AFS T-Shirt Quilt

June has really flown by! I’ll have to do a monthly summary post a bit later on, but for now, I wanted to record a little project that I made for a friend of mine–a quilt made out of t-shirts!

I’m definitely not the first to do this, but this quilt was for a special purpose. On June 15 a party was thrown for a friend of mine, Sue Fershing, in celebration of her 25 years of volunteering for AFS Intercultural Programs.

A few weeks before the party, a colleague of mine, Stephanie and I were chatting about wanting to give her a special gift. Stephanie suggested that we do something with t-shirts since we both have indelible images of Sue proudly wearing her bright yellow, AFS-NJ t-shirt. I suggested collecting t-shirts and making a quilt out of them, and the plan was born.

Here’s how I went about this project.

I started by petitioning for t-shirts. Fellow NJ volunteers and AFS staff pitched in as many spare t-shirts as we could find, from all different times in the organization. There were lots of different colors and designs to choose from. Once I had all the t-shirts I laid them out on the floor to find an order that I liked. I snapped a picture so I would remember what I wanted to do.


Sorry for the poor photo quality.

Once I had my t-shirts sorted out, I needed to find some fabric to tie it all together. My aunt Betsy, the brilliant quilter, reminded me that I had brought back some sarongs from Malaysia two summers ago that might work. This was just so appropriate since I had gone to Malaysia on AFS business, and the fabric contained so many colors that it really tied all the different t-shirts together.

So first I cut all the pieces out. I won’t bore you with the measurements. Cutting is the most tedious part. First I made horizontal bars of three square each, edged with my sarong fabric, like this:


Then I sewed the horizontal bars together with longer pieces of fabric to make the quilt face:



Once I had a whole quilt face, I made a sandwich with the batting in the middle and a large piece of sarong on the back and quilted it by sewing around each square and folding the back over to the front side to seal the sides of the sandwich. Here is the finished product with a corner flipped up so you can see the back.



Sue was definitely surprised by the quilt when I gave it to her at her party. It was the perfect size to serve as a festive banner on the podium. Here is a picture that my mom snapped at the party:

Quilt with Sue


The local paper ran this quilt in an article about Sue, since she is a very active pillar of her community.

That was my special project for a very special lady. Sue was instrumental in my first ever study abroad experience (back before I blogged about it). She’s touched the hearts of many, many exchange students and families over her 25 years of AFS volunteering. Here is to many more.


2 responses to “AFS T-Shirt Quilt

  1. Caroline,

    Thought you might enjoy Ruth’s description of her t-shirt quilt project!

    We so enjoyed last night. Can’t wait for the next time — and for Maine!


  2. Pingback: New Chapter. Page One. | Stamp My Passport, Please·

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