How to make a t-shirt quilt – with Marie Osmond

Most everyone knows Marie Osmond as a veteran entertainer. But did you know that she’s a seasoned sewist as well? She first learned simple hand sewing and cross-stitching as a preschooler while touring with her performing brothers. Marie says she could sew on a button almost before she could button up her own coat! She even helped her mother—an enthusiastic quilter whose sewing machine rarely cooled down—make a quilt for her dolls at the age of five (above). Marie’s mom showed her how to choose fabrics and cut out squares.

When it comes to quilting and sewing for others, it’s easy to agree with Marie’s philosophy—the memories we make are what matters. Her book, Marie Osmond’s Heartfelt Giving, is filled with sewing and quilting projects perfect for gift giving. In honor of two upcoming opportunities to make your own memories—Mother’s Day and graduation day—we’re giving away a free pattern from Marie for how to make a t-shirt quilt, as well as giving you a very special offer on her inspiring book.

First, the free pattern! If someone you love has a collection of t-shirts they just can’t part with—perhaps someone who’s graduating soon?—stitch a one-of-a-kind memory with Marie’s t-shirt quilt pattern. This quick design will show you how easy it is to make a t-shirt quilt, and you can use up to 15 different shirts in your design. Find the t-shirt quilt how-to below.

And now, the very special offer. Today, get Marie’s book for only $9.99—plus, be one of the first 100 customers to purchase her book and you’ll receive an autographed copy! Find the perfect gift to stitch for a mom, grandma, daughter, or any super-mom you want to thank (or, give the book!) just in time for Mother’s Day. The book retails for $26.99 and will revert back to its original price on Saturday, April 28, 2012. Grab your autographed copy of Marie’s beautiful hardcover, spiral-bound book while supplies last!

Here are some of Marie’s fun, feminine designs from the book (23 patterns in all; click to view a slideshow):

Now, let’s learn how to make a t-shirt quilt with Marie!

Free Quilt Pattern: T-Shirt Memories Quilt

from the book Marie Osmond’s Heartfelt Giving.
You can also download the pattern for your personal use.

Quilt Size
84″ x 98″

Yardage is based on 42″-wide fabric.

  • 15 favorite T-shirts, with design area measuring 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″
  • 3 1/4 yards of blue-and-green print for blocks and outer border
  • 2 1/8 yards of blue chambray for sashing and inner border
  • 2/3 yard of tan flannel for blocks
  • 5/8 yard of blue flannel for block centers
  • 3/4 yard of green print for binding
  • 7 1/2 yards of backing fabric
  • 88″ x 102″ piece of batting
  • 5 yards of 17″-wide lightweight fusible interfacing

TIP: Preventing puckering
Be sure to prewash your fabrics. The T-shirts will most likely have been washed many times and won’t shrink. But flannel tends to shrink quite a bit the first time it’s washed. So to avoid a puckered quilt, wash all of the fabrics before cutting and sewing.

All measurements include 1/4″ -wide seam allowances.

From the blue flannel, cut:

  • 15 squares, 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″

From the tan flannel, cut:

  • 60 squares, 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″

From the blue-and-green print, cut:

  • 10 strips, 3 1/2″ x 42″; crosscut into 60 rectangles, 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″
  • 11 strips, 6 1/2″ x 42″

From the blue chambray, cut:

  • 8 strips, 2 1/2″ x 42″; crosscut into 24 sashing strips, 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″
  • 19 strips, 2 1/2″ x 42″

From the green print, cut:

  • 9 binding strips, 2½" x 42″

From the interfacing, cut:

  • 15 squares, 13″ x 13″

Preparing the T-Shirts
1. Carefully cut the front of each T-shirt away from the back and sleeves along the sides. Most T-shirts don’t have side seams, so lay the shirts flat and cut with a pair of scissors along the folds at the sides.

2. Lay each square on your ironing board, right side down, and smooth it out. Iron out any wrinkles, and then fuse a square of lightweight interfacing to the wrong side of the T-shirt, centering it over any design.

3. Use your rotary cutter and ruler to cut a 12 1/2″ square from each of the prepared T-shirts.

Making the Patchwork Blocks
1. Sew a 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ blue-and-green rectangle to opposite sides of each blue flannel square. Press the seam allowances toward the rectangles. Make 15.

2. Sew a 3 1/2″ tan flannel square to both ends of each remaining blue-and-green rectangle. Press the seam allowances toward the rectangles. Make 30.

