How to Make a Tied T-Shirt Quilt

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I love quilts made from old clothes. I’ve already talked about denim quilts and rag quilts from T-shirts. Today, I’m sharing another way to make T-shirt quilts. This is the quilt for you if you’d like a more classic look with ties and clean seams. I made my first tied T-shirt quilt several years ago, and it’s holding up really well.

Materials Needed

old T-shirts

fusible interfacing (optional)

square rulers

rotary cutter

cutting mat

matching (or not) thread

ballpoint needle

regular needle

denim needle

flat sheet to use for the back, one or two sizes up from the blanket size you’re making

1/8″ grosgrain ribbon

Cutting and Designing

Cut the T-shirts into squares. Most T-shirts can be cut using a 12.5″ ruler. Since my quilt includes some baby clothes, I cut them using the 6.5″ ruler and put 4 together to make a larger square (right sides sewn together). Make sure to press the seams open before continuing.

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.

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.

Sewing it Together

Sew rows by holding two squares right sides together. Open up. Repeat until you reach the end of the row.

Pin one row on top of another, right sides together. Sew, unfold, and repeat.

Lay out the quilt and trim around the edges to make an even rectangle. The rows won’t match up perfectly since no squares you cut will be perfect, but that’s okay. Make them even now! (Even with more precise cutting methods, my squares never line up perfectly, but they are better than they used to be.)

Lay a sheet or other back right side to the floor/table. Lay the quilt on top. Trim a border, leaving a couple of inches on each side. I leave 4 so I can have a wide border. You need two sheet sizes up to have one big enough, and use a flat sheet, not a fitted one. (For a twin quilt, use a queen flat sheet, etc.)

Tie the quilt. I do every other square with grosgrain ribbon since it won’t fray. A pair of pliers and a canvas needle can be helpful in getting through thick layers.

Fold the back of the quilt (sheet) over the front twice, pin, and sew around all edges. Trim any stray threads.

Congratulations: your tied T-shirt quilt is complete! I originally made this one as a snuggly blanket for the couch, but my daughter has now claimed it as her own.

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