel to the selvage. This direction has the least amount of stretch, so it will lie flat and won't flare out or ruffle.
2. Cut the sashing strips a little bit longer than your blocks. Pin the sashing and tee right sides together, aligning the edges at one side and letting the sashing hang off the other end.
3. Assemble all of the rows with vertical sashing. Make sure the edges are parallel and pin together rows with horizontal sashing.
4. Cornerstones are optional accents for the sashing intersections. For the example, the sashing strips are 2" wide and the cornerstone blocks are 2" squares.
Tip: As you assemble your rows, you'll need to iron the seam allowances flat. Lay several sheets of the paper backing on your ironing board, and iron the seam allowances toward the tees. Your tees will stick to the release paper instead of your ironing board!
Put the rows aside and allow to cool before removing the paper again.
How to Fix Quilting Errors or Mistakes
Mistakes, big or small, happen to the best of us, especially when you're dealing with stretchy t-shirts. I prefer to call them challenges. In this case, the logo was a little bit distorted. It was also the longest design of all the shirts, which means that I cut all the blocks to this size. However, trouble struck when I cut the edge a little too close, and the design looked like it would be cut off when I sewed the pieces together. Here's the remedy.
- Sew guide stitches at the edge of the design with a large basting-size stitch.
- Pin your block to the sashing strips and sew from the t-shirt side.
- Follow the guideline, keeping your new stitch line just inside the first row of stitches.
- Flip your project over and admire your perfectly placed seam!
Step 7: Make a Quilt Sandwich: Layer the Backing, Batting, and Top
Before you "quilt" your quilt, the backing, batting, and top must be secured together in a quilt sandwich. The first step is to fuse the quilt top to the batting.
- Lay your batting on the floor. Smooth it out from the center to the edges.
- Lay your top on the batting and smooth it out in the same way.
- Get your iron and an extension cord. Turn your iron to the wool or cotton setting.
- Use a muslin pressing if necessary to prevent the plastisol t-shirt ink from melting onto the iron.
- Fuse each block to the batting. Try not to distort the fabric with the iron.
- Press down and hold the iron there for a few seconds. (Use a downward-pressing motion rather than gliding side-to-side).
- Fuse the whole top moving from the center out to each corner. Note: Use a dry iron with no steam whenever you're working with the fusible.
There are several ways to attach your backing to the sandwich.
- I prefer to use spray adhesive because it's so fast. My favorite brand is 505 Spray and Fix by J T Trading, but Elmer's Spray Adhesive also works. Elmer's is a fraction of the price and is available at drugstores and grocery stores. Lay your batting on the floor with the t-shirts facing the ground. Lay your backing on top with the right side facing up. Peel back the backing to the midpoint and spray the fabric in 12-15" increments. Lay the backing on and smooth it out. Peel the backing up again and repeat until the backing is attached. Smooth the back again to prevent bubbles and bagginess.
- Big safety pins are also a good alternative. They are fast and work well. It's important to check the edges during the quilting to make sure the safety pins aren't bunching up the fabric. You may need to smooth out the back and re-pin the edges and corners.
- The old school way to baste a quilt is to use a needle and thread, taking long stitches that can easily be removed. This works fine, but it takes an unforgettable amount of time! Only use this if none of the other options are feasible.
After your sandwich is together, you're ready to quilt!
Step 8: Time to Quilt!
Below are three ways to quilt a t-shirt quilt.
Option 1: Stitch-in-the-Ditch
If you want to keep it simple, stitch along the seams only. This is called "stitch-in-the ditch." Using the Warm and Natural brand batting allows you to quilt up to ten inches apart. When you are stitching in the ditch, you can feel pressure as the needle pushes against the fabric, like a little wall, that allows you to stitch right on the seam so the stitching is almost hidden. Don't worry if you swerve a little. No one is going to look that close. Use your ballpoint needle to protect the jersey fabric and provide a nice, clean finish.
Option 2: Tying Your Quilt
You can tie your quilt if you're most comfortable with that. This provides a relatively quick finish if you don't want to use your machine.
Option 3: Free-Motion Quilting
You could do free-motion quilting, also called "stippling." For this method, you'll need a sewing machine with droppable feed dogs and a free-motion quilting foot.
When quilting, set your stitch size to approximately 3 mm (unless doing free-motion.) Roll your quilt up like a scroll, so it will fit under the machine. Always start in the middle and move out to the sides.
Photo Gallery: Completed Quilts
Step 9: Square Off and Bind the Quilt
Once you're finished quilting, square off the quilt. Now, check out how to bind a quilt neatly and quickly.
