How to Sew a T-Shirt Quilt with Whitney Sews

We all have that pile of t-shirts that are so special to us, but we no longer wear them.  Today I’ll be showing how to transform those shirts into an amazing one of a kind quilt full of memories.

My husband had a pile of shirts, mostly from conventions he had worked at, that he wanted to make into a quilt.  He never got the time to make it so I offered to take over the project.

Because the shirts are from all different places and events the graphics are all different sizes, so cutting the shirts to uniform sizes was not going to work.  If your shirts have similar sized graphics/logos check out my tips down below!

I made some notes with the sizes I wanted each shirt to be cut down to allowing about 1 to 1.5 inches outside the graphic on each side.  Then cut the shirts to a little larger than those measurements and cut a piece of fusible interfacing to the same size.

HERE is the interfacing I like to use!

Fuse them together from the back side.  You do NOT want to place your iron on any screen prints because the heat will damage them!  Once each piece has been fused use a couple of rulers and a rotary cutter to cut each block down to the correct size.  At this point you can start improve piecing them together…but I’m not brave enough to do that…so I planned mine out on graph paper.  If you improve piece (or plan ahead and your t-shirts just don’t all match up to make a rectangle shape you will need to add filler pieces.  Filler is leftover t-shirt pieces that have been interfaced).  I show my sketch in the video linked below.

I planned my quilt out so it had 5 different rectangular units that all fit together to form the entire quilt top.  It took a few tries to get all the numbers to line up and I had to adjust the pieces a half inch here and there to get them to all fit together right, but got it all to work out.  Below is a photo with the units circled so you can see how they all fit together.

Each unit was pieced using a 1/4 inch seam allowance like a typical quilt and because the pieces have been interfaced they can be treated like regular fabric.  After each unit is pieced, sew them all together to form the quilt top.

After the top is completed you can finish a t-shirt quilt in a few different ways.  I chose to sew mine like a blanket with the backing and top right sides together, sew around the outer edge, turn through an opening and top stitch.  We chose a sweatshirt type material for the backing, but you can interface the backs of the t-shirts, sew them together until it is larger than the quilt top and use that for the backing.  Another option is adding a batting and backing, quilt and bind like a traditional quilt.

You can watch my full step-by-step T-shirt quilt tutorial HERE!

As I mentioned earlier, if your t-shirts are all similar you can make your quilt a little differently.  Instead of needing to measure each shirt and cut to different sizes, you can decide on one size for them all.  Trim the shirts a little bigger than you want the finished square to be and fuse the interfacing, as shown in the video, then trim to the final size.  Then sew the pieces together to create rows.  So if you have 20 shirts you can sew them into 5 rows with 4 shirts in each row.  Then sew the rows together.  My favorite way is to sew the quilt into two big pieces and lastly sew those together to have the entire quilt top.

This style of quilt is better for beginners because you aren’t having to do a lot of math and figuring, you simply just sew squares together in any order until you have a full row.

If you are more advanced you can add other fabrics and create designs, add sashing, borders, etc to make your t-shirt quilt even more unique.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful!  Make sure to come back next Wednesday for another new tutorial.  Until then, Happy Sewing!


Repairing the Knee Pedal on a Vintage Sewing Machine Cabinet

This week I have a quick video to share about how I repaired the knee pedal on my vintage sewing machine cabinet.  Instead of using a regular foot pedal to control the machine, this one uses a knee lever that is attached to the cabinet.  I didn’t love the idea of a knee pedal when I first got it, but now I’m used to it and prefer it more than a foot pedal.  So when the lever started getting loose then broke off I was pretty sad about it.  I was right in the middle of filming a sewing tutorial and had a memory bear order to complete and zero time to waste!

I took the knee pedal off the side of the cabinet and headed to the nearest hardware store.  I found a nice man there who knew more about bolts, threading, and all that and explained what I needed and he set me up with the right supplies.  I came home with a bag of bolts and a bag of wingnuts for under $3 and had my machine back up and running in under 5 minutes!

Check out the video HERE to see exactly how I put it all back together!  Links for the needed supplies are in the video description box.

I hope you found this helpful, or at least interesting!  If you want to see my week in the life video when my knee pedal, belt, and more broke all in the same day click HERE!   I’ll be back next Wednesday for another new sewing tutorial.  Until then, Happy Sewing!


