Thanks! I don’t have a typed up tutorial for it, mostly because my mom makes t-shirt quilts all the time and she helped me out, but I can try to describe it for you and maybe write one up in the near future.
First, you need the t-shirts. The way we make our t-shirt quilts is by setting them into a grid of squares, so make sure you have enough. Mine is 3 across by 4 down. They can be any size you want! A lap quilt will be a 3x3, and a king size is about a 5x6, if that gives you an idea. I wouldn’t go any smaller than a 3x3 because than it may be too small.
Once you have the shirts you want for your quilt, you need to cut them. It was painful for me at first because I was so attached to them! Tears were almost shed… Anyway! You’ll want to cut as large an area as possible in order to be able to cut out the tshirt squares how you want them later.
Once you’ve cut them out, you’ll need to iron this onto the back. This material is made to keep the fabric from stretching too much while sewing with it. It seems expensive and not worth it but it is!! It will make your life SO much easier! Also, if you buy it from a Joann’s fabric or a chain store they will often have coupons for 40% off which is amazingly helpful.
Next you’ll want to cut out the squares! To cut them out, we used this and this. I made the t-shirt squares on my quilt 15 in x 15 in. This seems to be a good size for many t-shirt designs. They can be made smaller but some shirt designs may not fit. Some of the designs may be too big, and you’ll have to play with that a bit, which is why we made the pieces so big earlier. For example, on my quilt, the shirt with the ‘thoughts are stars’ quote had to be angled in order for it to fit right. When you’re cutting, remember that 1/4 of an inch will be taken from all sides when everything is sewn together!
Alright, so now you have your squares! Next is the fun part: Picking where they go on the quilt! This is purely up to you and what your preference is. It helps me to lay the squares out on the floor, and it also helps to get others opinions too.
Once you have your layout you need to pick your fabrics. This can take some time if you’re looking for the perfect fabric, but it’s well worth it in the end. If you can’t find exactly what you want at the fabric store don’t be afraid to look online. If you’re using two fabrics like I did, I would suggest they contrast a little, i.e.- light and dark, to add some pop, but mostly do whatever your heart desires! This is for you! At least, I’m assuming it is.
This next part gets a bit tricky. Before you buy, you need to calculate exactly how much fabric to buy. It’s ok to be over, but it’s the biggest pain in the but to not have enough. Be sure to include the 1/4 in. seam on all sides of each piece of the quilt, as well as 2 1/2 in strips for the binding that goes around the edge at the end, as well as how much you’ll need for the back of the quilt. NOTE- If you choose to longarm your quilt you may need to add 4 inches all around on the back side of the quilt. I would suggest you call the longarmers and ask them how much.
The next part is fun because it starts looking like a project! Once you’ve bought your fabric (I always use a coupon because I’m stingy that way) it’s time to cut! Make sure you have a large flat surface to use. This mat is a valuable tool to use. All of these tools are suggestions based on how I made my quilt. Once you have carefully cut out your pieces you need to sew them together. This can be tricky, and don’t be afraid to rip the seam out if you mess up. It happens to the best of us! As for the back of the quilt, I just sewed pieces together to make a piece large enough.
Now that you have the front of the quilt and the back of the quilt, you need to get the stuffing, aka batting. Note- The link is just one kind. You will want to go and feel them to see what you want.
Next is a little tricky. The quilt needs something to hold it together once its sewn at the edges, otherwise the batting will just ball up inside. There are 2 options. One- you could knot the quilt in various places using threads. Two- You could have it longarmed, as I did with my quilt. Personally, I prefer the longarmed way because t will make the quilt last much much longer and adds a certain flair to it. Because I know nothing about the knotting technique, I’ll go with the longarming way.
Longarming is where a your quilt is fed into a machine that will sew a pattern onto your quilt to hold it all together. Patterns range from stars and hearts to rocket ships and cats and birds and firetrucks and flowers and on and on. You can pick the thread color and the size of the pattern on the quilt. The larger you make the pattern on the quilt, the looser and softer it will feel in your hands. The price to do this depends on how much thread your pattern uses, how big your pattern is, etc. Again, this is my personal preference. You can choose whichever method you choose.
Once the quilt comes back from the longarmers it will look like a quilt! You’re so close! Next you need to sew on the binding.
The binding strips I told you about? Those need to be folded in half, with the pattern side down, and ironed flat like a ribbon. Before you sew on the strip around the quilt, you’ll need to trim the excess batting and fabric at the edges carefully. Then you’ll pin on the strip(s) to the front of the quilt so that the cut edge is lined up with the cut edge of the quilt, and the folded edge is on the inside. Once sewn on, the last step is to hand stitch the folded edge to the back side of the quilt.
It’s a loooong process but it’s worth it in the end! Here are a few links that might be helpful to you in making your quilt.
I hope this was helpful! I feel like I word-vomited all over your question haha! DFTBA!