T-shirt Quilt Preparation Tips

May 5, 2015


Tips and Tutorials Tuesday at Late Night Quilter

Welcome back to Tips and Tutorials Tuesdays!

 We had so many great bloggers link up their tips in last week’s post.  Did you see Quilting Jetgirl’s video on how she temporarily hangs her quilts to get perfect photographs?  And how about My Carolina Home’s 2015 Scrap Dance Mystery Quilt Along – it’s not too late to jump in if you need a well-guided, fun scrap project.

Don’t forget to scroll down and see what new tips and tutorials the blogosphere has to offer this week!

We’ve had several questions lately on our Late Night Quilters Facebook group about the process behind making t-shirt quilts, so it was easy to decide on a topic to share with you for our tip this week:

How to stabilize your t-shirts before attempting a T-Shirt Quilt!

Over the past year (which I shall call the biggest year of t-shirt quilting in my life) I’ve learned the importance of properly stabilizing and prepping your materials for t-shirt quilts.

Stephanie and I live in a very sports fanatical enthusiastic town. It’s Varsity Blues and Friday Night Lights all rolled up into one.

It’s no surprise, then, just how many moms in our community want t-shirt quilts made of for their All-Star athletes. I’ve also made several memory quilts made out of baby clothing, and although they are more intricate and time consuming, they are stabilized the same way, so I’ve included photo examples of these in this post too.

I’ve done a lot of digging and have created a Pinterest Board with loads of inspirational memory quilts and helpful blog posts for you to check out as well.


Important Materials needed:

 June Tailor Non Stick Pressing Sheet 18×18″– I love this product and use it all the time.  It’s available on Amazon Prime, too, which means free shipping if you’re a part of that program.  Stephanie is an Amazon Prime addict, so I know she, if no one else, will appreciate this link.  (*this is an amazon affiliate link, which means if you purchase the pressing sheet via my link, I receive a small commission, at no increased cost to you).

Pellon Shape Flex 101 – This comes in black or white. I  use white since I buy it by the bolt, and I’ve had no problem at all, even when working with dark quilts. I provided a link to the product at Joanne’s, where a bolt is $52.90 (not an affiliate link).

Side note: Do you like to applique cute little motifs on baby onesies?  You can use this same interfacing to iron on the inside of the onesie and protect baby’s delicate skin from irritation.   



One thing I love about Pellon Interfacing is that is comes with written instructions, tucked inside every yard of the material. You just can’t do it wrong! On the downside, the width of fabric is 20 inches, so you’ll need a lot of yardage for a big quilt.

Cost saving tip: save those Joann’s 50% off coupons and buy it by the bolt if you plan multiple projects with it. I use approximately 7 yards of stabilizer per t-shirt quilt (60 x 60 inches on average).


Step 1: Cutting raw materials

Cut the shirts about an inch bigger in width and height as you’d like the final square to be. This will allow you some room to square up after you fuse it to the interfacing.



Step 2: Introduce Yourself to the Pellon

Roll out your Pellon SF101 with the bumpy side up. Greet the Pellon warmly.  You two are going to be great friends by the end of this project.  Respect the Pellon.  The bumpy side of the interfacing is the ‘glue’ side, and it will melt and stick to your iron if it comes into contact with it. Avoid contact with the iron unless you REALLY want a fancy new iron. Place the t-shirt right side up on top of the Pellon interfacing.


Step 3: Pressing.

Place the teflon pressing sheet over your t-shirt and Pellon sandwich. Only iron on top of the teflon pressing sheet. You will need to iron over your sandwich very slowly so that each part of the shirt has had the iron on it for about 10 seconds. Avoid shifting the pressing pad, as sometimes the plastic from the shirt logos will melt and will need to be wiped off the pressing pad before contact with heat and the shirt again (I found this out the hard way…).  If you don’t take a second to wipe off your pressing sheet, you’ll risk getting sticky plastic residue on the next t-shirt you press.


Repeat until all shirts have been fused.

Step 4: Cutting

Tshirt quilt


I like to cut out and use all the logos from a shirt whenever space allows. I fuse each logo to Pellon, then applique them onto a cut-out square of t-shirt with a zig zag stitch (unless it’s a patch…I sew those thick suckers on with a straight stitch, which just seems to work better).


Here are a few of the quilts I’ve done over the past year using Pellon interfacing: Stephanie has quilted around most of these on her longarm. We have learned, that if you are going to applique on booties, and 3-D pieces of clothing on a memory quilt, it is best to do this AFTER the quilting has been completed.  It’s hard to quilt around these bulky pieces, and if you are quilting with a longarm, the changes in thickness can wreak havoc on tension (patches and pockets are ok to stitch on before quilting though).


baby onsie quilt

baby onsie quiltTshirt quilt memory quilt baby first year




baby memory quilt

baby memory quilt onsie babys first year






After you’ve cut up all those t-shirts, you are going to have a ton of scraps! C’mon, you know you can’t throw those away when they could possible become a gorgeous crochet rainbow rug (thank you, ye gods of pinterest).

Old T-shirts Make a Beautiful Rug!

For more t-shirt scrap ideas and unique quilt layout options, be sure to check out my T-Shirt Quilt Pinterest page.

Now, bloggers of the world, unite and link up to show us your goods!


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  • Reply Destashing | Quilting Jetgirl May 5, 2015 at 8:57 am

    […] up with Tips and Tutorials Tuesdays (button on the […]

  • Reply quiltingjetgirl May 5, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Wow, great tip about wiping off the pressing pad. I am sure I might still learn that one the hard way, should I ever make a TShirt quilt, but I will definitely try to remember to be careful!

  • Reply Susan May 5, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Just got done stabilizing t-shirts too. Have to be very careful when ironing the design!

  • Reply Rachel @ Quiltineering May 5, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    I made one T-shirt quilt a few years ago and although it turned out cute, I hated making it! I bet my experience would have been a lot different with these wonderful tips. The pressing pad is pure genius!

  • Reply Kelsey May 7, 2015 at 7:07 am

    This is a wonderful, detailed, and helpful post. Thank you! I didn’t realize until a couple of months ago that you should use interfacing on the backs of your t-shirts, but it makes so much sense.

  • Reply PAY TO CART April 25, 2017 at 6:41 am

    This T-Shirt tips is very useful to make a T-Shirts Designs small business for me …Thank you for this Post..

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