Quilting is an outstanding way to reuse and upcycle old clothing, and quilters have a long tradition of turning worn-out and stained clothing (or scraps) into warm and beautiful blankets. I, too, love using up every last bit of material that would otherwise end up in the landfill, so I was thrilled when I got this question from Kelly in Washington, DC, in my Maker Concierge inbox.
If you’ve ever wanted to turn a pile of well-loved clothing into a warm and snuggly quilt, here’s how to get started!
Quilting & Clothing Recycling Tutorials and Online Classes
The first thing I thought of is Blair Stocker’s free Nuts & Bolts Quilt. She has notes about working with knits as well as woven fabrics, and though her sample is made from baby clothes, it could be made with any scraps at all.
- Martha Stewart has a much simpler take.
- Cool examples made with dress shirts, plus some tutorials.
- Tips for working with plaid, or button-down shirts.
Instead of blocks, you could work with strips. Here’s a step-by-step.
- Speaking of strip, here’s a strip quilt made from pants.
- Here’s a thorough Craftsy class on making a T-shirt quilt.*
*this is an affiliate link, and offers you a discount on the class.
Books & Magazines
T-Shirts, Memories & More, by Nancy Scott
Making Memories Huggable, by Lauryn W Martin
For inspiration, perhaps: You Inspire Me to Quilt: Projects from Top Modern Designers Inspired by Everyday Life, by Cheryl Arkison
Tips & Notes
If any of the clothes you’ll be using are knits (like t-shirts or sweats), you’ll need to stabilize that fabric before sewing it. Google for more info on how (or take the Craftsy T-shirt quilt class I mentioned above).
I hereby give you permission to buy fabric (even thrifted bedsheets) to fill in gaps or tie together the visual look!
Wool! I focused on quilts made from knits or woven fabrics, but wool sweaters can also be used, especially if you felt them first. Here’s a bit about this alternative.