How to Make a T-Shirt Quilt (Rag Style)

When I first saw the idea of a T-shirt quilt online, I loved it! I immediately started collecting T-shirts to use to make my own one day. It took a few years, but I finally had enough to make an awesome quilt full of memories.

This T-shirt quilt is done in rag style, meaning that the seams are exposed. I’ll write about the other kind later.

Materials Needed

old T-shirts

fusible interfacing (optional)

square rulers

rotary cutter

cutting mat

matching (or not) thread

ballpoint needle

regular needle

denim needle

Cutting and Making the Squares

Cut the T-shirts into squares. Most T-shirts can be cut using a 12.5″ ruler. Since my quilt includes lots of baby clothes, I cut them using the 6.5″ ruler and put 4 together to make a larger square (right sides sewn together). Don’t forget to press open the seams before proceeding.

If you’re using interfacing, cut it to 12.5″ and iron it onto the back of the squares. It’s especially helpful if you’re using older or very stretchy fabrics, or if you want a thicker quilt.

Cut more fabric to use for the backs of the squares. The backs don’t have to match and can be made of almost anything: the back of the T-shirt that doesn’t have the design, an ugly piece of fabric you don’t like much, etc. It doesn’t matter if it’s woven or knit fabric.

Sew the 2 (or 3, with interfacing) layers together. For most designs, I use an X. With 4 smaller squares, I sew in the seams to make a +. I usually use black or white thread to keep things simple. With interfacing, I prefer a regular needle, but with just T-shirt fabric, a ballpoint needle is better.

Designing the Quilt

Make sure you have enough squares for how big your quilt will be.

  • Crib: 4X5 squares
  • Twin: 7X8 squares
  • Queen: 8X9 squares
  • King: 11X11 squares
  • Note: These figures are based on standard blanket sizes divided by 12″.

Design your quilt by laying the squares out on the floor or another large surface. Unlike with denim quilts, almost every square will be different, so you can’t just put it in a spreadsheet.

Arrange the squares in rows and tie them together, marking each row so they don’t get mixed up.

Sewing it Together

Sew rows by putting 2 squares with the wrong sides together. (You want the seams to show!) Snip the exposed fabric every inch, being careful not to snip the thread.

Sew rows to each other by pinning wrong sides together. Open them up and snip the fabric every inch. It’s tedious, but it really helps the fabric fray.

When all the rows are sewn together. you’re almost done! Trim around the edges if there are any rows or columns that don’t line up exactly.

Sew around the perimeter of the quilt and snip every inch. There’s no back to put on since each square already has its own!

Wash the quilt so the seams and edges fray. Woven fabrics will fray better than knits, but the snipping makes the edges look cool anyway.

The Finished Product

Enjoy your T-shirt quilt any time of year! Use it alone or layer it with another blanket for colder months.

If you’re looking for a jean quilt, I have instructions here.

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