Mommy Moments; No-Sew DIY T-Shirt Blanket

Posted on by Gina      12 Comments

Got T-shirts?

We all do. Tons of them. Old concert or college tee’s that we can’t throw out because we need the reminder that at one point we had a rockin’ social life that went beyond park play-dates and little league games.  Or how about the countless “fun run” shirts from races we entered to help shed the post pregnancy pounds (my personal favorite is my Running Sucks t-shirt from that era in my life). Or how about the hordes of mini tee’s your kiddos have outgrown, that you simply can’t part with, or if you’re a soccer mom like me, the countless jersey’s that have been saved and shoved in the kid’s memory storage bins season after season?

Well, I may just have a solution that will still allow for proper homage to be paid to those special moments in time, in addition to being able to close those dresser drawers a little easier…make them into a t-shirt blanket! This would be a very thoughtful gift for pre-school, high-school, or college graduates. Or, better yet, a Father’s Day or birthday gift for your husband so you never have to see him wear those embarrassing hole-filled, too small, t-shirts again!

I don’t sew, so even though the thought of making a t-shirt blanket out of my bambino’s jerseys had crossed my mind many times during my frequent and quite enjoyable Pinterest daydreams, I knew trying to sew a quilt on my own would be an epic fail. So after taking note of a few tips I found on no-sew t-shirt blankets, I decided to give it a try…with some thrifted tees and a blanket I found at Thrift Town (no way was I going to experiment on my own t-shirt treasures!).

My first stop was in the bins department to find a fleece blanket to use as a base. You can also check out Thrift Town’s fabric/craft section to see if you can score about 2-3 yards of fleece there as well. I recommend using fleece as a blanket base/backing for this project for a few reasons. 1. It’s cozy material. 2. It stretches easily, so when it comes time to double knot the edges of the blanket you won’t be filling up the cuss jar.

My second stop was the t-shirt department, and my oh my…were there plenty of choices! If you’ve never shopped a thrift store for t-shirts before, you’re missing out. Some of the craziest, most hysterical finds in any thrift store are the classic t-shirts. Here’s one that didn’t make my blanket, but made for a great laugh!

Ok, without further adieu, here’s a list of directions and what you need to make a no-sew t-shirt blanket:

What you need:

  • Fleece blanket or fabric to use as the base or backing of your blanket (you will attach the t-shirts directly onto this, size is up to you)
  • Approximately 16 t-shirts (depending on size of blanket you’re making)
  • Scissors, the sharper the better
  • Ruler, a clear ruler is best
  • Something to mark where you want to cut the t-shirts, sewing chalk, or sharpie
  • Permanent fabric adhesive. This can be anything from fabric glue, to iron-on bonding, or permanent fabric tape.
  • Time. This project takes on average start to finish about 2 hours (that’s w/no child or husband interruptions).

Blanket Assembly Steps:

  • Measure your blanket base. Again, this can be as large, or as small as you want. How many t-shirts you need will be determined by how large of a blanket you wish to create.
  • Cut ruler wide and ruler high sections out of your t-shirts. Be sure to center the logo you wish to have displayed on the blanket. Cut both the front and back sections of the shirt at the same time. You may need the additional fabric to finish out sections of your blanket.

  • Lay your blanket/fabric out, and then start to place where you want your t-shirt sections to be. I used 16 t-shirts, all cut the same length, so I had four rows of four t-shirts.

  • After determining where you want the t-shirts to go, I recommend stacking them in order for quick placement once the gluing starts.
  • Start gluing. I used permanent fabric spray glue for my project. I sprayed a section, then rolled the t-shirt into place. I recommend folding the t-shirt in half, placing half of it down at a time to help ensure you get it lined up properly and sparing yourself from having to rip the shirt off the blanket, reapply the glue and try again (trust me on this).
  • Once all t-shirts are glued into place, cut triangle shaped pieces out of each corner of the blanket/fabric (each cut being about 2 inches in length).
  • Now start cutting little strips into your blanket (and at times t-shirts) about two inches long and about half an inch apart. Repeat around the entire blanket, making sure you have an even number of cuts.
  • Take two strips that are next to each other and tie a double knot. Repeat all the way around the blanket. If parts of the t-shirt have been cut when making the strips, simply include that section into the knot you are tying.

  • Grab a cup of coffee, turn on your favorite chick flick and wrap up in your new cozy blanket.

Now, all you graduates of Martha Stewart University, feel free to go ahead and reinforce your blanket using a sewing machine if you want to give it a cleaner, or quilted look. I am a M.S.U. flunkey so I stayed with the permanent adhesive option. If you choose to only go with the adhesive, just be sure to read the directions on how best to wash your project so it doesn’t fall apart on you.

Here’s the cliff note tutorial as seen on Good Day Sacramento’s Thrifty Thursday: http://gooddaysacramento.cbslocal.com/video/8912043-thrifty-thursday-diy-t-shirt-blanket/

May the force be with you.