Take a T-Shirt Quilt Class
If you've made it through this page but aren't sure that you'd make it through the project, help has arrived. While I was pondering my own t-shirt quilt videos, my favorite online learning platform actually did it!.
Craftsy now offers a t-shirt quilt class online! In case you're not familiar with the site, Craftsy has all kinds of creative classes that you can take on-demand. Once you purchase a class, you can watch it on your schedule, and it will always be available if you ever want to review the techniques.
I'm a huge fan of the site. I have purchased a bunch of sewing classes for myself and cooking classes for my husband. Plus, they have a number of free mini classes and guides available if you want to try something new or get a taste of the site's content and outstanding production values. And everything is guaranteed, if you don't like it, you'll get your money back.
Share Your Questions and Comments
If you have a question about the project, I will answer it here. Feel free to share pictures of your finished creations and experiences.
© 2010 QuiltFinger
Share Your Questions and Comments - Are You Making a T-Shirt Quilt?
Kemma Hohman on July 20, 2020:
Im not clear as to the pellon to stabilze
the tshirts. Do i peel it off before or after the sewing? Or do i leave it on permantly? My 1st y shirt guilt.
Somer Larson on January 28, 2020:
I love your detailed instructions. My questions is can these quilts be machine washed? Will washing them mess up the batting material?
clariseb47 on February 13, 2018:
I have been working on my sons Marine tshirt quilt for over two years. I have just finished the top. I wish I had found this page earlier. Two questions:1. the shirts are mostly greens, some blacks,some browns. black shashing. what color backing. 2. will using tshirt, batting, and backing make this quilt heavy? the top seems heavy all ready. I haven't bought the batting yet, are there light battings? Thank you for such an informative page. I wish I had found this earlier in my process.
Pam Pleasant on May 31, 2017:
Kinda freaked out. Since I just searched how to make a jersey blanket. And I see CBHS jersies!!! My son just graduated from there! Make mine!!!!
Deeds2234 on January 12, 2017:
When you free-motion quilt, do you always quilt right across the logos? If so, have you ever encountered any difficulties doing this, such as skipped stitches, or stitches that later came out in those areas?
Jacquelina on July 13, 2016:
Hello & thank you ! I need help & have no point of reference....I'm using leftover tee shirts in many different color blocks sewn together for the sides. Do I sew these 3 inch wide strips with the interfacing up.....I've never finished a quilt & I do not want to have to use seam ripper....smile.....this . I believe is for the binding. Thank you for any & all comments & help, guidance.
GNB on April 25, 2016:
I have 100%polyester soccer jerseys n have logos that might melt if I must fuse. Which interfacing is best? Do I have to baste it to a cotton fabric then to interfacing. I'm doing this for first time using poly shirts.
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on May 05, 2015:
Yes, absolutely. I have. Just be careful with the heat/iron if they aren't 100% cotton. Also, you may need to stitch closed the button front, and trim away a bit of the fabric from the back layer--(the one with the buttons) to reduce bulk. Let me know if this makes sense!
SB on April 30, 2015:
Thank you for this awesome tutorial. Question: can you use polo shirts with the t shirts?
Barb on September 24, 2014:
Thank you so much for the t-shirt quilt pattern. My grandson has tons of bowling t-shirts, he's in college now, thought I would make him a memory quilt using his old high school shirts.
Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on April 11, 2014:
Making a quilt is a great way to use the T-shirts my son outgrows!
Sure Temp on January 04, 2014:
wish i could learn but it looks so difficult! :(
SavioC on October 08, 2013:
I should have seen this lens a month back. My wife and me made a quilt for our little niece on her first birthday with her snaps (12 of them) . It was our first attempt in doing it but I guess this lens would have helped a lot.
Nice one. Your instructions are very well put.
Rose Jones on October 07, 2013:
I love your lens! Great instructions, anyone could do this.
anonymous on April 27, 2013:
Such clear instructions! Thank you! Pinning!
anonymous on March 27, 2013:
@QuiltFinger: Thanks so very much. I need to collect the T-shirts and get started!! I am excited about my projects!
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on March 26, 2013:
@anonymous: Thank you for the compliment! :D
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on March 26, 2013:
@anonymous: You're welcome! I'm happy to share. In fact, I think it might be my calling.
So, Wonder Under is different from other fusibles, because both sides can adhere to the fabric once the paper backing is removed. Peel off the paper once the shirts are cool... or before you pin your pieces together. I don't have a lot of great craft stores near by house, so I do order Wonder Under. Sellers have it on Ebay and a few on Amazon. Heat-N-Bond Lite by Thermoweb is a similar product and I'm sure there are other alternatives.
