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How to Make a T-Shirt Quilt

Preserving memories involve more than just scrapbooks these days. T-shirt quilts are becoming a popular way to commemorate a childhood, concert-going days, or even a loved one who has passed.

Everyone has t-shirts they just cannot bear to toss in the trash. With t-shirt quilts, you can use that old football jersey, Van Halen t-shirt, and even sweet baby onesies to create a special, durable quilt that you can cherish for years to come. These quilt creations make wonderful gifts and keepsakes for children, adults, friends, or family members.

So you have the t-shirts, but you don’t know what to do in order to go from stack of old shirts to amazing quilt? Even a beginning quilt-maker can succeed at this project with a little guidance. The following will help you to learn how to make a t-shirt quilt. The first step is to make sure you can cut the same size square out of each t-shirt you want to use. Identify the best section of each shirt and decide how you can crop so each square is the same size and in a perfect square shape. The size of the square and number of t-shirts used determines how large your quilt will be. You can go as small as a lap quilt to as large as a covering for a king size bed! Use as few as four t-shirts or as many as 36.

Next you will need to focus on the interfacing—the material that provides the backing and structure for the quilt. Interfacing helps the quilt to keep its shape. You can choose between woven or non-woven type and between light through medium weight material. A fabric store can help you to find exactly what you need. You will want to cut the interfacing material slightly larger than the t-shirt blocks in order to make the seams as sturdy as they can be. Then you will fuse the interfacing to the t-shirt sections, following the instructions that come from the interfacing manufacturer.

You may choose to simply sew the t-shirts together or you may choose to use additional material for sashing and borders around each t-shirt square. The sashing and borders can provide a contrast and attractive way to divide the different t-shirt squares, but they are optional. Remember to wash the t-shirts, interfacing material, and sashing before sewing, so the colors do not bleed or spread.

The fun part is arranging the blocks and deciding the layout for your quilt. Find a large, clear space to lay down each square and play around with different layouts until you come up with the perfect look.

Finally, the sewing begins! Choose to sew either horizontally or vertically and, if you are adding sashing pieces, sew those in as you work. Sew the rows together and then add the border. The finishing touch is to layer the t-shirt quilt with backing and/or batting. Tape or pin the pieces together and either use a quilting machine or tie the layers together. Wrap it all up by binding, which holds the edges together and gives your quilt a polished look.

T-Shirt quilting is a fun, relatively easy way to use your beloved Ts. The finished product will be something in which you can take pride. But, beware—you may find friends and family asking you to take-on their t-shirt quilting projects once they see your unique masterpiece!

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