The process of making a t-shirt quilt is intensive. The first step was gathering all of our t-shirts we might use and getting their measurements. To design a quilt, you need about 3 different measurements of each of your shirts, to make this process easier we made a Google form that took all the information we needed. We collected each shirts color, art type, art size, smallest possible size, and largest possible size.
I then moved all of that information inside an Indesign file, each shirt being a different shape with it’s information printed in it, I then manually made each square the appropriate color. I then spent several days or weeks (unsure which) moving the shirts around until we had a working design to start with.
I then cut each shirt to size, ironed on a backing to keep the cut t-shirts from rolling up and being impossible to sew.
After cutting and backing each piece, I started the process of pinning them together. I pinned each row together, then laid them all out together and checked my work. During this process several shirts got shifted to create a better look.
The final quilt has 36 different t-shirts that belonged to Daniel or myself. Joining together decades of life through the t-shirts we had outgrown, worn out, etc.
After I had each row pinned and together exactly the way we wanted Daniel spent a few nights on our sewing machine stitching the top together. Daniel is much more comfortable with a sewing machine than I am since he grew up in his parents upholstery shop.
At this point we picked out our backing, since we’re calling this our wedding quilt, we decided to use a polka dotted material in a light blue/teal that matches our wedding colors. We also bought a really nice thick batting, making this a solid winter quilt that only needs stitching every 6″.
Now we needed a bigger space so we could pin the backing, batting, and top together, so we took everything to my parents house to use their big dining room table. We used every pin we had bought and and every pin Mom had in the house.
We then packed it back up and took it home to start the long process of hand stitching each t-shirt. It’s impossible to stitch on this quilt in the summer because it’s too hot, so it’s a winter only project.
When we finally complete the hand stitching we’ll add the trim with the sewing machine and our quilt will finally be complete.
January of 2018 I started quilting 30 minutes each day to try to finish the quilt this winter, hopefully I will be able to stick to that until it gets warm so next winter we will have this new quilt to sleep under.
We currently have 14 shirts completely hand sewn, 2 in process, and one (mustaches) I’m going back and forth too because it’s a pain to stitch.