No, there is no need to quilt the sashing down. It is fairly narrow and won't shift. Of course, quilting does add that great texture, but also takes time.
You're in luck, according to my old time chart. It takes about 20 minutes per t-shirt square to quilt and bind your project with this method, so about 4 hours to quilt and bind a 12-square quilt for example. Making your sandwich should only take an hour per quilt.
Hope this helps. You have plenty of time, and the quilts will come out great. A perfect graduation present.
anonymous on March 25, 2013:
@anonymous: Sorry---one more thing--do you have to order wonder under. They do not have it ay my local store?
anonymous on March 25, 2013:
PS Love your quilts--they look great!!!
anonymous on March 25, 2013:
@QuiltFinger: Thanks so much for such a quick and thorough reply. I have never used paper backed interfacing --just used a light iron on interfacing to keep the Tshirts from stretching. It is not sticky on the other side. So... if you iron on the wonder under to each of the T-shirts, do you sew the sashing on before you take the paper off or just wait until the t-shirts are cooled and remove the paper and then sew on the sashing? Does the sashing need to be "attached" to the batting or is it OK if that is just "loose"?
I keep thinking that your method is less time consuming than pinning and then marking and and tying the quilt--I usually make 9 ties on each Tshirt and also along the sashing. Does it take you a long time to make the "quilt sandwich" and then stitch in the ditch? I have promised to make 2 quilts as graduation presents and those dates will be here before I know it!
Thanks for being so generous with your time and talent and for sharing your tips!
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on March 25, 2013:
@anonymous: HI there M,
Thanks for your question.
1. If you've used paper-backed fusible interfacing before, you'll have no problem with Wonder Under. It's a very thin fusible interfacing, that doesn't stand on its own like some of the heavier garment fusibles that don't have a paper backing. If you have another product that use like to stabilize T-shirts, feel free to use that.
2. Always wait for the shirt to cool down before removing the paper to prevent the fusible from sticking to the paper and pulling away from your fabric. In other words, you don't need to do it right away. In fact, a stack of paper-backed shirt squares is easier to manage.
3. No need to interface the sashing, if you are using it--as long as it is made from a regular woven fabric, not a stretchy knit like your T-shirts. Interfacing is only needed to prevent the shirts from stretching/distorting.
4. Yes, I would stitch in the ditch along every square. Warm and Natural can be quilted 10 inches apart, and with the fusible I think I little further is okay.
For quilting, roll your quilt up like a scroll and sew all of your straight lines. I stop in the corner of each square, backtack and leave the thread in place. Then, I lift the presser foot, move my work a few inches ahead to cross the sashing strip, and insert the needle at the corner of the next square. You could sew right across the sashing pieces if you like. I would stitch in the ditch first and then add any additional straight line quilting, free-motion stippling or whatever else you might like. If you have a walking foot for your sewing machine, that might make your quilting easier, but I don't use one.
When fusing, just start in the center and work outward, I didn't have a problem with wrinkles. To keep your back nice and smooth, you can tape your backing fabric to the floor, and I always like to smooth it out again after using the spray basting.
Hope this helps! Good luck with your project! I know you can do it!
anonymous on March 25, 2013:
Thanks for your excellent instructions. I have made Tshirt quilts and have hand tied them which has been tedious and time consuming. I would like to try your method with fusing the Top to the batting and then using the adhesive spray to attach the back. I have never used the pellon wonder under. I assume that this is different than regular iron- on interfacing used to stablize the Tshirts. After you iron it on to the Tshirt quares, do you peel the paper off the back right away? Do you need to put interfacing on the sashing too? If you use the sashing do you "stitch in the ditch" along every seam--between Tshits and sashing etc? Is it difficult to do if the quilt is fairly large? I am a bit nervous about making sure that the quilt is smooth and that I don't "iron on" wrinkles etc. Thanks so much for any advice you can give me!
J Crane on March 13, 2013:
Thanks for the guide, i will try to do my own now.
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on February 20, 2013:
@anonymous: Just to make sure that the fleece won't melt, I would try testing a small swatch using your spare materials and t-shirt scraps. If the fleece can't withstand the heat, you can always tie the two layers together at regular intervals (a rustic quilting alternative) This might be the best bet, because fleece is sort of chunky and harder to quilt without a walking foot for your machine. Congratulations on your project, and good luck!
anonymous on February 20, 2013:
This is a great project, and I have my squares finished and ready to sew together. But we live in a warm climate and I don't really want to use the batting between the layers. I am using fleece for the backing, so can I just use the pressing cloth and iron on the fleece side to fuse the layers together?
anonymous on January 15, 2013:
I would like to try the t shirt quilt ----- what is a lens?
