t-shirt-quilt-instructions / patchwork posse
quilting Becky  

Quilting a T-Shirt Quilt Instructions and Hints

Lately there has been a few clothes and t-shirt quilts hanging out in the sewing cottage.  Sewing with clothes, t-shirts and other pieces of clothing can be tricky.  If you don’t get it all just right, there will be problems- broken needles, threads, missed seams, stretching, shrinking, bunching…the whole nine yards!  {I am thinking that I have ran into all the problems– maybe I’ll get it right sometime!}  These quilts even included sweaters, socks and hats!

t-shirt-quilt-instructions / patchwork posse

Here are some quick hints to help you out when sewing t-shirts and clothes in your quilts:

  • Interface everything that is not made with cotton.  Everything has a stretch to it and the interfacing keeps it all in check.  Keeping your blocks to the right size is important if you want to end up with a non-wavy quilt in the end.
  • Cut the clothes apart before applying the interfacing.  Open the clothes at the seams – you will get better yardage and use from the fabric this way.
  • Check your seams after you have sewn the block.  Make sure you are sewing through all the layers and not just the interfacing.  Skipped stitches also might sneak in there.  Do a quick once over and run another stitch over the seam if needed.  Better now than later!
  • When choosing a quilt block to sew, keep it simple.  The less seams and especially points the better.  The easier quilt blocks I have found were the larger in size ones.  Log cabin, a simple star.  You can try co-ordinating the blocks but an over all scrappy look is the easiest when sewing with clothes.  You might find yourself short on one color at the very end {that is so frustrating, trust me!}


Hints and Tips for Quilting your t-shirt quilt or clothes quilt

  • Use a larger needle when quilting.  I quilted the quilts using a 100/16 needle size.  There is a lot of fabric and interfacing going on in that clothes quilt, and that needle needs to make it through all of those thick layers.
  • Avoid seams and points at all costs!  This is a big spot for massive problems.  A ton of fabric is joining up along those seams and at the points.  They are definitly the spots you need to avoid when quilting.  Running over those points are the worst and your machine will be very angry if you hit them wrong.
  • Quilt with a simple and easy design.  I recommend using an all over pattern so you can control where you quilt- missing those trouble spots for sure.


These two quilts are around 45″ square – baby sized.  They are for some little kiddos that will be arriving in the future and will know their grandma by the quilts made from her clothes.  These were sewn using the leftover bits from these other t-shirt quilts and sewn by Janna {my favorite aunt of course}.

Have you sewn quilts using t-shirt, clothes and leftover bits?  Have any other tips and hints when using them in quilts?  Leave a comment below-


2 thoughts on “Quilting a T-Shirt Quilt Instructions and Hints

  1. Donna

    You have read my mind!! I have saved all my daughter’s clothes (she’s 6 months old) and I have wanted to do a non-traditional T-shirt quilt and these tips & those pictures are just what I needed!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for posting this!

  2. Sandi Parrott

    What thread should you use on a t-shirt quilt, quilted on a longarm?

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