Friday, 24 June 2016

Repurpose Pre-loved Shirts into a Shirt Quilt

Early last year I showed you how I organise my refashioning stash. In amongst the clothes waiting to be upcycled, was a bunch of 100% cotton shirts in good condtion. 18 months later and it was time to repurpose those shirts into something new - a shirt quilt.

Learn how to make a quilt by repurposing pre-loved shirts. Shirt Quilt ~ Threading My Way

I have to say, I am absolutely thrilled with how my shirt quilt has turned out. What's even better, it effectively cost me nothing to make. The shirts were all given to me, the sashing, border and backing fabric came from my stash, and the bamboo batting was left over from my first ever quilted project - the retro flower power cushion. 

OK, technically I once had to pay for the batting, but that was five years ago. The sashing, border and backing fabric was bought for next to nothing on sale, again, a long time ago.

Learn how to make a quilt by repurposing pre-loved shirts. Shirt Quilt ~ Threading My Way

To make each block...
  • Cut 2" x 8" strips of shirting
  • Sew 5 strips together with a ¼" seam
  • Press seams
  • Trim to 7" x 7"

Whether you press seams to the side or open, is a matter of choice. I now press seams to the side.

Repeat until you have 30 blocks. Lay the blocks out and play with positioning until you are happy with the layout.

Attach the sashing...
  • Cut lengths of fabric 1½" wide
  • Sew the sashing to the blocks that will form the columns 
  • Press
  • Sew the columns together with sashing in between
  • Press

Sew the border...
  • Cut lengths of fabric 2½" wide
  • Sew to the sides
  • Press
  • Sew to the top and bottom

If necessary, square the quilt.


Your quilt top is finished and it's time to make a quilt sandwich. Place the batting (wadding) in between the backing fabric and the quilt top. Batting and backing fabric will be larger than the quilt top. For the first time, I did this step on a table and it worked really well. My quilt is reasonably small, but I found this YouTube video very helpful, even though I didn't follow that method exactly.

I always pin baste my quilts. I just know I'd make a mess spray basting. 12 Tips for Basting a Quilt has lots of links to useful resources on the topic.

Being a small quilt, this one was easy to quilt - no pushing and shoving a thick quilt through the throat of the machine. I didn't even bother with quilting gloves, which I normally use. Canoe Ridge Creations shows her tips & techniques for straight line quilting.


Initially I was going to bind the shirt quilt with blue, the same as the border, and if the quilt was intended for a male, that's probably what I would have ended up doing. I wanted a contrast for the backing - something pretty and not shirt related. As soon as I found the small blue floral in my stash, I new it would work.

When I first bound a quilt with backing fabric, I thought it was cheating, but readers told me otherwise, and I've since seen it done many times. I was going to show you how I do this step, but I was so keen to finish, I forgot to take photos. Cluck Cluck Sew does her quilt backing binding exactly as I do mine, except that I use Clover Wonder clips instead of pins, and mine is hand sewn instead of machine sewn. Next time I'll take photos, but in the meantime, the hand stitching is the same method I used for appliquéing a hexagon flower to a zippered pouch.


The finished quilt measures 41" x 48", so should be the right size for a lap quilt, to snuggle under while watching TV or reading a book. 

Learn how to make a quilt by repurposing pre-loved shirts. Shirt Quilt ~ Threading My Way

It's been two years since I made my last quilt, the Barcelona Strip and Flip Quilt. The shirt quilt makes six quilts in total. I do have two more quilt tops finished... 
Decisions, decisions - which to work on next?

I'll be adding the shirt quilt to the Quilting & Patchwork link party, here at Threading My Way - 260+ quilting projects added so far. 

... Pam

Edited to add: Check out the cushion made with scraps left over from this shirt quilt.

I'd love you to share this post on social media!

21 comments:

  1. I absolutely ADORE this quilt!!! You have given me the "get up and go" to go through my husband's shirts that are becoming a bit worn at the cuffs and see what I can come up with. Absolutely WONDERFUL!

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  2. What a wonderful quilt! I imagine guys all over the globe are hiding shirts they have not worn for a while right now hahaha

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  3. I.
    Love.
    That.
    Quilt.
    LOL @ Jenya's comment - I bet it's true! My husband doesn't wear shirts (well, maybe once every couple of years when he puts on a suit, hehe) but I'll be watching for sales @ the thrift stores ($7 or $10 for a used shirt isn't very practical, imho!) because that is TOO cute of a project to pass by!

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  4. Pam, your quilt is lovely. Just the right amount of yin / yang.

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    1. Thank you so much, Maureen. I've just finished a cushion to go with the quilt.

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  5. I absolutely LOVE repurposed shirt quilts. As fabulous as regular quilts are, I feel like these repurposed quilts are even better - because they bring with them memories. Making you remember things that you did in that shirt that was used in that quilt. Just something so absolutely special about that. Well done on this quilt, it is beautiful!

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  6. This has turned out beautifully Pam, I have been stockpiling my husband's and sons' shirts for years I really must get around to doing something with them!

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  7. Love, love, love it! I'm not surprised you are so proud of it! xx

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    1. Thanks so much, Josie. I've just made a cushion to match.

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  8. A beautiful quilt you have sewn,Pam ... just beautiful!
    I started last year also, with shirts and my husband's jeans - I have him ready to sew.
    Greeting from
    Klaudia

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  9. LOVE this quilt and especially the backing. The QOV requirements here say we can't use the backing as the binding and I don't understand the reason. What if I cut the binding from that backing fabric? That would be extra work for nothing. I think your binding looks great. Your quilt looks awesome.

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  10. I adore this quilt and the idea upcycling old shirts! I have wished I knew how to quilt and you make it look and sound so simple. Which I know it is not, so I will just admire your beautiful craft from way over here! Simply marvelous!

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com/my-old-navy-rewards-haul-and-a-link-up/

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    1. Thanks so much, Selbee. Quilting is easier than you may think.

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  11. Your shirt quilt is beautiful, Pam! You should be very proud of it.

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  12. I do love this! It's has that wonderful quirky makedo appeal about it! I too have been busy cutting up shirts, lots of fun!

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  13. awesome quilt, love the colors! So far I have been a bit chicken to do the 'quilting' part, I am so afraid I will ruin it but yours looks lovely!

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  14. Hi there
    Just stopped by to let you know that I featured this on my Saturday Spotlight post this week!
    Saturday Spotlight
    Thanks again for linking up! Hope you have a great weekend!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

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  15. Oh my! This is absolutely amazing!! Thanks for sharing at the DIY Crush Craft Party on Thursdays!!

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  16. It looks wonderful, and nothing like finishing a quilt to get a very satisfied making feeling! Both those other quilts are going to be amazing when finished - so basically hurry up with both of them so we get to see them soon! (Although I'd better hurry up and catch up before I say that really!)

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  17. When my uncle passed away, my sister made three quilts out of all of his work shirts, one for each of my cousins. She used the pockets, epelets and even parts of the button up area. My cousins were all absolutely thrilled with the finished quilts and each of them remarked on the memories that these quilts brought to their minds. I think this is a wonderful way to remember a passed loved one.

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    1. Three quilts your cousins will cherish! A great idea to use the pockets, epelets and button plackets.

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