Wednesday, February 10, 2021

I May Have A Scrap Problem... Drowning In T-Shirts?


Hi, all!

Well, I spent the day working on a t-shirt quilt and making one. big. pile. of t-shirt scraps.  Now, you know me and fabric scraps - I just can't bear to throw away usable fabric!   And I'm happy to say that I have a great solution for those t-shirt backs that I want to share with you today.  Because to save them without a purpose would be crazy, wouldn't it?  I posted this originally in 2018 but thought it would be a good time to bring it back for a re-run, since it is t-shirt quilt season and I might not be the only one with this problem....

When faced with a large pile of t-shirt backs, the first step is to reduce all of them to usable pieces.  I cut mine into the same width chunks - in this case, 15" because that was the widest template I had that would fit on most of the shirts - and it cut a bunch of pieces!  I didn't worry about the length of the pieces, just the width.   And you should be proud of me - I threw away the leftovers!  So now I have a big tub full of cut pieces all ready to go.

Then I got busy sewing those pieces together - no interfacing on these pieces, to keep the expense down and to make it lighter - because this is a heavy picnic blanket!

This picnic blanket is about 75" square, so just the weight of the t-shirt fabric is pretty substantial.  No batting for this one, only a fabric backing - but I had the perfect backing on hand.  I've been saving this fabric for years because I knew it would be perfect for a picnic quilt....

Not quite sure what it is you're seeing?  (And I'm sorry if it gives you the shivers - I've found that people either love it or hate it!)

And of course, because I have grandchildren, and because those grandchildren love to color, I saw those great big color blocks and wondered, "Is there a way the kids can color on those and then it washes out so they can do it again?"

Not wanting to experiment on the quilt (just in case it DIDN'T wash out!) I grabbed a piece of t-shirt (out of the never-empty t-shirt scrap tub) and a new box of Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Markers.  Had a little fun putting together a test piece, then ran it through the wash and dryer (gentle cycle, regular detergent, hot dryer).

Et voila!  The only thing I could even see a shadow of was the yellow heart in the middle, and I really had to look for that.  So for added fun, I can hand the markers to the kids at the picnic and let them decorate to their hearts content!  How's that for an added bonus?

And another?  It's like getting a free quilt out of something you were going to throw away.  And everyone can use a picnic or beach blanket, can't they?  So put those pieces to good use!




  1. What a wonderful post, Sarah. I saved my girl's ball t-shirts with the plan to make each a quilt. Now I will know what to do with the backs. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Wonderful idea, and to know they can draw on a block over and over again.

  3. Great use of the scraps and such fun to be able to draw on the picnic blanket. Not just for children I want to draw as well.

  4. Very clever! What a great picnic memory blanket!

  5. What a cool idea to use the backs in another quilt. I think that would also be pretty if you tied it with colorful yarn or DMC floss. I have never tied a quilt but think it would be a fun thing to do.

  6. Great way to use those colorful t-shirts, and clever thinking about the washable markers! I like that backing. Did you tack the top to the backing somehow?

  7. I like to use those markers too for marking on my quilts. I love that they wash away easily and are inexpensive.

  8. Not crazy, since I save pieces smaller than that, Sarah! I cut the small leftovers into sashing strips and cornerstones for future T-Quilts. I just used some last weekend for my Project QUILTING challenge quilt.

  9. This is a great idea! For us Northerners, this would be a good car blanket (stay warm while waiting for help).

  10. Do I ever heart your t-shirt back quilt!!! So colorful!!!!

  11. I love this use of the t-shirt backs! It doesn’t look like it is quilted, am I right? I guess that won’t be a problem? I love seeing all your wonderful quilts!

  12. I'm so glad to see this quilt! I'm making two for daughters of a friend who recently passed away. Not many designs on her t-shirts, most just have the job logo on the front - so without making it one giant advertisement, I'm using the few designs I have with 2 1/2 x 8 1/2 strips from the back material and no interfacing. I'm hoping it comes out as nice as yours.


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