A Girl Scout Mom Shares Her T-Shirt Quilt Tutorial

Thank you Roxanne J. for sharing this tutorial with us! 

My daughter, Kristin, is an Girl Scout Ambassador in SU 152’s Troop 8861. She has been in Girl Scouts since 2002.  She has attended many different Day/Twilight summer camps as well as resident camps.  As you probably know, especially if you have daughters in Girl Scouts, she has received a t-shirt for each camp that she attended, and also has several from the Cookie Program and for volunteering at various GSNETX events.

One of many volunteer opportunities Kristin took part in – The 100th birthday celebration at the Great State Fair of Texas.

One of many volunteer opportunities Kristin took part in – The 100th birthday celebration at the Great State Fair of Texas.

Kristin will be graduating from high school this year and will be attending Kansas State University in the fall of 2013. She was sorting through things to take with her and didn’t want to get rid of all her Girl Scout shirts so she asked me to make her a t-shirt quilt.

No big deal, right… except that I had never done any quilting and didn’t know where to begin.  So I did what all good crafters do…I searched on Google to see how to make a t-shirt quilt.  I found a link to some really good instructions and, again like all good crafters, I adapted it to my project.

We used 20 different shirts, but some had designs on the front and the back, so that made more squares.  We also incorporated smaller designs from sleeves and one of the 100th anniversary flags into the design.  Kristin also wanted to include the Girl Scout logo and trefoil design, so she free hand drew the letters and shape on spare fabric and basted it to a spare piece of white t-shirt material. I then zigzag stitched that before assembling the pieces.

Piecing the top

Piecing the top

The pattern said to allow ½ yard of fusible interfacing per square, which is probably a good rule of thumb.  It really depends on the size of the pieces.  We had some that were 15-inch squares, but we also had some that were only 7 or 8-inch squares.  The different sized squares give the quilt character, but it did make for some difficulty sewing it together.  I had to make small, odd shaped pieces to fill in gaps.

To start, determine how much of the design on the shirt you want to use and mark your square on each shirt. Squares should be about 12 to 15 inches square. You can use tailor’s chalk or on dark colors you can use a sliver of soap.  Both will wash out easily.  Once the squares are marked, cut them out and then iron on the interfacing.  After all the squares have been fused to the interfacing, you are ready to lay the pieces out in your design.  Once you’ve got your design set up, then start sewing across each row. Then sew the rows together.  I then put a 4-inch border around the quilt top. Be sure to press the seams open as you go so that the seams lay flat once assembled.

quilt 2

Once you have the top sewn together, you can put the backing on.  You can use fleece for a lighter weight quilt, or layer batting and fabric.  I found some pre-quilted backing fabric that happened to be Girl Scout green.  Lay the backing on the top, right sides facing, and sew around the edges leaving an opening large enough to use to turn the quilt.  After turning the quilt right side out, pin the opening closed and stitch around the edge of the quilt.  This will close the quilt and will also finish the edge.  Then lay the quilt flat and pin down each row and column of the quilt.  Then roll the quilt like a scroll, leaving a small section unrolled so that you can sew down the row/column to begin the quilting process.  Sew down each column and across each row to quilt the top to the bottom.  You can also sew designs or patterns in the quilting if you are adventurous.  Be sure to remove all the pins after you finish quilting.  Enjoy your quilt!

The finished project

The finished project

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