T-Shirt Quilt Tutorial with Kathy Decker and Lisa Bongean

Have you ever wondered what to do with those old t-shirts and sweatshirts that you just can’t seem to part with? I think we all have a few hoarded away – whether they be keepsakes of our kids growing up, or memories from our own wardrobes from back in the day. We stash them safely away in our closets, keeping them for years on end – but for what? I keep saying to myself I’m going to do something with these old things…someday… I swear! I’m happy to say I finally have a solution. My friend Kathy Decker has a great idea that gets those old keepsakes out of the basement and onto your wall or bed, with a simple and fun t-shirt quilt and pillow project!

If you know anything about my friend Kathy, it’s that she’s not only a great quilter but also an excellent teacher. She was gracious enough to spend some time with me last week in the studio where she shared a really cool way to honor a special person or time in your life – all while recycling old shirts into something new and creative. The example she brought was a piece she recently did for a childhood friend who’s mother passed away a few years ago. Kathy’s mother had been best friends with the woman who passed for 55 years, so of course she said yes to the project. She explained, “My friend’s career was in sports so she took her mom to a lot of district championships, the final four, and that sort of thing. These t-shirts were pretty special to her. My friend was a coach at Culver Stockton and this one says, ‘Coach’s Mom,’ so I’m sure it got a lot of use a long time ago back in the 90’s.” What a cool way to commemorate such an important aspect of their lives. The idea of giving these old shirts new life in such a creative way really warms my heart.

I’m super excited that Kathy is here to take the mystery out of expert t-shirt quilting and pillow making for us. I wanted to share her wisdom on the topic with you all, so we put together a great little step-by-step tutorial where she explains all her tips and tricks for you to get the perfect t-shirt quilt every time. You can check that out by visiting my, “Stitch with Lisa Bongean” YouTube page or by hitting the link below! Lisa Bongean and Kathy Decker showing t-shirt pillow examples.

Another reason I like the idea of t-shirt quilts and pillows is that you really don’t need a lot of supplies to make one. Obviously, you’ll need a bunch of old t-shirts and sweatshirts to get started, but once you’ve selected which shirts you’ll be using the rest is pretty simple. If you’re already an avid quilter, you will probably have most of the supplies you’ll need already on hand for this project.Lisa Bongean watches Kathy Decker demo how to make a t-shirt quilt

I have a complete list of the supplies Kathy uses listed in the comments under the video. She does a great job thoroughly explaining each one and how to use it. If you don’t already have all of the recommended supplies, you can find them on our website by clicking the button below.

If you’re making a t-shirt memory project but don’t have a lot of shirts to use – or if you have shirts that are too large to fit into a quilt, don’t worry. Pillows are another way you can do this project without needing a ton of shirts to complete it. The technique for preparing t-shirts for pillows is basically the same as the quilt, but requires only one shirt to finish the project. Once your shirt is ready, you can watch my Covered Zipper Pillow Tutorial for instructions on how to complete your pillow. Do you have a lot of shirts but simply like the idea for pillows better? That’s ok too! Pillows are a great idea for someone with a lot of grandchildren or extended family members. This way, you have several pieces to pass out to each child or family member as a way to honor your loved one. In other words, many shirts can turned into one full quilt or multiple pillows to share with family and friends.

I hope you are as excited about t-shirt quilts and pillows as I am. I can’t tell you how many old t-shirts and other garments I’ve kept over the years simply because the nostalgia connected to them is just to great to let go. What a nice idea for something to snuggle and cuddle with when you’re missing the person it once belonged to.

Make sure you check-in with us tomorrow on 2-22-2022. Considering the date has so many, “2’s” in it we miiiight just have to come up with something clever and fun to go along with it… And don’t forget about, “Stitch with Lisa Bongean LIVE Thursday on YouTube! We have been getting a lot of questions regarding our Red & White Challenge, so I’ll be going over more specific details on that. We’ll also be discussing my quilt, Wildflower with my good friend and special guest Linda Hrcka from The Quilted Pineapple in MI. I’m really looking forward to it, I always love chatting it up with Linda! I hope to see you all there! ~Lisa

Get 20% OFF Store-Wide Today!

