I had been collecting t-shirts to make a quilt for about a year and a half. As an American college student, I receive so many t-shirts for events and clubs every semester. I also already had a crap ton from high school and before. Well, many t-shirts hold memories and so I didn't want to donate them ALL to Goodwill. Hence the t-shirt quilt plan.
Well, I got on Pinterest like a good little girl and looked for patterns. The thing is, I'm super lazy and hate measuring. Plus, our sewing machine is busted. That certainly narrowed my search terms. I started looking for rag quilt ideas, but didn't really see a whole lot. On the ones I saw, people kept talking about quilt batting, and I had no idea what quilt batting was. Now I know (it's this cottony stuff you put between your quilting squares).
My friend Catie had given me an idea earlier this summer about just cutting off the sleeves and neck of the shirt and filling it with cotton (I bought polyfill) and then sewing the top and bottom. Well, that's what I was going to try to do, but, like I said, my sewing machine is busted. I ended up adapting Catie's idea and the rag quilt idea I saw and created my own random pattern.
I've been knitting for a while, but I still haven't learned how to follow a knitting pattern. Maybe I don't like following patterns or something. Anyway, I just improvised and it's turned out well for me so far.
This is super simple and anyone can follow it. I've never quilted in my life, but it still looks like a blanket. Think of this not as a pattern, but loose guidelines to get you started.
Here's what you need:
A bag of Poly-fil or another brand (it's the stuff you put in pillows and stuffed animals)
Things that are helpful:
A surface for cutting
Pins for when the t-shirt moves on you
Cut the shirt. What I did is cut based on the pattern that is on the front or back of the shirt. Therefore, the quilt squares are all different sizes. Just cut the sleeves, collar, and bottom off the shirt.
You should now have two squares. Make sure the squares are lined up and then cut strips along each edge. Once you have a side done, tie at least pair of strips together so that the squares stay together and the stuffing will pretty much stay in that square.
This first shirt will be the top corner of your quilt. Tie the top side strips together and one of the side strips.
Repeat steps one and two with another shirt.
Tie the strips of the new shirt with the bottom or side strips of the first shirt. It's best to do the front strips with the front strips and the back strips with the back strips. I usually tie going downwards and then start a new row on by tying on the left
Continue this process until you're out of shirts or it's big enough!
As you can see the squares aren't all the same size. I just kind of eyeball it to make sure that they're going to fit nicely. When I had an issue, I just used some scrap from a t-shirt to make a mini square to fit it in.
Well, there you have it! A no-pattern, way to make a t-shirt quilt. It takes a long time, but I've been doing it while watching movies or episodes of Buffy. It's a long term project, but very low stress.
I don't have a final photo yet, because I'm not done. I'll do a follow up post or just edit this one with a final result. Please post any questions you may have, because I'm sure I wasn't always clear.