Monday, 5 March 2012

Up-cycled shirt patchwork quilt

As I'm sure most of you do, we have a serious hoard of old clothes that haven't ventured out the wardrobe for months, if not years, but haven't quite made it to the charity shop yet! 
I'm also sure most of you can empathise with how difficult it is to get rid of certain clothes sometimes......'it might come back into fashion again', 'I've not worn it enough times', 'its still in half decent condition', or the most common one for me is 'I just love it and can't bring myself to part ways just yet'. 

In the case of these shirts below...they had managed to make it out of the wardrobe but unfortunately  not into the bin - despite worn out holes, being ripped and generally a bit tatty. Sick fed up with an untidy pile of old clothes in the spare bedroom, I decided to do something else with the shirts instead.
 Enter the latest issue of Mollie Makes and the gorgeous quilt project by Nikki Trench from her new book 'a passion for quilting'. The idea behind the project is to gather bits and pieces of fabric you already have or something that has a special meaning, so using the shirts seemed perfect. 
As seen in Februarys' issue of Mollie Makes, the patchwork quilt project by Nikki Trench
So off I got to work cutting out my squares. I decided to make slightly smaller squares than suggested as it was easier to just cut round the grid ruler that I had already. If you've never used a rotary cutter before your missing out! Nothing gives super straight sharp lines like it! Its one of those really satisfying cuts! 

 I used 6 shirts in total and ended up with almost 160 squares! 

 Laying it all out become a bit complicated. I don't have a surface big enough in my house so had to use as much of the bed as I could then spill it onto the floor. 

 Next was stitching all those squares together. It was a bit of a slog but I got a system going and managed to get my time to stitch a strip down to about 7 minutes. It all got a bit competitive by the time I reached the 14 strip!

 And here is my finished quilt....

 ......with pockets incorporated.

 I decided to use a navy blue soft and cosy brushed cotton for the back to contrast with the light colours of the shirts. I used white quilting thread to make the squares stand out more on the back too. 


  1. I absolutely love this! It looks brilliant.

    My husband doesn't wear shirts very often so I might take a trip to the charity shop - really want to make one of these!

  2. This is lovely. Am thinking of raiding the drawer full of hubby's old shirts and make a blanket for our daughter. Thanks for the inspiration. Found your blog via your comments on the Colette blog. Would love to see your other Hazel dresses. The narrow striped one is gorgeous. Have spent a very happy hour or so wandering round your blog - cant wait to see your shop take shape.

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Lyn. I'm a bit of a stickler for not throwing stuff away so its a great way to use up old stuff thats lying around. Will take some pics of the other stripy Hazel was broader stripes so a bit more tricky to get them lined up...its no as noticeable if things are a little bit squee-wiff when the stripes are narrow :)

  3. Absolutely love this quilt. It is traditional in the look and idea of using what you have. I've been saving my husbands shirts that he thinks he got rid of from his closet. Just looking at this beautiful quilt has inspired me. Thank you.

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  5. Is there any way you can send me the measurements of everything to me?

  6. Curious what size squares you used? Thanks!

  7. I really love this! What size squares did you cut? I looked at your Omnigrid, but couldn't tell!! I don't need another project, but I really do love this!!

  8. Beautiful quilt! I need to make a simple patchwork quilt. The simplicity is wonderful!

  9. Lovely! Great, great post!
    Thank you for sharing!
    My husband´s shirts are waiting for me now!

  10. I have just linked to this post from my blog and used a photo (with link again) - if that is a problem please let me know and I'll change it. The blue quilt is gorgeous and I am totally in awe of people who can sew!