David463 on January 09, 2013:
always wanted to try this, now I can, Thanks!! Great lenses!!
shewins on November 12, 2012:
That is very cool, what a nice way to save those special T-shirts.
Joy Neasley from Nashville, TN on September 07, 2012:
I am going to have to give this a try! Thanks for the idea and the lens.
Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on August 17, 2012:
Fabulous job! I usually make mine with the blocks sewn directly together without a sash. Your tutorial shows both ways of assembling; awesome! (I'm linking your lens to my newest lens on DIY dorm décor.) Thanks!
Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on August 17, 2012:
Fabulous job! I usually make mine with the blocks sewn directly together without a sash. Your tutorial shows both ways of assembling; awesome! (I'm linking your lens to my newest lens on DIY dorm decor.) Thanks!
Melissa Miotke from Arizona on July 22, 2012:
I love how detailed your instructions are. Great lens!
anonymous on July 22, 2012:
Wow very interesting and awesome lens. Thanks.
WriterJanis2 on July 21, 2012:
This is such a great idea.
Cindy from Pittsburgh Pa on July 19, 2012:
What a great idea for reusing old t-shirts! I'd love to add this to my How to Celebrate Earth Day lens as well as share it with my mom who's also an avid quilter although she's never done t-shirts!! xoxo
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on July 19, 2012:
@anonymous: Hi there, I'm not sure if I have answered your question yet. I have accidentally fused the quilt to the batting by using an iron that is too hot, but that's not the way it's intended. It's not absolutely necessary to fuse the top to the batting. To save time it would take to baste by hand, I recommend using 505 spray adhesive. It's a little price but it's the best sprays adhesive on the market in my opinion. A few tips, when adhering the back and the top, do it in 1 or 2-foot sections. As the top and backing are applied, make sure to smooth out any wrinkles and stretch the fabric outward.
As for quilting, I have quilted a queen-sized quilt in a 3/4 size machine, so it is possible even if it isn't fun!! Simply roll the quilt tightly like a scroll and it will fit under the harp (arm). It can be a real B****, but after the center is quilted it gets better!!
Thanks so much for stopping by, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on July 19, 2012:
@anonymous: Hello Denise, Thanks so much for your question. I got it at Fabric.com in the novelty/conversational section. Here's a link to some of their current baseball fabrics. They're not the same, but they are very similar!
anonymous on July 18, 2012:
Just wondering where you purchased the baseball fabric for the sashing? I love it.
anonymous on May 23, 2012:
I have a question about fusing batting to quilt front. Do you need pellon material between quilt and batting or can you actually fuse batting to the quilt with the iron?
Also, I have made a Queen sized quilt. Simple singer sewing machine-how can I uilt before, and everoll it tight enough to get center area under the raised needle?
Sher Ritchie on April 15, 2012:
I love your lens - this is amazing! I've featured it on mine: http://www.squidoo.com/making-patchwork-super-easy... Thanks for sharing!
karen-scola on April 11, 2012:
Love the concept - I've been making tarn and now I know what to do with the pieces left over from the armpit up to the neck! It'll be smaller squares, but most of my logos are breast patches anyway. Thanks for the idea.
JoshK47 on April 05, 2012:
Popping back in here to bless this awesome lens! :)
entertainmentev on April 05, 2012:
My mother-in-law and I are planning to work on these together this summer for Christmas gifts. Great project and gift!
andrea-terry on March 13, 2012:
that is a great idea, just the idea I needed to make my son a quilt thank you
TTMall on March 10, 2012:
Thank you for such an informative lens.
orange3 lm on March 07, 2012:
This is a great idea to reuse old tshirts that for some reason I don't want to get rid of :)
navalava lm on February 21, 2012:
Great ideas! You have done great job with this lens! Thank you for sharing your tips with us.
flipflopju on February 19, 2012:
Great tips! I have old shirts still and I can't wait to try this out.
anonymous on January 29, 2012:
great idea thanks for sharing
Michey LM on November 19, 2011:
Practical lens, you are a handy person.
