T-Shirt Quilts: Part 3 – Layout

Now that all of our t-shirts are stabilized with fusible interfacing, it is time to trim them up to their correct size.

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 6.30.06 PM.pngStep 4:  Square your blocks

This step can be tedious.  Turn on some music or an audiobook.

For this quilt I will be making 18″ finished blocks, so I want to trim them to 18.5″.  I lay my ruler on top and make sure the design is centered nicely.  For this one, because of the large block size, my images are up a little higher than I would like, but the client wants a large block.  Once I’m happy with positioning, I trim it up.


Then I do it again, and again.

IMG_5192.jpgStep 5:  Design layout

This step is always easiest with a design wall.  Right now I’m using a temporary design wall, made from a photographer’s backdrop stand.  I know other quilters have success with hanging up batting, or even that fuzzy backed plastic tablecloth fabric.  Whatever you have to do, getting your blocks up and then being able to step back makes a huge difference in being able to gauge visual impact.

I like to get a good balance of color distribution.  Sometimes working with t-shirts is tough from an artistic standpoint.  They can all look so different and don’t always look fabulous together.  That is where the design wall can help.

This isn’t the best position for my wall – it is hard to get back very far.  Unfortunately, I’m only allowed to work in my studio, which is full of my longarm.  I have temporary custody of the dining room, but I need to finish up and clean up soon.  I’ve been informed that the room is needed for a Dungeons and Dragons session soon.

Previous posts in the T-shirt Quilt series: 

T-Shirt Quilts: Generating an Estimate

T-Shirt Quilts: Prepare the Shirts



4 thoughts on “T-Shirt Quilts: Part 3 – Layout

  1. Thanks for sharing your process. Mine is waiting for more energy to get underway. I am thinking next summer….maybe. Not ready to commit to it, just yet.


  2. I’ve managed to skip making a T-shirt quilt, but I certainly know where to look for help when the time comes!
    My D&D player usually geeks out on Wednesday nights, too. Must be a Thing. It got postponed this week in favor of the Geminid meteor showers, but it might be too cloudy.


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