sweatshirt throw

Household - Inspired recycling

How to make a quilt out of old sweatshirts

Children grow out of sweatshirts at a rate of knots, but what do you do with them once they are past their sell by date. You can always turn them into dusters and cleaning cloths, but sometimes the shirts themselves are just too nice to want to do this. So how about reinventing them into a lovely, cosy quilt to keep you warm on a winter’s evening?

 You will need

  • Old sweatshirts
  • Needle and cotton
  • Fleece or more old sweatshirts for the backing
  • Buttons, felt etc for decoration

 Step one – Decide on your pattern

Before you start to work on your design you will need to see what materials and colours you have to work with.  Sort out the sweatshirts to be used into piles according to colour, texture and or patterns. The biggest pile will become your main colour, the rest will be fitted into your design.

The best way to create a design is to use graph paper so that you can scale your design down and make sure that you will have enough of each colour. This allows you to build up your pattern from the centre out.

Alternatively you can build your design up as you go by simply creating 12inch squares that you can join together at the end. This method will be a more random design, but allows you to work with smaller squares as you build up your confidence.

Step two – Start cutting out

Make sure you use a ruler to get your sizing right…the old saying ‘measure twice, cut once’ comes to mind. This is important as you don’t want to run out of fabric.



Step three – Start sewing

This quilt can be sewn either by hand or by machine. If using a machine you will need to use a larger stitch and looser tension to make sure it doesn’t start pulling. However if you are sewing by hand you are best to use a backstitch to make sure that stitching is firm enough.

Step four – Embellish

Once you have completed the front part of quilt you can embellish it in any way you like. For this quilt we have used old bits of felt, wool and old buttons.


Step five – Create the backing

 The nice thing about this quilt is that you don’t need to buy any wadding as the sweatshirts are thick enough to do this job on their own. However to create a backing for your quilt you will need to either buy some fleecing fabric or you can simply sew together lots of pieces of old sweatshirt, or even an old curtain.

Lay your backing right side down on the floor and lay the top piece right side up on top of it. Make sure the pieces are flat and matched evenly before you tack the pieces together. Then start sewing the two pieces together.

 Step six – Finish off

Once the two pieces are sewn together you can finish off the edges. For this quilt we have made tassels out of the old wool to create a more glamorous effect.

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