3. Sew the units from step 2 to the top and bottom of the units from step 1 to make 15 blocks (fig. A).

Assembling the Quilt Top
1. Lay out the prepared T-shirt squares and the patchwork blocks in six rows of five blocks each. Alternate the patchwork and T-shirt blocks, rearranging the T-shirts until you’re satisfied with the layout.

2. Place a 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ strip of blue chambray vertically between the blocks in each row. Sew the blocks and strips together in rows. Press all seam allowances toward the chambray strips (fig. B).

3. Sew the 42″-long strips of blue chambray together in pairs to make nine long strips. Trim seven of these strips to 68 1/2″ long, the same length as your block rows. Sew a strip to the top of each block row. Then sew the rows together. Add the remaining 68 1/2″ chambray strip to the bottom of the quilt top. Press all seam allowances toward the chambray strips (fig. C).

4. You should have two long chambray strips left. Cut the remaining 42″-long chambray strip in half and sew one piece to each of the remaining long strips. Trim these to the length of your quilt top, which should be 86 1/2″. Sew them to the sides of the quilt top.

5. Sew the 6 1/2″-wide blue-and-green print strips together in four pairs. Cut two of the remaining 6 1/2″ strips in half and sew a half strip to each long pair of strips. Trim two of these strips to 86 1/2″ and sew them to the sides of the quilt top. Press. Cut the remaining single blue-and-green strip in half and add a half strip to each of the remaining long blue-and-green strips. Measure the width of the quilt top (it should be 84 1/2″) and trim the long border strips to this length. Sew them to the top and bottom of the quilt top. Press.

Finishing the Quilt
1. Cut the backing fabric into three equal-length pieces. Remove the selvages and sew the pieces together side by side. Press the seam allowances to one side.

2. Layer the backing fabric, batting, and quilt top. Baste the layers together. For details, refer to Making a Quilt Sandwich on our How to Quilt page.

3. Quilt as desired. Or, take the backing and quilt top to your favorite long-arm machine quilter. To go with the sports theme of the T-shirts used in this quilt, my quilter stitched baseballs and basketballs in the blue flannel squares.

3. Trim and square up the quilt, removing all excess batting and backing fabric. Use the 2 1/2″-wide green print strips to make and attach double-fold quilt binding. For details, refer to Binding a Quilt on our How to Quilt page.

Get your autographed copy of Marie Osmond’s Heartfelt Giving now, while supplies last—only $9.99 through April 27!

10 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I made T-Shirt quilts for both my boys for high school graduation and they love them. Little did they know I was squirreling away their shirts through all those years of vacations, Little League, soccer and basketball. I also used flannel scraps from pajamas I made when they were little, and flannel for the backing–boy are those quilts heavy and warm! Making those quilts helped me get through many a worrisome night waiting for them to come home from senior events–helped me remember what sweet little boys they were before they started cutting the apron strings! 🙂

    —Mary B on April 20, 2012
  • I love the simple yet nice use of the t-shirts for this quilt. Thanks Marie

    —Cathie in Ut on April 20, 2012
  • Neat quilt and wonderful book review! I had some of my son-in-law’s T-shirts that I need to make into a quilt!

    Connie Campbell on April 20, 2012
  • I have some concert shirts that might be good for this. 🙂

    —Shannon Browning on July 5, 2012
  • I started to collect all my son’s Marine t-shirts so that I can make him one and I am offsetting it with some Marine Fabric that I got at Walmart.

    —Very Proud Marine Mom on July 7, 2012
  • hello!,I really like your writing very much! proportion we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your article on AOL? I require an expert in this house to solve my problem. Maybe that is you! Taking a look forward to look you.

    sewing machine ratings on September 10, 2012
  • Thank you for the detailed instructions, they are really easy to follow.

    Danielle on September 19, 2012
  • I was recently asked, "How can I make my collection of t-shirts into a quilt?", by a young lady who has saved a large number of them, and who will soon graduate from university. I will definitely tell her about this pattern. I don’t think she has done much sewing and this pattern should be easy for her to follow.

    —Wayne Washington on February 26, 2014
  • A few years ago, I made a surprise quilt for a fireman. There were GREAT fireman fabrics to use in the design. In the blocks, we used the college shirts, old fireman jackets, patches, suspenders, t shirts, etc. I machine embroidered college graduation dates, used his children’s photos (hot transfers) and embroidered their names. It was a history quilt. When he got it as a Christmas gift from his wife, he cried. It was such an exciting and fulfilling project. I prefer to use a cotton backing behind the T shirt blocks to give some stablization.

    —Sheila on April 15, 2014
  • I made a t-shirt quilt. It has lots of memories in each square – not only of the places we’ve been but of my daughters wearing them. 🙂

    —Wilma on April 16, 2014

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