Gina Doglione-Nielsen is featured every week on Good Day Sacramento’s Thrifty Thursdays, and owns GNJ Consulting which handles Public, Social, and Media Relations for Thrift Town Stores. Gina lives in Northern California with her amazing husband Josh, and is constantly on the go with three “very active” and “strong personality” bambinos; aka Team Nielsen, and loves every minute of it.

12 Comments


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  1. Abigail Forst

    Hi,
    I love this idea. I am trying to take baby clothes bought by my sister for my daughter and turn them into a fun quilt. I also do not sew. Do you think this would work for clothes this size? Are there fabrics that this will not work with? Is there a concern about the t-shirts starting to fray?
    Thanks for your time,
    Abby

    • Hi! Thanks so much for reading the blog post and for commenting. I absolutely think this could be done on a mini scale using baby clothes. I believe you could use really any fabric other than a silky texture, but I have always used a fleece because it’s easier for me to use the knot technique along the edges. I have washed this blanket a number of times and have not experienced any fraying of the t-shirts. I think that really depends on how much adhesive you apply. Remember, I am not a seamstress either, just sharing what my experience is, so others may have had a totally different experience. There is something on the market called no-fray spray and/or liquid steam sealant that you could pick up at your local craft store and try if you’re concerned about the fraying possibility. It wouldn’t hurt to add something like that. Send a photo of your completed project, I would LOVE to see it! Good luck!
      Gina

    • Hi Abigail,
      OMG, I just got your comment sent to me. It was spammed and was just notified of it. I am so sorry! Yes, baby clothes would be absolutely adorable with this project. By now, you probably have already completed it. I would love to see a photo! The only fabrics I would stay away from are mesh and really stretchy fabrics as they would lose their shape, and mesh/lace I would be afraid the glue would seep through and become a sticky mess. I have not experienced the t-shirt blankets I’ve made fraying, but if there is concern over that I do believe they have a no-fray product on the market called no-fray spray that would help: http://www.allstitch.net/department/no-fray-spray-10037.cfm.
      Thanks for taking the time to read our blog!
      Gina

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  3. Sarah

    What type and brand of fabric adhesive did you use?

    • I use something called FabricTac. It comes in a clear bottle with a red cap and I normally get it at Joann’s Fabrics, but I’m sure that most hobby stores carry it.

  4. Megan Daly

    Hello
    I am 16 and would like to make one of these blankets for my grandmother using her cancer survivor t-shirts. This blog is super helpful, but was just wondering what you mean by saying “Once all t-shirts are glued into place, cut triangle shaped pieces out of each corner of the blanket/fabric (each cut being about 2 inches in length).” Does this mean all the corners of the blankets won’t have a piece of fabric?
    Thanks so much,
    Megan

    • Hi Megan,
      Thank you for reading my blog! What an amazing tribute to your grandmother and her battle with cancer. Very touching gesture! Let me see if I can help you a bit more. Once you have all of your shirts in place and glued down, instead of cutting each of the four corners of the blanket into strips, you need to cut a triangle shape out. This allows you to ensure the corners will be tied together properly with the other strips. I know that may sound very confusing, but once you get started on it, you will understand what I mean when you start double knotting the strips. Let me know if this response confused you even more, and I will see if I can dig up a youtube video or a graphic that will help you further. Good luck!
      Thank you,
      Gina

  5. I’m so excited to make one of these without sewing it! Do you have to make the ties on the edges? Is there a reason for this or do you do it just for looks?

    • Hi Rian,
      Thanks so much for checking out my blog! I’m excited you’re going to give this a try! Maybe it’s because I do a lot of traditional no-sew blankets with just two different types of fleece material pieces, so I just automatically did it for this one; but technically I guess you really don’t need to do the knotting. I think it looks nice giving it a finished look, and will help prevent the edge pieces of the t-shirts from fraying and allows for an extra layer of bonding the fabric to the t-shirts (at least the outer ones). So to answer your question; no, you probably don’t have to knot the edges. Thanks again for reading the post and good luck! Would love to see a photo of your completed blanket!
      Gina

  6. What a great idea for us no-sewers…lol. We will be using this method for a Homeless Outreach project with our youth girls ministry. I have one question….how far does the adhesive spray go….like how many containers did your one blanket make, with the four rows of four shirts? And if you don’t mind letting me know the size of that adhesive you used. Thanks again for sharing with us.

    • Hi Brandi,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog post! I’m so excited that you are going to give this technique a shot, and for such a great cause at that! To answer your question, it depends on what type of adhesive you’re using. I have two I like to use. A spray which is called Loctite Spray Adhesive. I use a full can to can and a half when doing a blanket of your size. I want to make sure it stays :) I also recommend Fabri-Tac. It’s a gel type of glue and again, it takes a full bottle of the gel for a project of this size. Would love to see a photo of your completed project! Good luck!
      Gina