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Cheyenne Rope Bag How to with Pins + Needles Kits

This week I partnered back up with Pins + Needles Kits to bring you all a tutorial for the Cheyenne Rope Bag from Serendipity Studios.  Pins + Needles sent all the supplies needed to make the bag to all of their February Premium subscribers.  But even if you don’t have the kit or the pattern, you can still follow along to learn how to work with foam stabilizer, how to sew inset zippers, and installing magnetic snaps.


Follow along with my step-by-step video tutorial HERE to make your bag!

Want to try out your own Pins + Needles Kit??  Use the coupon code WHITNEYSEWS10 for $10 off your first Premium box!


Want to learn how to make another bag??  Check out my lined tote bag with outer pockets tutorial.  It also incorporates foam stabilizer and is a fun project to make.

I post a new tutorial every Wednesday, so don’t forget to check back next week.  Until then, Happy Sewing!



The BEST Tips for Sewing Memory Bears

Now that I’ve shown how to make a memory bear (find that playlist HERE) it’s time for all my BONUS TIPS!  These are all the best tips to help your bears go from good to amazing!

Even if you have already made some memory bears I am certain you will learn some new things in this video that will help you improve even more.

So I won’t drag this out too much…click HERE to watch my Memory Bear Tips video!

Let me know what your favorite tip was from the video in the comment section on or on the youTube video page.  I’ll have a new tutorial up next Wednesday so make sure to come back for that.  Until next time, Happy Sewing!


How to Sew a Memory Bear

It’s finally here; the week I know you all have been waiting for!  This week I’m showing step-by-step how to sew a memory bear!  I have been making tons of bears for Whitney Sews Memories and can’t wait to teach you all how to make your own.

I use Simplicity A2115 for my bears, but the pattern is out of print, so unless you happen onto some old copies at Walmart (like I did!) you may have to select another similar pattern.  The Simplicity Rare Bear pattern is a great option that is VERY similar to the one I used.  You can find that pattern HERE.  But no matter what pattern you are using this video will still be helpful because a lot of techniques will be similar.

If you haven’t been following along with the entire series I already shared videos showing how to select a pattern, copying the pattern onto plastic templates (if you want a sturdier pattern to use again and again), how to install safety eyes and how to sew a ladder stitch to finish your bears.  You can find all those videos in a playlist HERE!

So now it’s time to sew your precious memory bear together!  In the video I show from cutting the fabrics to finishing the bear off with a ladder stitch, following right along with the pattern directions.  Not great at using sewing patterns?!?  No problem!  I explain each step and what it means as we go along!

Click HERE to watch the Memory Bear How to!

Next week I have another video where I’ll be showing all of my tips and tricks for taking your memory bears from good to great!  You’ll learn those little details that will make your bears look professional!  Make sure you are subscribed to Whitney Sews on youTube so you don’t miss out on that video!

Until next time, Happy Sewing!


Ladder Stitch How to – Memory Bear Sewing Series

It’s time for another addition to my memory bear sewing series!  This week I’m showing how to hand sew a ladder stitch.  This stitch is so important for finishing any stuffed animal.

The ladder stitch is pretty simple to do after you’ve practiced it a time or two and can be nearly invisible when done right.

Click HERE to watch the step-by-step ladder stitch tutorial!

Lots more memory bears tutorials coming soon, so make sure you are subscribed to Whitney Sews on youTube.  Until next time, Happy Sewing!


Selecting the Right Memory Bear Pattern

When it comes to finding a great pattern not all are created equal!  This is definitely the case when looking for a memory bear pattern that will give you a finished bear you love.

I wanted to share some patterns that would work well for memory bears, including my favorite, as well as an example of a pattern that wouldn’t work well.

Check out the video HERE!

Want a copy of the same pattern I use for all of my bears?!?  Watch to the end of the video to find out how to enter a giveaway to win the pattern!

What is your favorite stuffed animal pattern??

Until next time, Happy Sewing!


Installing Safety Eyes and Noses – How to

This week I’m kicking off my memory bear series!  I am so excited to be able to share all my tips and tricks so you can make your own beautiful memory bears!  In the series I’ll be covering all my tips and info for actually sewing the bears, as well as some techniques like installing safety eyes, how to sew a ladder stitch, and even a step-by-step tutorial for my favorite bear pattern.

