How To: T-shirt Quilt (Quilting)

Finishing Your Quilt

Now you’re at the quilting stage of your quilt.  Here is where you decide if you’re going to tie-tack, hand, machine, or ‘Quilt as You Go’.  However, if you are going to ‘Quilt As You Go’ – that will effect how you will put your quilt together in previous steps.  To learn more about ‘Quilt As You Go’, click here or check out this site. ‘Quilt As You Go’ is handy for larger/thicker quilts where you can’t get the quilt under the arm of the machine.

To learn about tie-tack quilting, go here.

To learn about hand quilting, go here.

For our quilt, we decided to machine quilt.  The design was going to be pretty simple, just going ‘in the ditch’ where the pieces come together.  It would give us the support we needed, and not get in the way of the design.  I have seen machine quilting all over the design, and it looks nice…but it’s just personal preference.


As for supplies, you will want to purchase a high quality thread (aka not the cheap stuff).  We used regular thread for ours, but if you are working on a thick quilt, then you might want to use a different thread.  This is where your fabric store associate can come in handy.

Fill a fresh bobbin to limit the chance of running out of thread mid-row.  Check your thread after each row.

One of the reasons you pin the quilt together is to keep the fabric from ‘walking’ and puckering your fabric.  Work slow and set the speed of your machine down if you can.  To limit walking, we used a walking foot (pictured at right).    It is a handy thing to you have and you will be very satisfied in the result.  A walking foot is a great investment and is hand on knits and slick fabrics.

Setting Up To Quilt

Set up your sewing machine on your large workspace so most of the weight of the quilt and the machine are on the same surface.  This will limit unwanted pulling as you sew.  If you have a plastic shelf that slides onto your sewing machine, all the better.

Having a second set of hands will make this easier.  Starting with your vertical quilting, tightly roll your pinned quilt so that it will fit under the arm of your sewing machine.  Make sure that you sew in the same direction to limit walking.  Start on the far side, see picture at right.  Remove pins as your sew, so you don’t risk breaking your needle.  Check your sewing as you go, especially the back side.  Correct as you go.  Unroll as you go to make the rows.

Rotate and do the same with your horizontal quilting.  Once you’ve checked the back of the quilt. sew along the outer edge.  Trim excess batting and backing.


Prep your binding.  We had enough of the backing to make our binding out of it.  Matching black is a pain and so we decided this would be the best bet.  It ended up being straight grain binding, but that will work since I won’t be using the quilt on a regular basis.  Follow the direction on your package of binding or these instructions.  Sewing your binding with a machine will give you a cleaner look, but if you want to hand sew the last step, it will give you a hand-made finished look.

Here is a picture of our finished binding and you can see the quilting as well.

At this point, tie off any loose ends and work them into the quilt.  Enjoy your quilt and show it off!  It’s a personal work of art!

After finishing my quilt, I had some extra material left over so I will be making a matching pillow case and travel bag.  Check back later for the results!

Table of Contents
How To: T-shirt Quilt (Introduction)
How To: T-shirt Quilt (Tools)
How To: T-shirt Quilt (Fabric and Sashing)
How To: T-shirt Quilt (Fusing and Piecing)
How To: T-shirt Quilt (Assembly)
How To: T-shirt Quilt (Quilting)


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