Over the years, as my kids have grown, a sizeable collection of Disney T-shirts has accumulated. They’re shirts that no longer fit, but I’ve kept them because the artwork is fabulous and I have a sentimental attachment to them. In order to retain the cherished memories and colorful art, without simply hoarding the old shirts, I elected to make a blanket from them.
This is how I did it:
After gathering clean shirts to use, calculate dimensions for the blanket squares and for the blanket itself. Look over the chosen pieces and decide what size of square will work best. I opted for 12-inch blocks for mine. I found that most of the designs fit nicely inside the 12 x 12 shape and 12 seemed like an easy number to work with throughout the project.
I decided on a 48″ x 60″ quilt, requiring 20 shirts to complete the blanket top.
Grab your stack of shirts and begin deconstruction. Start on either side of your shirt and cut from the bottom hemline all the way to the arm pit. Then cut around the sleeve next to the seam, across the top at the shoulder and around the neckline. Continue cutting down the opposite side to the bottom of the shirt. (Click on the photo for a larger version. Use your browser’s back button to return to this post.) Proceed with the remaining shirts.
T-shirt material is flimsy and stretchy. This makes it hard to work with as a blanket fabric. A medium- or light-weight fusible interface will help make the squares more stable and easier to sew together.
Cut the interface into sections slightly larger than your desired quilt piece size. For me, this meant…sections a bit larger than 13 in² (12 inch quilt blocks plus ½ inch seam allowance per edge).
Iron the interface onto the back of your shirt design. Make sure you line it up properly with the artwork.
Once the fabric has been reinforced, cut your quilt squares taking care to center the art inside the square. Next, determine an arrangement for them.
When I reached this point in my project, I realized that I wanted to add a few shirts that had designs larger than the 12-inch square restriction, so I figured in an additional column of longer blocks in the center of my blanket.
I laid my squares out on my bed to find an appealing and balanced design. Once I decide on a suitable arrangement, I photograph it for reference because chances are, a kid or pet will be drawn to the project and rearrange the squares somehow. It’s good to have a record of the chosen pattern once you come up with one that you like.
Next, sew your squares into strips. I get excited when I get to this point. You really start to notice the transformation now. What was once an annoying pile of excess, is becoming a beautiful, useful treasure.
And when all of your strips are constructed, you sew them together to form your completed blanket top. Now you’re ready to assemble your blanket.
There are numerous ways to construct a quilt. Use whichever method you’re most comfortable with. I like a flannel-backed, yarn-tied comforter, so that’s the method I chose. I found an adorable Mickey and Minnie print flannel and I used a hi-loft batting. My blanket is perfect and I love it!
I’m so happy to have this project finally completed. My new blanket is one of my most treasured possessions. It was so simple to make that I’m inclined to make another. If I can gather enough cool T-shirts, I will!