I started making these bears a couple of months ago as a surprise for a friend whose father had passed away.  I made three bears for the grandchildren so they have a grandpa bear to snuggle when they start missing him.

There happy faces made every second spent making the bears worth it and I knew I wanted to put more smiles on faces.  I ended up starting a Facebook page called Whitney Sews Memories and started making more bears for other people!

So my point is I LOVE making these bears and want to teach you how to make them too!

I’m starting off the series with a few of the techniques that are needed for making bears.  This week I’m showing how to install safety snaps and next week how to hand sew a ladder stitch to finish off the bears after they are stuffed.  So once I get to the actual bear tutorials the entire video will be focused on making the bears themselves.  Then if you need to refer back to the bear tutorial a few times you won’t have to rewatch (or skip over) the basics every time.

I have found that the easiest time to install safety eyes and noses are when only the front of the face is sewn together.  I attach the face sides and center then add the facial features then continue sewing the rest of the head and the bear together.

Check out the video HERE to see step-by-step the best way to perfectly install safety eyes!

See, not hard at all!  If there are other techniques you want me to cover in this series, make sure to leave them in the comments below!  Come back next week for the next tutorial in the #memorybear series.  Until then, Happy Sewing!



World Geography Learning Mat

If you don’t already know, I have two daughter – one just turned three and the other will be two in April.  They keep me pretty busy and I’m always looking for fun ways to incorporate learning into our daily lives.  We recently picked up a set of wooden animals and I thought it was the perfect opportunity for my oldest to start learning where different animals live around the world.

So I grabbed some fabrics from my stash (basic cotton for the continents and a flannel for the water) and set to work on my map.  Since it’s for a three year old I didn’t worry about being too detailed, just got the general shape drawn out.

I show the step-by-step process in my video tutorial HERE!

I absolutely love how this little learning floor mat turned out and I know Peyton does too!  What other DIY projects do you think we should make for our homeschooling supplies??

Did you know I have a second channel?!?  I’m trying to get back to posting on it and started with a recipe video yesterday for White Chicken Chili.  Click HERE to watch that video!

Make sure to come back next week for another new sewing tutorial.  Until then, Happy Sewing!



Bricks and Blocks Quilt How to

This week I wanted to share a fun quilt I made recently for a youTuber friend who had a baby in December.  I was looking for a fairly easy quilt, but one that is visually interesting. I found a fun quilt on Pinterest, and decided to make a similar one.  But instead of tracking down the original post I just referenced the photo and quilt layout and came up with the measurements that worked best for a crib size quilt.

The entire quilt is made of only two different sized pieces – BRICKS that are 8.5 by 4.5 inches and BLOCKS that are 4.5 by 4.5 inches.  Because there are only two different sized pieces you can focus on creating a pattern or design with the fabrics you use.  I went with a diagonal white stripe design among colored/printed fabrics, but you can chose other layouts or go with a totally random design.

The quilt can be made with 10 to 14 different fabrics; using only 4.5 inches by the width of fabric for the prints so this is a great stash project!  By the way….YES I am still doing the Sew Your Stash Challenge even though we are in a new year (more on that later)!

To get started select your fabrics and cut 14 strips measuring 4.5 inches by the width of the fabric.  Then subcut those down into 4 Bricks (4.5 x 8.5 inches) and 1 Block (4.5 x 4.5 inches).  Then lay them out in a design you like and start sewing the rows together.  It is really that simple!  You will end up with a couple of pieces left over after you have sewn all 12 rows together.  You can toss them into your scrap pile, or incorporate them into your backing or binding like I did on my Charming Rainbows Quilt.

Below is a graphic you can Pin or save to refer to when piecing if you want to create the same layout as my quilt.


But as I mentioned earlier you can create any design (or no design at all) and still have a beautiful quilt.  The only ‘rules’ for this quilt is to stick to the layout of 5 bricks in the first row, then a block, 4 bricks, and a block in the second row.  Repeat that pattern 6 times to have a quilt top.

Watch the full step-by-step video tutorial HERE!

And that is it!  A simple, but beautiful baby quilt!  You can make it for a boy or girl depending on the fabrics you choose.

If you liked this tutorial please share the link with your friends.  Come back next Wednesday for another new tutorial.  Until then, Happy Sewing!