Think Twice: Reusing Items for Double Duty

I am all about making things last around my household.  If I can turn a bunch of men’s ties into a skirt, I’m as giddy as a little kid on Christmas.  Where one might see something destined to head to the landfill, I see a plethora of craft ideas just waiting for me to get started on.

T-Shirt Quilt

My favorite double duty craft is the t-shirt quilt.  I readily admit that I love t-shirts, and I buy a lot of them at any given time, which means that I grow out of them pretty quickly.  I started saving shirts that I wasn’t going to wear anymore, and instead of chucking them out the door I collected them by theme and color.  After a few months of this, I had enough to make a quilt!  It’s super easy, and you don’t have to be a sewing master to make one.  Here’s a few quick and easy tips, and you can be making your own t-shirt quilt.

  1. Collect shirts of a common color or theme.  If they’re stained or ripped, that’s okay.
  2. Cut out an area, at least 3 inches square.  If you cut the back part of the shirt, too, then you’ve got fabric for the other side of the quilt and don’t need backing.
  3. Pin two sides of the squares together, with the design-sides facing towards each other.  Sew a straight line, at least a 1/4 inch from the edge.  Continue until all your pieces are sewn together.  Do the same for the back pieces.
  4. Sew the front and back pieces together similar to how you did the other pieces; design-sides facing the inside.  Sew three of the four edges this way, then turn it inside out.  Sew the last edge with the quilt the right-side out.  If you want to include a batting or liner, put it in between the sides before sewing.

Now you have a finished quilt!  There are lots of little embellishments you can make on your quilt once you’re done, which make it even more personalized.  Not only do you have a great, comfy quilt where before you had a pile of shirts, but you saved those shirts from being thrown into the garbage.

[Image credit: LadyKat at Flickr]

Written by Lenore MacLeod-Bickley

Lenore is a 25 year old artist in Northern Idaho. She has a husband, two cats, and a whole room devoted to arts and crafts. She's dedicated to using art to tell a story.


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  1. These make GREAT gifts as well, especially after graduating from high school, or themed in sports from that state…there are so many ways you can go with it!

  2. The thing I like the most about this is that you don’t have to say goodbye to all those old T-shirts you love. You know, the ones that have a few holes in the armpits – the ones your family won’t let you wear them anymore 😉

  3. My husband’s a runner so I made a t-shirt quilt with a lot of his running ts in it. It started as a picnic blanket but I needed an extra blanket for our bed during a cold snap while I was making it and nded up making it to fit our king size bed!

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