These instructions are for making a T-Shirt Quilt top. They are based on a 14 1/2″ finished square T-shirt block. First, check all your tee shirts to make sure that the designs will fit into a 14″ square. If they won’t you can either crop the designs or make the squares larger – just modify the instructions to the dimensions you need. Remember, all the T-shirt squares must be the same size. All seam allowances are 1/4″. If you’re not sure of the correct size, determine the largest design and cut all interfacing 2″ larger than that size, then trim as needed.
Sizes: all sizes include 1 1/2″ sashing and a 2″ border and are based on a 14 1/2″ finished t-shirt block
12 shirts will make a throw-size quilt, approx. 48″ x 64″ – 3 across x 4 down.
20 shirts will make a twin size quilt, approx. 64″ x 82″ – 4 across x 5 down
30 shirts will make a full size quilt, approx. 82″ x 96″ – 5 across x 6 down.
36 shirts will make a queen size quilt, approx. 96″ x 96″ – 6 across x 6 down.
42 shirts will make a king size quilt, approx 110″ x 96″ – 7 across x 6 down.
Step 1 – Select Shirts – Shirts should be clean and in good condition. Avoid stained shirts.
Step 2 – Fusible Interfacing – Each shirt must be backed with non-woven fusible interfacing to prevent it from stretching. Buy enough fusible interfacing to make a 17″ square for each T-shirt. Select good quality, light weigh interfacing. Fusible interfacing needs to be non-woven, glued only on one side. I’m currently using Pellon 906F. (In response to many inquiries about interfacing, I now offer fusible interfacing for sale here: http://www.goosetracks.com/Interfacing.html
Step 3 – Fabric for Sashing/Border/Binding – Sashing strips form a decorative grid between each T-shirt block. Plan on 2″ sashing strips (1 1/2″ when finished) between the blocks, 2 1/2″ strips (2″ when finished) for the border, and additional fabric for the binding. Calculate the amount needed and be sure to wash it before you use it – you want to be sure that the color won’t run and that the fabric will not shrink after the quilt is finished.
Step 4 – Cutting Shirts – Separate the front of the shirt from the back. Make sure the shirt is smooth, iron if necessary.
Step 5 – Fusing – Cut interfacing into 17″ squares – one for each shirt. Don’t piece the interfacing, it will show through. Position the interfacing with the resin side down on the wrong side of the t-shirt, trying to center the design as much as possible. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for fusing to the back of each T-shirt. Use a press cloth so you don’t get any glue on your iron. Beware of wrinkles – once cool they won’t come out!
Step 6 – Cutting the Squares – Square up each fused shirt to 15″. Make sure you center the design and lettering – measure twice – cut once! Cut with scissors or rotary cutter.
Step 7 – Arranging – Lay out squares on the floor and arrange. Alternate light/dark, busy/not so busy. Make sure the blocks can be read from the desired direction.
Step 8 – Completing the Quilt – add sashing – Sashing strips are the horizontal and vertical strips between blocks. The horizontal strips should measure 15″ in length x 2″ wide. Cut enough sashing strips to add to all the t-shirts except the bottom row. Then sew horizontal strips to the bottom of each block, except the blocks in the bottom row. Sew blocks together to form columns.
After all the blocks are sewn into columns, make long 2″ sashing strips slightly longer than length of each column. Sew the 2″ sashing strips onto the inside edge of the completed columns, one strip to each column (don’t sew a sashing strip to the outside edges of the columns) and sew the columns together. Press toward sashing.
Cut border strips 2 1/2″ wide and add as desired. If you need to do a final pressing, make sure you put a cloth over the shirts – the designs may smear if the iron is placed directly onto them.
Finish – Layer backing batting and quilt top. Baste or safety pin together. If you have some experience machine quilting you can quilt your quilt or you can tie it to hold the layers together. Bind your quilt and be sure to add a label.
Websites with instructions on how to finish quilts – You Tube has good information also
Light weight interfacing for t-shirts, ruler for cutting the squares, cotton batting, and the usuals, like sewing machine, thread, and what not.