DIY t-shirt quilt tutorial - step three, finishing the top

We are moving right along on this t-shirt quilt, yes? Working on my quilt as I write the blog posts has kept me sewing. I hope it has been motivating for you as well. This step will make your t-shirts look like a quilt, you will really believe it. Ready? Let’s go DIY t-shirt quilt tutorial – step three, finishing the top.

T-shirt quiltre 3 - 1You are going to assemble the top one horizontal strip at a time.  You will join 3 T-shirt blocks together.  You don’t sew them to each other but rather each block is sewn onto sashing and the sashing pieces connect the blocks.

Once three blocks are connected, you will sew one of the sashing/cornerstone strips below each row. The first row will have a sashing/cornerstone strip above the row and below the row.

Let’s start.  Gather a strip of sashing and the first three t-shirt blocks.  Be careful to keep T-shirt quiltre 3 3them in the order you want them.

You are going to sew the first t-shirt block onto the sashing strip, right sides together. I sew on all three. If you have cut up all the sashing into 12.5″ pieces, just sew it on one at a time.  On the last block, you will need a sashing strip on both sides.

Look at the picture. The green arrow points to where there is a long strip.

The blue arrow shows where you add one more 12.5″ sashing strip.

Cut them apart, stitch them together and iron. T-shirt quiltre 3 4The black arrows show how you are pressing the seams into the sashing fabric.

Be careful when you are ironing as the interfacing will melt or get gooey if it is exposed to the iron too much.

The smiley face is where I spilled water on the ironing board. I added water to the iron and put it back up on its heel. What did I forget to do? Oh a little detail like closing the water door, that’s all. The smile, it was fake.

T-shirt quiltre 3 2Now you will add those sashing/cornerstone strips you made. Top and bottom of first row, just the bottom after that. Or if you want you can think of it as adding above and when you get to the last row, you are also adding it below. This is your quilt after all. I like to do it this way, more progress right away.

Can you see a sashing/cornerstone strip at each side of the t-shirt quilt row?T-shirt quiltre 3 5

You will now repeat this, adding a row at the bottom and then sewing it to the completed row above it.

Be careful when ironing, don’t mess up that interfacing.

T-shirt quiltre 3 7When you get all five rows assembled and put together it will look like this. But with your fabric and T-shirts!

I am loving it but there’s another step until the top is done. You need borders on the sides and top. I had one yard of two different fabrics. I put them on either side and chose the one on the left. I needed to cut 7 strips and I knew I could get those if I made them 4.5″.

This is just a throw, it is not covering a bed. If you want it bigger, add another vertical row of t-shirts. Make sure you adjust the amount of fabric you buy. Same thing with the sashing, you can increase or decrease the size. And borders follow the same pattern.  This is YOUR quilt, do it your way! T-shirt quiltre 3 8

Here is Joe’s completed top with the borders. The top is done. I happen to be the proud owner of a Gammill longarm sewing machine. Before I did, I got two other t-shirt quilts done by a professional longarm quilter. They are the last two photos in this photo gallery post if you want to see them.

I quilted my first t-shirt quilt on a domestic machine, just around the blocks. I sewed it just enough to keep it together. I didn’t bind it, I turned it inside out after stitching around. The girl who was making it for her bf, did some tying. It ended up being their dog’s quilt so what can I say?

Think about how you are going to want this quilted and finished. I will post the final step when I finish my quilt!

Sew happy!

Want to see other quilts I am loving? Check out my Facebook page. Like the page and join the conversation or at get a smile from my quilt funnies! If you want to keep reading my blog, you can subscribe. To do so, type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. That’s all, you’re done. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Want to see step one? Click! Step two? Click!

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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