Hey everybody! It’s Thursday again, so you know what that means – Stitch with Lisa Bongean goes LIVE at 1PM on YouTube! If you’ve been following my blog or Facebook page this week, you know that Primitive Gatherings has officially reached 20,000 followers on my, Stitch with Lisa Bongean Facebook page! Thanks again to all of you for helping us to meet such an awesome milestone. Seems like just yesterday we were in a tiny little shop with only a few employees back in Menasha. I’m still a bit in disbelief that I get to live my dreams through the growing success of Primitive Gatherings every day. I could not have done it without my family, friends, staff…and of course all of you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

As a way to show my gratitude, I have a big surprise for everyone! TODAY ONLY I am giving you 20% OFF ALL PURCHASES from the shop, website or via phone order (offer excludes pre-orders, thread kits and sewing machines) through midnight today, Thursday February 10th, 2022!!! In other words, if you’ve been contemplating a new project or just need to stock up on supplies, today is the day to do it. Don’t wait, at a 20% discount, you really can’t go wrong! To get your 20% discount, simply enter the code 20K1DAY at checkout.

As I mentioned yesterday, I will also be giving away prizes to 20 lucky viewers during my YouTube LIVE, Stitch with Lisa Bongean today at 1PM CST! Names will be drawn from those of you who leave comments, and will be announced live on air as we pick them! Take a look at some of the goodies selected from the shop as prizes…

Jess did a wonderful job with her prize selections, don’t you think? She chose a variety of items I think any stitcher would appreciate winning. She included Jelly Rolls, Charm Packs, Layer Cakes, a wool ironing mat, PG coffee tumblers, Magic Pins, Valdani threads, a couple of Fat Quarter Towers, ceramic thread bowls, a PG tote bag, PG patches, some of my all-time favorite books….and more! We actually had to move some things around in the studio just to make room for it all. LOL! I really hope you get in on the fun and are lucky enough to win something!

Just a quick note on my favorite patient at Anchor Point… I know you all have been wondering about Nick’s progress and I’m happy to say everything is going smoothly. He is going to physical therapy twice a week as prescribed. Surprisingly, he reports PT is the best part of all of this (in my experience physical therapy was always more like PT = pain and torture!). They exercise and stretch his shoulder out, which he says feels amazing since it’s usually confined to his sling – even while he sleeps! It’s one of the only things that provides him any relief, otherwise he’s pretty uncomfortable overall. Sleeping is still one of his biggest challenges considering he can’t take the sling off, so he’s only able to manage a few hours at a time. It should be about three more weeks with this sling on. After that, we’re not sure what he’ll type he’ll get. Either way he’s looking forward to being rid of the big, bulky one and into something a little less cumbersome.

That’s all for today everyone. Don’t forget to join me at 1PM today for your chance to win during, Stitch with Lisa Bongean! Remember, all you have to do to enter for a chance to win a prize is leave us a comment during the show. If you can’t tune-in during the LIVE broadcast, don’t worry! I will also be giving prizes to 20 people who make a purchase from Primitive Gatherings either at the shop, through the website, or over the phone! Those winners will be notified by email. Don’t throw your luck away, join us for, Stitch with Lisa Bongean at 1PM CST by hitting the link below!

As usual we will be discussing any shop news and announcements, upcoming retreats, and an exciting t-shirt quilt project we’ll be doing a tutorial on in the future. Make sure to leave me a comment – today especially – for a chance to win a prize! It’s your comments, likes and shares that have helped us to accomplish our social media goals this far. Let’s keep it up! After all, every new milestone is another reason to celebrate and we can’t have too many of those! Take care. ~Lisa