t-shirt blanket tutorial

tshirt blanket

six months ago (don’t hate because i’m so behind on things) i made a chicago sports themed t-shirt blanket for the baby shower of this handsome little man.


for baby showers, i always like to give something homemade (for a personal touch) along with something from the registry (for a practical touch). as our friend john, the dad, is a huge chicago sports fan, and they were expecting a little boy, the idea for the blanket was sparked when i saw another friend’s t-shirt blanket (theirs was a bit more complicated and larger, this is my simple version).

the blanket is fairly simple, especially since you don’t need to bind it. the hardest part may be collecting enough t-shirts to use! if you don’t have a bunch of extras lying around, like me, the thrift store is a great place to find them (and of course wash before you make the blanket, please). or you could ask friends and family to donate old shirts, so the blanket will be even more special.

(note: the size of the blanket is really up to you and your materials – the number of shirts available and the size of the squares from them, and the width and length of your backing fabric).

step 1. gather t-shirts to be used. the amount of t-shirts needed depends on the size of the blanket (or, the amount of t-shirts gathered decides the size of the blanket! i gathered about 16 shirts, and used 12 for the blanket)

step 2. decide how large you want each t-shirt square to be and make a template for easy measuring. the size of the t-shirts determines the largest size possible (the  area below the neck and between the sleeves). i found the smallest t-shirt i wanted to use and made the biggest square possible out of it, to be used for all other t-shirts.


step 3. use the template to cut squares of the t-shirts (i also used a straight edge for extra strength and my rotary cutter).


step 4. arrange your t-shirt squares to find the pattern you like. i laid mine down on my backing fabric (blue, soft minky, one of my favorites) to check how many across and long would fit.


step 5. flip over one square onto the square next to it, so the right sides are together. pin along the inner edge (the edge that joins the squares within the blanket – not a top, bottom or outer edge). sew along the pinned edge (i used a 1/4″ seam allowance).

face to face

sew along edge

step 6. open the two squares you just sewed, and repeat step 5 with the next square in the row. do this for all squares in your row (if it’s only 3 like me, the row is done; ignore my upside down squares below).

pin next square

step 7. follow steps 5 and 6 for all rows. rows

step 8. flip one row on top of the one below or above it, so the right sides are together. pin along the inner edge and sew, making sure to open the row seams so they lay flat.

rows together


step 9. repeat step 8, attaching all rows together. you will end up with one large piece, the front of your blanket.

step 10. lay the back fabric right side up, and the t-shirt front right side down on top. pin all around and sew (again i used a 1/4″ seam allowance), back stitching at the beginning and end. make sure to leave an opening to turn it right-side out – i left the length of a square unsewn.

sewn together

step 11. trim the corners and turn right-side out through the opening.


turn right side out

step 12. pin opening shut, folding in fabric to match seam allowance. sew around entire blanket perimeter, back stitching at beginning and end.

pin opening




both the back and the front are so soft, perfect for cuddling.


top stitch

beck and blanket

one of my favorite t-shirts was too small to be used in the blanket, so i whipped up an easy burp cloth out of it. after trimming the shirt to size, i cut a piece of terry cloth fabric the same size for the back. with right sides  pinned together, i sewed around the edge, leaving an opening a few inches wide. after turning right side out, i turned in the opening edges to match the seam allowance, pinned, and sewed around the entire edge. done!

burp cloth

burp cloth

happy sewing!

though i have plans to make my son a chenille blanket, ryan has informed me that he also needs a chicago sports t-shirt blanket of his own. i need to start collecting the shirts now…


linked to remodelaholic


weekend recap: friends & family

this past weekend was a blur of friends, family, cleaning and eating. it went by way too fast, even more so because of the time change (ok, only an hour faster, but still). i love that it will by light out when i leave work, but the “spring ahead” time change makes it hard to fall asleep and wake up, so i’m quite tired today.

friday ryan and i had dinner at a byob argentinian steakhouse, tango sur, with friends holly and fritz. it was our first time and it was delicious. all four of us shared a couple appetizers and the most gigantic steak i’ve ever seen, and still had leftovers. after dinner we headed to an improv comedy show at the io theater and had a bunch of laughs.

ry & i

fritz & hollyfritz & holly

saturday we had my family over for dinner to celebrate my mom’s birthday, so the day was spent cleaning the house (it’s kind of nice to have a reason to clean, since i’ve been fairly lazy lately) and making some food.

we started off the night eating some appetizers of pesto pinwheels

pesto pinwheels

and chili cheese dip (courtesy of my sisters),

cheese dip

and played a surprisingly hard game, battle of the sexes (though we did learn some things).

battle of the sexes

we made people cook their own dinner……fondue!


we served steak, chicken, zucchini, mushrooms and peppers to cook, with the option of a beer batter, as well as ranch, bbq sauce and a teriyaki sauce for dipping. so fun and good.

while the dessert was baking, we played a game our friends taught us (holly & fritz) that we might have to come up with a way to sell, it’s so hilarious. it’s kind of a cross between telephone and pictionary (which is probably confusing, but it’s the best i got).


