Making Memories…and Memory Quilts

Making Memories…and Memory Quilts

As a teenager, going to High Point Camp was the highlight of my summers.  I loved meeting people from across the country (I even met a girl from Hawaii), riding on tubes behind the speed boat, zooming down the zip-line, and learning about God’s Word in chapel services. I recently finished sewing my second quilt–a t-shirt memory quilt from all of my High Point Camp t-shirts.  This time, I took step-by-step pictures to show others how simple this daunting project can be.


  • old t-shirts
  • fusible interfacing
  • material
  • quilt batting
  • scissors
  • pins
  • coordinating thread


1. To begin, select which shirts you would like to use to make the front of the quilt.  Sketch a layout for your quilt and decide how large your quilt will be.

Because I had 3 columns of shirts and each shirt was a 12 by 12 square, I knew that my quilt would be at least 1 yard wide with no borders.  I added a 1-inch border between each set of shirts, making the face of the quilt 38-inches across.  Additionally, I estimated the length of the quilt to be 47-inches.


2. Select fabric to make borders between each of your shirt squares.  Measure the fabric to be the desired width and length, and mark it with chalk.

In order to make 1-inch borders, I cut the material 2-inches wide, allowing for 1/2-inch seams.  Because my shirt squares were going to be 12-inches, I cut the border material 13-inches long.  I also cut two longer strips to go between the three shirt columns. 


3. Cut the material according to your measurements.


4. Measure, mark, and cut interfacing to be ironed onto shirts.

I purchased a 13×13-inch square of plexiglass at a home improvement store.  I placed this square on the interfacing and traced around it to mark the size I needed.  Once again, I allowed for 1/2-inch seams.


5. Turn shirts inside-out.  Following the package instructions, iron the interfacing onto the inside of the shirt.

The plexiglass can also be used to ensure that the shirt’s image will fit in your selected square.


6.  Cut along the edge of the interfacing to separate your shirt square from the rest of the shirt.

A rotary cutter is ideal for this step.  However, mine was too dull and tore the shirt instead of cutting it neatly.


7. Once all the square are cut, lay the border pieces and shirt pieces out in a grid to make sure that everything is cut correctly.


8. Pin together strips and shirts to make vertical columns.


In my case, I made three vertical columns.


9. Using the pins as guides, sew the border pieces and shirt squares together.


10.  Iron the seams flat.


11. Repeat steps nine and ten to connect all shirt squares and borders.


12.  Once the front of your quilt is sewn together, it is time to put all three layers together.  Lay a large piece of material face-down on the floor.  This will become the back of your quilt.

I used a flat sheet and cut off the hems.


13.  On top of the bottom material, lay the quilt batting (cut to size) and the top portion of your quilt.


14. Use spray adhesive to secure the batting to the bottom.  Repeat to attach the top to the batting.


15.  “Stitch in the ditch” to quilt all three layers together.

16. Fold the back of the quilt over to make a hem.  Pin and sew.


17.  Enjoy using your new quilt!


What was your favorite summer activity as a teenager?

What sentimental items do you want to recycle/re-purpose?

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