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on October 07, 2011:
@anonymous: Hello Lee, thanks for your comment. I have used polyester tees, or at least part cotton/poly. It can be tricky. I definitely prefer using 100% cotton tees. Typically, you need to use the hottest setting on your iron in order to fuse the interfacing. The problem with poly fabrics is that the synthetic materials can melt leaving an ugly burned mark or even a hole if it melts all the way through. To avoid this, you can try fusing the pieces with a wet pressing cloth that will release steam and help fuse the webbing. As an alternative, you could also try sew-in interfacing if you don't want to take a chance ruining your jerseys. I have never tried using sew-in interfacing with this project, but imagine it would work if you hooked the two layers together with a zig-zag stitch or you could find an darning foot for your sewing machine and do a meandering stipple stitch to quilt your quilt or simply connect the two layers.
**Also, it just occurred to me that hockey and sports jerseys aren't stretchy like regular T-shirts, so you may not need interfacing to stabilize the fabric at all! Hope this helps!
anonymous on October 07, 2011:
Have you ever used soccer or hockey jerseys made from polyester? If so can you use the same interfacing? any hints would be much appreciated/ Great tutorial!
Jeanette from Australia on September 15, 2011:
What a great idea!
hlkljgk from Western Mass on September 15, 2011:
i wish i'd saved more t-shirts. Congratulations on being featured on the 50 Crafts I Want To Try MonsterBoard!
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on August 30, 2011:
@anonymous: Hi Mari, you'll have to calculate the size of your squares and borders based on the amount of batting you have. I like to draw a diagram showing the measurements, so it's easier for me to visualize. For the Pellon, you may do either. I find it works best to use your iron on the back (the paper side) and do a mild touch up on the front of the t-shirt to make sure there aren't any bubbles. Some tees are printed with that rubberized plastisol ink, which can get stuck on the bottom of your iron or at least slow the iron down, so it doesn't glide nicely. Hope this helps and good luck!!
anonymous on August 30, 2011:
I am about to start my quilt, and just buying a few last items. Following your instructions will I still have room to make a border around the entire quilt, even after I put a border around each square? Also, when I do the pellon, do I iron on the back or the front of the shirt? I've seen both....
annieangel1 on August 12, 2011:
that is amazing - angel blessed and featured on my road trip to crafts lens
sdakin on July 05, 2011:
This is BY FAR one of the best T-shirt quilt tutorials that I've seen. I've gathered all of the t-shirts to make one, but that's as far as I've gotten so far. =) Thanks for this great lens!
JoshK47 on June 18, 2011:
Great use for old t-shirts. Awesome stuff!
rasisonia lm on June 13, 2011:
wow.. I want to Make a T-Shirt Quilt.. thank for sharing this tips..
dellgirl on May 30, 2011:
Wonderful lens itâs really very unique. I SUPERLIKED it! I love sewing and quilting too, haven't done it in a long time though.
Wanda Fitzgerald from Central Florida on April 24, 2011:
I've never seen this technique before. Very personalized and unique. Added to the squidoo quilting angel lens.
Renaissance Woman from Colorado on April 07, 2011:
This would be a great way to display t-shirts from races (running). A person can only wear so many shirts. Nicely done!
Colorfulscene on March 31, 2011:
Yes!! I started a lens- addicted to t shirts.... this is a GREAT way to preserve those favorites!
Indigo Janson from UK on February 26, 2010:
Really clever idea, and the finished result is fantastic!
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on February 16, 2010:
@nevergiveupgirl: What a wonderful idea ;) It's always fun to begin a new project. Thanks so much for your comments.
nevergiveupgirl on February 16, 2010:
Thank you so much for such clear tutorial. It just make me jump on to the sewing machine and start a project.
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on February 15, 2010:
@Nochipra: There's no quilting police, so you can do it anyway you want. Thanks so much for your comment.
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on February 15, 2010:
@poutine: Thanks so much, Poutine. I really like the way it ties together the look. Of course sewing the shirts together is just fine too.
poutine on February 13, 2010:
I love the way you put that strip around the t-shirts graphics.
Cool idea! Never seen one like this before.
Nochipra on February 07, 2010:
Very nice! Never seen one like this before!
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on February 05, 2010:
@junecampbell: Thanks so much, Nightcats. I would love to hear some feedback from a fellow sewer....
June Campbell from North Vancouver, BC, Canada on February 03, 2010:
Beautiful! I don't sew but I'm sending this lens to someone who does. Five stars.
QuiltFinger (author) from Tennessee on February 03, 2010:
@Sylvestermouse: Thank you so much Sylvestermouse! I think the trick is to wait until they go to college, than you can tell which shirts they are leaving behind. ;)
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on February 02, 2010:
This is totally awesome! Great instructions and photos. I love the idea. Wonder if my son would miss his t-shirts:) Seriously, I think it is a marvelous way to capture great memories. Angel Blessed and added to my Squid Angel Mouse Tracks lens.