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How to Make College Quilts from Old T-Shirts

Making College Quilts from T-Shirts 

How many free T-shirts did you receive in college? 10? 20? 50? You receive them as incentives to join clubs, to sign up for activities, and to fill out surveys. Many of those T-shirts you've never worn, or maybe you only wear them to the gym (the few days you actually go), and they're taking up more space than you have. 

Consider giving these T-shirts a new life in a college quilt. You can do this at home in a few easy steps or an online retailer like would be happy to make college quilts for you!

College T-shirt Quilt made out of old college shirts

Where do you even start?

Find the correct amount of T-shirts for the size of college quilt you want. Here's a simple guide to follow:

Quilt Size        Shirts Needed

Lap                              16

Twin                            24

Full                              30

Queen                         49

King                             64

How much fabric do you need?

To make a full size T-shirt quilt (60" x 72") you will need the following:

  • 30 T-shirts - Works best with graphics that are 9" or less wide and 10" or less tall. If you use the front and back of a single T-shirt, you will need fewer.
  • 60" x 72" backing

PRO TIP: It’s best to wash and dry your tees before beginning. Shirts that are a little worn are fine but avoid using those with holes or rips.

Pink Floyd t-shirt on cutting board with rotary cutter

How do you cut the shirts?

Using your rotary cutter and a mat, cut the shoulder seam, sleeve seams and side seams of each t-shirt to separate the front from back. You’ll then need to cut out panels.

Pick a panel size, possibly 12x12 or 14x14, and cut the panels out using a ruler and rotary cutter. You’ll need 12 ½ inches of fabric for 12x12 panels and 14 ½ inches of fabric for 14x14 panels.

Pick the panel size based off the size of shirts and the size of the graphics on the shirts.

black t-shirt on cutting board demonstrating how to cut panels with a rotary cutter






How do you sew the shirts together?

Lay out your squares to find a pleasing configuration. Pay attention to colors and prints to not bunch up similar T-shirts in the same area.

Now it’s time to sew your rows. Take your first and second squares from the first row graphic sides together and sew the left side. Next, put square 3 on square 2 and sew the right edge together. Continue until you’ve sewn your row. Press seams open to reduce bulk.

Once all your rows are made, it’s time to put them together. Pin row 1 to row 2 graphic sides together, aligning seams and sew the top seam. Then, press your seam open. Repeat until all your rows are sewn together.

college quilts from old t-shirts

How to complete your college quilt?

Find a material to use as the backing and sew the front and back together. Have fun with the color, print, and material. The possibilities are endless!

This is the opportune time to find a color or print that unites your T-shirts together or makes them stand out even more. One of your college colors might make a great choice!

Show off your college quilt!

Use it as a throw on your couch, or place it somewhere others will see. It will make a great conversation piece, and you will have a great collection of college memories all in one place! Your friends and families will be wanting their own college quilts before you know it!


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