T-shirt Quilts – A Perfect Gift for Sports Moms

T-shirt Quilts – A Perfect Gift for Sports Moms

t-shirt squares

T-shirt Quilt Squares

This past week, one of my clients picked up his finished T-shirt quilt. He actually got a little choked up when he saw it. He’s a runner, participating in marathons and other long runs. This quilt represented 25 of the races that he participated in and I’m sure it brought back a lot of memories.

That got me thinking.  I can remember the sports I participated in during high school. It seems like we kids were always going somewhere to practice or compete. Until we got our driver’s licenses, our parents had to cart us around everywhere.

Even now, Dad drives to all of the grandkids sporting events.

T-Shirts from all kinds of events

But you know, sports events and teams aren’t the only times people buy T-shirts. All throughout your school years, I’ll bet you collected shirts from field trips and other special occasions.

When you think about it, T-shirts are memorabilia. I have shirts from church events, summer camps and other important occasions. Each time I wear one – if I still can, that is – it brings back a flood of memories and takes me back to that time in my life.

Don’t store your memories, display them!

I’m surprised at how many people keep t-shirts for memorabilia. Many times, these shirts are boxed up and kept in a closet. Occasionally, when the person comes across the box, he or she opens it up, pulls out the t-shirts and reminisces.

Why not keep them on display, beautifully? Turn your memories into a memory lane t-shirt quilt!

My daughter is keeping some of the cute clothes that our grandbaby wears and the two of us are going to make a “growing up” quilt for the “Bug.”

Starting a T-shirt quilt

The first steps in creating a t-shirt quilt are:

  • Gathering together all the possible quilt candidates (tee shirts)
  • Deciding on a theme for your t-shirt quilt (sports, clubs, school events, timeline, etc.)
  • Determining the size of the quilt (based on the number of shirts you want to include)
Different size logos and shirts

Different sizes can be used for a T-shirt quilt

Determining the size can be tricky because of the factors involved: the size of the largest logo and the size of the smallest tee, for example.

You need to add enough space around the logo to attach it to the inner borders. So that will determine the size of the quilt’s squares. However, small t-shirts may not have enough material surrounding the logo to get enough material.

Don’t despair, though. Sometimes the logo can be cut from the shirt and appliqued to another square of cloth.

Choosing a color scheme

Choosing a color scheme for the trim strips, borders and back are next. While the front of the quilt will be done first, it’s a good idea to at least get a good idea of the overall colors.

Unless all of your t-shirts are white, coming up with a color scheme can be a challenge. I can help; but it’s mostly a matter of personal preference.

A print often works quite well. For example, if you’re doing a timeline quilt you might find a print that has clocks or other time-related objects.

T-shirt quilt challenges

There are some very challenging concerns to crafting a t-shirt quilt. These issues happen because of:

  • The shirt material itself. Because of its stretchy nature, it tends to pucker up when quilting a square. This can happen when hand-quilting or machine sewing.
  • The method of applying the logo. Logos that are silkscreened onto the fabric are usually easy to work with. But iron-on designs present a challenge, particularly if you’re machine sewing. The needle tends to bog down and get gummy. Often, the material just won’t cooperate when trying to work it around the machine arm.
  • In most quilts, the squares can be sewn directly together. However, you really need to use fabric strips to attach the t-shirt quilt squares. This gives you a firmer, more durable stitch.

The only way that I know of to fix the puckering problem is to attach each individual square to a firmer backing, then quilt the square. However, the results aren’t always consistent and it does add extra time and effort to the process. And it’s also an additional material expense.

In most cases, it’s better not to quilt inside the squares on a t-shirt quilt. That’s how my client above and I agreed on his quilt.

Even so, a t-shirt quilt makes a beautiful gift for that mom who hauled you around to all the events you were in.

And for yourself, it’s a striking reminder of who you are and where you’ve been.

If you have any questions or would like to share your ideas on t-shirt quilts, please use the comment section below. We’d all like to hear what you have to say!

Have a “Sew Good” day,

Mary Maurer

About Mary Maurer

I'm an experienced seamstress in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Along with mending and alterations, I design and make quilts, doggie vests and clothing for all occasions. I work with clients in Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville and all over Northwest Arkansas


  1. Robin Dunnam :

    Your site is wonderful. I wanted someone to do it for me. This is for a 6 year graduating cheerleader, so there are lots of cheer logos from varsity uniforms to work in. Have a colleague who does them?

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