T-Shirt Quilt Part Two: Quilt Layout Tips & Preparing Your Sashing

Hi! Howdy! Hello!

I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend!

I spent mine teaching a few new students sewing lessons from my in-home studio and also hanging out with my kiddos.

Daddy went to play in-line hockey and we got to turn up our music nice ‘n loud and DANCED like maniacs all over the house.  My kids are so FUN!!!

Anyway, I’d like to share Part 2 of our T-Shirt Quilt Sew Along so here goes!

Quilt Layout Tips

First, take a look at this printable “Quilt Map” I’ve made for you:  Quilt Map Printable PDF

Yeah, I come from a long line of artists….it really shows right?


This Quilt Map is for you to print out and fill in.  It will help you keep track of your desired quilt layout so that it doesn’t get too crazy confusing when you get busy sewing all your blocks and sashing together.

After I prepped all my t-shirt blocks (as directed in part one), I had to decide how to display them in my quilt.   I auditioned my quilt blocks by spreading them out on the floor in different arrangements.  Then I picked the arrangement that looked best to me.

Layout Tip #1:  Don’t put all your dark shirts at the top or at the bottom of your quilt.  See how unbalanced it would look?

Layout with all the light colored blocks at the bottom of the quilt.

Layout Tip #2:  Try to mix up your shirts so that the colors are evenly dispersed throughout your quilt.  Here’s another picture of what not to do:

Layout with the shirts poorly mixed.

Here’s the layout that I liked best for my quilt:

The beginning of my t-shirt quilt!

Once I had a layout that I wanted to keep, I filled in my Quilt Map.  In each square of my map, I noted the color of the block and also the graphic or words.  This will come in handy when it’s time to sew!


Ok!  Now it’s time to work on our Sashing Strips!

Making the Sashing Strips

Sashing Fabric:  2 & 1/4 yards of 45″ wide fabric for quilt frame sashing & interior sashing on front of quilt

We are going to need several 4″ wide strips of fabric that are 2 1/4 yard long.  Yikes! Have you ever had to cut such long strips before?  Trust me, your quilt frame and the interior sashing will look better if you go ahead and cut these long strips.  See instructions below for some helpful tips:

#1 Fold your fabric with right sides together so that the selvage edges are aligned.  Selvages are the densely woven part of your fabric that will not unravel.


The dark thread you see is because I serged the cut ends of my fabric before I pre-washed and dried it. The selvages are aligned with the numbers edge of my cutting mat.


#2 Now, fold this fabric in half so you have 4 layers of selvages and the cut ends are stacked on top of eachother.

Peek-a-boo! Four layers of selvages.

#3 Make sure the folded edge and the selvages are aligned with a straight line on your cutting mat or even a straight line on your tile floor.

I aligned my folded edge with a grid line on my mat. The ruler is just there so the fold is laying down well for the picture. Do not cut this fold!!!

#4 Use your rotary cutter or scissors to trim away your selvages.  Remember, selvages are the densely woven part of your fabric that will not unravel.

#5 Use your rotary cutter to cut strips that are 4″ wide and parallel with the selvage edge of your fabric.  -or- If you’re not comfortable with a rotary cutter, you can mark lines on your fabric that are 4″ apart, then pin through all layers of your fabric, and use scissors to cut your strips.

When you are marking or cutting your fabric, make sure your ruler is squared up with the folded end of your fabric. If it's not, your cut strips will be zig zag strips instead of straight strips.

You will cut 5 sets of 4" wide X 2 1/4 yard long strips.

Because of the way we folded your fabric, each set that you cut, is really 2 long strips. You will have 10 long strips of fabric to use for your sashing and quilt frame.

Now that we have our sashing and quilt frame strips, the next thing to do is begin attaching the sashing to our quilt blocks.  To prevent unwanted mistakes and to help your quilt turn out as nice as possible, please follow along with me for this step and do not jump ahead!

Attaching Your Sashing to Blocks in Column 1 and Column 2 Only

For this step, you are going to use a 1/4″ seam allowance or a 1/2″ seam allowance (whatever you prefer).

We will be sewing the sashing strips to the right hand edge of all the blocks listed in column 1 and column 2 of your quilt map.

Here’s a picture of my quilt so far.  The detailed instructions are below:

As seen above, only the blocks in column 1 and 2 should have sashing attached at this time.

Step One:

Lay the sashing fabric on top of the quilt block with right sides together and raw edges aligned. Sew a 1/4" seam.

I used my 1/4" presser foot to help me sew my sashing with perfect 1/4" seams.

Step Two:

Press the seam just as you stitched it.

Step 3:

Unfold the sashing and press the seam open.

Make sure the seam allowance is pressed towards the sashing.

Repeat these steps for all of the blocks in column 1 and 2.

Stay tuned for T-Shirt Quilt Part 3:  Piecing Tips and Assembling your Quilt Top

That’s all for now!

Let’s get sewing!

Jenny Gabriel – alter ego:  StitchinJenny





This entry was posted in Sewing FYI and tagged , , on by .

About Jennifer Sosa

Jennifer Sosa is a mother of 2 wonderful, creative daughters and grandmother of 1 adorable little boy. During the day, she is an Independent Sewing/Serging and Machine Embroidery Educator teaching Private and Group Classes. In the evenings, she is planning to take over the internet with her amazing online sewing/embroidery tutorials, videos, and blog posts. She's also a bit of a dreamer... P.S. Thank you for checking out my site!

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