for dessert i made the pioneer woman’s blackberry cobbler, served piping hot with vanilla ice cream.


it was so warm when served (even after sitting for 10 minutes or so), the candles were melting from the bottom up as well (and you can see how they were falling as a result, below).

cobbler & candles

it may have been the fastest rendition of happy birthday we’ve ever sung.

the night was so much fun, and it was great to spend time with my whole family, including  my sister jenna who was home from college.

jenna & jordanjordan & jenna


justine & momme & mom

sunday there were a lot of dishes to clean, i made it to another workout class (for the fourth time since monday’s first one. yay me.) and ryan and i enjoyed indian food for dinner while watching due date (quite funny).

how was your weekend?did you eat as much as i did even though you’re supposed to be on a diet? remember to set your clocks ahead?

have a great week. i’ll be back later today, as it’s somebody special’s birthday today.


the 15-hour-but-worth-it blanket

when i saw dana’s tutorial for a faux chenille blanket on her blog, made, (via jessica at running with scissors) it jumped out at me and said “make me”, so i saved it in my inspiration files for a future opportunity. that opportunity came from my cousin who is expecting baby jillyan in march and her baby shower (that i attended last weekend).

i went to my new favorite store, joann fabrics, in search of pink and brown fabrics, to match the nursery colors. as always, it took me forever to make a decision but i made one and came home with these:

fabric choices

yes, those are skull and crossbones, made adorable with hearts and the color scheme. i hearted it so much i couldn’t not use it (i have to admit, i was a little nervous about my choice and had to ask a friend for their opinion, and luckily she thought it was cute too). it was girly but with an edge.

(note: all fabrics chosen were flannel)

so i sewed. and i sewed. and i sewed. i seriously didn’t know if the sewing would ever end. but then i finished the first half  and moved on to the second half. to sew the second half, i rotated my blanket 180*, since my needle doesn’t have a left position (so the guide lines had to be on the left). here i am trying to demonstrate this:

not enough spacing(needle in center postion, can’t go left = not enough spacing using the right side of the foot/sewn line as a guide)

correct spacing after rotating(after turning 180*, needle in right position = same/correct spacing.)

(you can also see my wonky lines. everything turns out fine if not perfect.)

so i sewed. and i sewed. and i sewed. and again wondered if it would ever end. but it did, approximately seven and a half hours later (from the start of sewing, in multiple sittings). now, i’m not the most experienced, fastest sewer, and i did have hiccups here and there, but the point is, this takes a long ass time. i just want to be honest and prepare you.

lots o lines

then i cut and i cut and i cut.

cutting lines

and then i didn’t pay attention and cut through about five inches of the back fabric. and then i swore. and then i almost cried. and then i tried to zig zag stitch it together to fix.


and then i realized that was so not the way to correct the mistake (since i couldn’t cut through the stiches on only three of the four layers). so in the end, i just lopped of the mistake and one side is five inches shorter than planned (and now my secret’s out. but you wouldn’t have known otherwise).

i continued to and cut and cut. and approximately six hours later (from the start of cutting, in multiple sittings) i was done. again, just keeping it real.

i trimmed her up nice and even, added rounded corners, pinned the binding around the edges and then sewed on the binding (all together took about an hour and a half). then i put her in the wash to see the chenille magic happen. and it. was. awesome.

chenille closeup

so soft and cuddly, just the way a baby’s blanket should be. and super cool looking. cue lots of glamour shots now:

blanketblanket 2blanket 3blanket backchenille blanket folded

(i wish computers had touch-a-vision, because these pics don’t do it justice)

i love it times 1,000. it was totally worth the 15 hours i spent sewing and cutting (and complaining). though next time i will give myself a lot longer than two weeks to complete.

(note: dana linked to the aesthetic nest’s tutorial, which i also read before starting).

couple notes from yours truly:

-i did not use spray adhesive before sewing. flannel fabrics seem to “stick” together more than some other materials (that’s the impression i get). i don’t think my fabrics shifted so much that i should have (so the choice is up to you).

-buy three 250-yard spools of thread, just to be safe. i bought two and luckily had the same color at home, because i did use a little bit of the third (you may not need it, but better than having to run to the store).

-after re-reading the tutorials to write this post, i realized i should have sewn with the back fabric (skull and crossbones) facing up, because the bottom side is where thread mishaps can be seen, and the chenille side would be more forgiving.

-i don’t know if i have a small presser foot or what, but using the edge of it as a guide against the lines gave me a width of 3/8 of an inch, so that was my spacing, vs. the recommended 1/2 inch (close. but that extra 1/8 of an inch would have cut my time a little and made for slightly ‘fluffier’ chenille).

-as suggested by the aesthetic nest, a chenille cutter would have been extremely helpful. my hands were in pain after cutting (and i even used spring action scissors) and it probably save time.

i have to admit, it was kind of hard to part with it, after spending so long with it. but i can always make another (over the course of months, not weeks, to save my hands, my sanity and my social life).