Life Stuff

DIY T-Shirt Blanket/Quilt

This post is for my friend Carolyn who has an awesome blog — Small Town Revelations (also, this has since changed to Life with Lyn)–which you should totally check out.

One of my 25 Things To Do Before 26 was to make my second t-shirt blanket. I made the first one when I was in college. I started the blanket by myself but didn’t have time to finish the whole thing by myself/didn’t have my own sewing machine so I paid somebody to finish it for me. I started my second one right before I graduated college and never finished it. And it has some of my ex-boyfriend-from-2007’s t-shirts on it (awkward…) so I had to sacrifice the t-shirts that were in that blanket and send it to the Goodwill. Unfinished. Hope they know what to do with it…

SO…now we’re here. And I’ve finished my second t-shirt blanket. And since I got a couple of questions regarding how we did it…I decided to post this!

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Supplies I Used:

Old t-shirts (no telling how many!)
Lightweight fusible interfacing
Backing fabric
Sewing pins
Safety pins
Sewing Machine
Scissors
Sewing Needle and any color thread you’d like
A LARGE work area

It all started when I realized I have WAY TO MANY CLOTHES. That includes t-shirts.

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I went through all of my t-shirts and decided which ones I wanted to keep and which ones I wanted to give away. Boone did the same with his shirts and we spent one evening watching Psych and cutting our t-shirts up! Some websites with DIY Tutorials will tell you to cut them into perfect squares but I really like the look of random sized squares and rectangles so I did not do that step. I just cut whichever part of the shirt that I wanted to use and if it was an extra-soft vintagey t-shirt, I would cut extra plain fabric just in case I needed to fill in a space somewhere.

After we finished cutting our t-shirts we separated them into similar sized squares/rectangles. Here some DIY will tell you to use Lightweight fusible interfacing for each t-shirt. I go back and forth with this one. I didn’t use it on the t-shirt blanket that I most recently made. And I’m not sure if the person who finished my first blanket used it or not. The only pro to using the interfacing is that your t-shirts will not scrunch as much while you’re sewing them.

Like I said, I did not use the interfacing on each t-shirt. So the next step in the blanket-making process for us was to decide how to begin laying out the shirts for our quilt.

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It’s basically like a puzzle. Put the shirts however you want! I knew that since this was my first time making a t-shirt quilt, it would not be perfect. Since I knew that going in, I wasn’t really that upset if something didn’t sew exactly correctly or if I sewed a t-shirt too much so that some of the design was cut off. Basically, to start sewing the t-shirts together you ALWAYS PUT THE PRETTY SIDES TOGETHER. Figure out which way to fold them and along which side you want them sewn and then put the pretty sides together and sew! Here’s where the whole not-using-lightweight-interfacing comes into play. Since I did not use it, you can see (especially on the world’s fair shirt) that there are some wrinkles, and that it doesn’t lay perfectly flat. But here’s the thing…when are you ever going to lay your t-shirt blanket out perfectly flat for people to see? Besides maybe to take a picture of it when it’s done? So again, even though I’m pretty OCD about those kinds of things…it didn’t bother me.

The hard part comes when you have to start sewing each individual row to another row. Make sure to pin the rows together so that they don’t come apart as you are sewing. My fiancé helped me with that a LOT. He even sewed some of the blanket all by himself without me knowing! And he did a fantastic job! I was pleasantly surprised. Again reminding me that I’ve got a good guy :D

IMG_2247After you’ve sewn all your t-shirts together, you’ve completed your t-shirt quilt top it’s time for the next step — the backing!

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Our t-shirt blanket is huge…do not feel the need to create a monster like we did. Seriously, we could’ve made two twin-sized blankets with the amount of t-shirts we had. But we didn’t. And it was difficult.

So for this part you’re going to need some quilting interfacing. I used polyester lightweight fusible interfacing. You’ll also need whatever backing fabric you will want to use. I just got some dollar fabric from Wal*mart….as much as I hate that store. You’ll have to measure the size that your quilt is because as I said above, our quilt was ridiculously huge. What we decided to do is sew the backing fabric together first. We put the fabric onto the t-shirts to measure it. Then we cut the fabric and sewed it together. After the backing fabric was the right size, we cut the lightweight fusible interfacing to size. Then…

1. Place the lightweight fusible interfacing on the ground (or whatever surface you are working on)
2. Lay the t-shirt quilt top face up. (all the pretty sides facing the ceiling)

Use safety pins and pin these two layers together. Don’t pin too close to the edges though because then it’s difficult to sew the edges around them. It’s okay that the safety pins will still be doing their safety-thing because you’re going to turn the blanket inside out when you’re done.

After you’re done safety pinning your little heart out, place the backing fabric pretty side down. In other words, the pretty side of the backing fabric should be kissing the pretty side of the t-shirts. After you’ve done this, you can use your sewing pins along the edges of the blanket.

Slowly and carefully, pick up the blanket and head over to the sewing machine. Boone had to help me a lot with this since our blanket was so big. Basically, sew three of the sides completely closed. Sew as straight as you can. But as I’ve said before, I knew this wasn’t going to be a perfect project so I wasn’t too upset if it wasn’t perfectly straight. As you start to sew the last side, sew all but…eight to ten inches. When all you’re left with is these eight to ten inches, grab the inside of the blanket and start pulling it right side out.

You’ll want to close up the hole you pulled the blanket through and I wasn’t entirely sure how to do this so I just hand-sewed it. I looked up instructions for an invisible seam and used this tutorial to figure out how to do a slip stitch seam. It took me a few tries, again it’s not perfect, but I made it!

The last step is to start sewing little knots that will ultimately go through all three layers. This is a little bit difficult to explain but basically the point of the knots all over the blanket is to prevent the interfacing from moving around. The best example I can use is if you’ve ever had a duvet, you know if the feather quilt inside is not tied to the four corners of the duvet, it’ll move around all over the place and get really annoying and uncomfortable. So basically, you’ll just choose random places on the blanket, use your sewing needle and thread, and insert the needle into the front of the t-shirt quilt top, through the middle and bottom layer, and back up through the quilt top. Cut the strand of yarn and tie double knot.

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Do those instructions make sense? It’ll ultimately look something like this…

Once you’re finished tying all the knots–well, all the knots your ready to tie….–you’re pretty much done! I double checked for any random holes that I missed when I sewed the t-shirts together and there were a couple so I hand-sewed those together to be sure I wouldn’t accidentally rip them somewhere.

Cuddling under the t-shirt blanket and watching Sherlock Holmes!
Cuddling under the t-shirt blanket and watching Sherlock Holmes!

This is a super long DIY so I’m sorry about that. But hopefully you don’t have to go to multiple tutorial sites to finish your blanket like I did.

Questions?! Comment below and I shall do my best.

Until next time, fellow BFs!

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