How-to: Quilt with the Applique Method

applique quilt There are many methods to making quilts. You can use the traditional method, the piece-together method or the applique method. Whichever way you use, a memory quilt is a great way to use up old clothes, blankets, pillow cases, and even jeans – yes, jeans – that hold sentimental value.

This post is as much about tips on sewing an applique quilt as it is a “how to.” There is no mystery to quilting but these are some helpful hints that might make your life easier if you are using the applique method. If you want to know how to use the “piece together” method, check out this t-shirt memory quilt tutorial.

Depending on how many pieces of items you have, you can determine what kind of method to use. For this quilt I made for a friend’s college bound daughter, I had to use the applique method because she didn’t have enough t-shirts for me to piece together to make it big enough. Also, she wanted me to incorporate her favorite jeans, which is easier with this method. But obviously, depending on what “memory” pieces you are working with, the look and feel of the quilt will be different.

Let’s quilt!


  • T-shirts or any garments
  • Sewing Machine
  • Coordinating threads – for basting and sewing. I used contrasting colors on some of the blocks.
  • Needle – t-shirt jersey needle #7
  • Background fabric – an old flat sheet
  • Back panel – I used organic cotton flannel. Flannel ‘grabs’ the sheet and you don’t need to ‘quilt’ the two panels together


Prepare the garments for details. Cut out the front panels of t-shirts, any parts of clothes you want to use such as graphics, ruffles, pockets, and tags. I knew I wanted to use the whole front panel of the jeans so I cut the front panel and embellished it with various cut outs from her other clothes.

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Written by Karen Lee

Karen lives a simple, frugal, green life and shares her eco tips and news on ecokaren and is a co-founder of Green Sisterhood, a network of community of green women bloggers, making change. When she's not managing Green Sisterhood or blogging on ecokaren, she is a chauffeur to two greenagers, wife to an accidental recycler, master chef to hungry locavores, seamstress, knitter, and dumpster diver, not necessarily in that order.


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  1. I have seen a lot of t-shirt quilts but never one that included jeans! Absolutely love it! I can’t wait to make one for my great niece!

  2. I want to make a Tshirt quilt without cutting the shirt up…useing applique, stablizor, batting, & backing, Any suggestions. I plan on using fabric between shirts to make quilt larger… Thanks for any input…June

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