Saturday, March 3, 2012

T-shirts recycled into a quilt

A couple of years ago I returned to my home country after a few years spent living abroad. My parents had patiently stored my clothes, books and other miscellaneous possessions all the time I gallivanted around with nothing but a rucksack. Upon my return I was told in no uncertain terms that now was the time to 'sort it out'. I discovered that majority of the clothes I had stored away either did not fit me or were too scratty to wear any more. 

Oh this was sad.

Many of them were clothes I'd had since college and had sentimental value. Because of this and because they were too worn to give to a charity shop I decided to cut them up and make a quilt. A good thing about old, worn clothes is that they are lovely and soft. I homed in on the softer of the clothes, t-shirts, pants (waste nothing!), and some cord trousers.

The process of making a square.

I cut some 20cm/20cm squares out of an old sheet. T-shirts are made of stretchy material and to stop them warping when sewn together I thought it best to sew them onto a non-stretchy fabric, such as this cotton sheet.

I randomly sliced up the clothes. I cut strips out of some, I carefully cut around any pictures or slogans on others. I arranged the scraps onto the sheet squares and pinned them down. Then I zig-zagged the scraps down using a sewing machine.

Altogether I made 24 squares. I cut long strips out off another sheet and sewed it to the squares as a border, gradually joining all the squares together.

The squares were so soft I decided to use a piece of fleece for the backing of the quilt, no filling. I pinned the front of the quilt (with the squares) to the fleece and then hand-quilted it with a simple running stitch before sewing up the edges using a sewing machine again.

A collage of the finished quilt with some close-ups of panels.


  1. Can you clarify more on using the long strips from the sheet to use as a border? I'm confused on how that worked.
    Did you cut six long strips, sew all of the squares to it on a vertical side? And add on the next vertical line of squares?
    And then cut more long strips from the sheet and do the same on the squares' horizontal edges?

    1. Hi. I will attempt to explain. I cut the sheet into strips, some long, some short. The short ones I used to make each row of squares. I sewed a strip to one side of a square, then sewed the next square to this strip by placing the second square face down onto the strip before sewing. Does that make sense? Then when I had a row of squares with strip in between each one I sewed the row to a long strip of sheet.

      Do you know what I mean? Maybe I need to do a more detailed blog post on this technique.


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