A T-Shirt Quilt

I love T-shirt quilts! I love that they recycle not only the shirts, but the memories as well. What a great gift to receive - every shirt holds a memory you can wrap up in! This quilt was made by my friend Margaret for her Grandson, Kyle. (It's a Christmas surprise, so don't tell!)
This is the bulk of it. It was so huge, I couldn't get back far enough to get it all in one shot! As happens with T-Shirts, the sayings and motifs are not all the same size. You can see how she framed the smaller ones with their own sashing, but not all the same fabric from shirt to shirt. I like this a lot. It adds some color and interest to all these mostly black and white shirts! She also used some on their side to get them to fit. She took a lot of time to get this all to fit together just so!
This is a fun shirt. It is Kyle's senior shirt from high school. Margaret added a star button by his name!
Here's a closer view.
This is the best block of the quilt! In the middle, sort of like a medallion, she has sewn on one of Kyle's little boy shirts. You can see it has a rip right across the front. The story goes, Kyle was wearing this on the first day of kindergarten (a shirt Grandma Margaret made him!) when he decided to get in the car and drive himself there. He somehow got the car in gear and it rolled down the hill. It wasn't a huge crash, but the firemen came to extract him from the car, tearing the shirt in the process. Grandma saved that shirt all these years. I would love to see Kyle's expression when he sees it in this quilt!

Another neat thing Margaret did is save his hand prints. She appliqued them on and embroidered the age of each. I have prints from my kids, but not multiple years like this. Wish I did!
It seemed like I took a million pictures the day Margaret showed this to me, but I wish I had taken more! There are thousands of stories and even more memories for both Kyle and Margaret stitched up in this quilt - truly a labor of love!

If you know of a clever T-shirt quilt, please post a link in the comments! I'd love to see it!


  1. this is my puffin tshirt quilt...the colors were better than the picture


  2. What do you use for backing of your t-shirt ????

  3. Mary, I've never made a T-shirt quilt. Maybe someone can post what they use?

  4. I am friends with Margaret, and she is an amazing woman. I also quilt and we have lots of fun scouting out the quilt shops and helping each other. This is just one of her long line of beautiful quilts. I know Kyle with treasure it.

    Nancy S.

  5. I made one for my aunts, but the photo isn't great. Hoping to get a better one soon! http://elle-mental.blogspot.com/2011/12/its-pinned-and-placemat.html?m=1
    I began by cutting the front from the back and using fusible interfacing on the back of all the t-shirts and then drew lines and sewed the sashing BEFORE cutting them up. I took a class from Laura Kingsland, who has a really great book showing her technique, which I highly recommend. http://www.laurenkingsland.com/
    I'll be making several t-shirt quilts for my fiancée in the coming months, and I'll be sure to blog about them!

  6. Oh, and Mary, I just used a regular back (a Robert Kaufman Fusions fabric with a row of batik piano keys to echo borders that you can barely see in my pic. It makes a heavy quilt because of the t-shirt and interfacing, so I used a lightweight batting, but it was still a bear to get through my machine (it was a huge full...18 inch drop plus pillow tuck.). I think a regular quilting cotton works well.

  7. "Miss Margaret" (as I've called her since I was a wee thing) and her mother, "Grandmother Tucker always sewed much love and memories in each quilt they ever made. The grandkids are so blessed to have heirloom keepsakes made with their gifted hands. I know Kyle will treasure his special T-Shirt quilt always.

    Blessings to all,
    Connie Jo Donahoo (Havens)

  8. Hi, I just stumbled across your site...having a lot of fun looking through it! I just came to this part of it and had a question. I see you must have kept tracings of your son's hands through the years. I have two teenagers and a 21 month old. On every birthday I traced a foot and a hand thinking that some day I might be creative enough to make a quilt for each of them....some sort of design...I DID miss a couple birthdays later on. I was planning to do it til they were 18..then realized their hands weren't really changing much so thought---maybe til 16? That is where I ended up missing a tracing or two....being INDECISIVE!! What did you find worked best? I'll be doing this for 3rd time....Maybe every hand/foot print isn't necessary? Not sure.



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