How to Make a T-Shirt Quilt: (Week 5) Quilting

Welcome to week 5 of my 6-week guide to making a simple T-shirt quilt. 

So far we have gathered our suppliescut the T-shirtsironed on interfacing, and sewn the blocks together. Today we are going to do some quilting.

How to Make a T-shirt Quilt

The first thing you will need to do is lay out your backing fabric. I used a sheet this time and it was much cheaper than buying quilt backing fabric that is extra wide.

Then, you need to lay out your quilt batting on top of the backing fabric.

Next, lay your quilt top (The T-shirt blocks you stitched together in step 4.) on top of the backing fabric and quilt batting.

T-Shirt Quilting 1

Make sure everything is smooth to the best of your ability. A quilting frame would be ideal, but if you are like me and don’t have one it can totally be done this way.

I used lots of pins to keep the three layers together. I started at the top and worked my way from top to bottom and left to right.

You may notice that my quilt batting and backing fabric extend beyond the quilt top. This is on purpose and ensures that you have plenty of both while you are quilting.

You will trim the quilt after quilting it together.

T-Shirt Quilting 2

The method of quilting I use and recommend for beginners (I’m still a beginner. :)is the “stitch in the ditch” method.

Basically, you will be sewing your quilting stitches where the quilt blocks meet in each row. Check the picture below to see what I’m talking about.

T-Shirt Quilting 3

I use white thread and sew from top to bottom along each row and then turn the quilt and sew the other direction along all of the seams.

T-Shirt Quilting 4

I do recommend sewing no more than three rows in one direction and then flip the quilt around to sew the rest of the rows. This will prevent you trying to shove the entire quilt through your sewing machine opening.

T-Shirt Quilting 5

The picture above shows my quilting. There are a few spots where I can see the quilting stitches but for the most part I was able to stay in the ditch.

You will also notice that my seams aren’t perfect and that some don’t meet exactly. While it may be noticeable up close it really isn’t that noticeable from a distance.

My husband’s aunt was taught to hand quilt by a group of ladies at a senior citizen’s home many years ago. She shared something with me that one of the ladies told her. “A perfect quilt is an insult to God.”

While my quilt isn’t going to be perfect, I know it is something my husband wants and it is definitely being made with love and that’s what counts.

The final step for this week is to cut away the excess backing fabric and batting.

T-Shirt Quilting 6

Lay out the quilt again and make sure everything is smooth. Then, simply cut around the entire quilt to get rid of the excess fabric and backing.

T-Shirt Quilting

A final step that may or may not be necessary is to measure the quilt and see if it is “square” (making sure that the length and width is the same on each side).

T-Shirt Quilting 7

The picture above shows my quilting just in case it didn’t look like I had actually done anything by simply looking at the front. :)

Next week I will show you how I make my own quilt binding and sew it onto the quilt.

  • Abbi

    Looks good! You must have done a LOT of pinning to keep it from puckering.

    • Jackie

      Thanks, Abbi! Yes, I did do a ton of pinning. :)