Make a Memory Quilt  from  Old Clothes

I made a goal in the wintertime to make a quilt for our family that we could use for picnics and other outings- something that I would feel fine about throwing on the ground and getting dirty ;)  So throughout the winter, I collected clothes that my youngest had grown out of or that had gotten a little worn out or stained.  I am saving my favorite outfits for a “baby clothes quilt” (Have you seen those? They’re adorable!), but for this project, I wanted the old/stained/worn out clothes (the ones the thrift stores don’t even want) ;)

When I finally felt I had enough clothes (including a pair of plaid PJ bottoms of mine that shrunk and an old crib sheet), I got to work cutting out 6×6″ squares of fabric.  Eventually, I had enough squares to make a quilt that was 12 by 12 squares.

Below you can see a picture of the squares laid out on the floor, and I’ve added a few photos showing my oldest wearing the shirts that some of the squares are made from (my youngest also wore them, so they’ve been through a lot).

Make a Memory Quilt  from  Old Clothes

Once I figured out how I wanted to organize my squares, I sewed the squares into rows and then sewed the rows together until I had the front of the quilt done.

Then I called my mom before making a trip to the fabric store for the back piece and filling and was so happy to find a way to do that for free, too!

She had this old white blanket that I could use for the filling:

Make a Memory Quilt  from  Old Clothes

And a pink fitted sheet that we cut the elastic off of to use for the back of the quilt:

Make a Memory Quilt  from  Old Clothes

I sewed the three layers of the quilt together so that they would be inside out (but left a bit un-sewed so that I could flip it right side out).  After flipping it, I hand stitched the hole closed.  Then top stitched around the outside of the quilt:

Make a Memory Quilt  from  Old Clothes

The next step was to “stitch in the ditch” by machine.  First I pinned all of the squares because I wanted to make sure I didn’t end up with any bunched up bits of fabric in the middle of the quilt.

Make a Memory Quilt  from  Old Clothes

My 3 year old was an excellent helper for this stage- passing me safety pins :)

Make a Memory Quilt  from  Old Clothes

I was so happy when I got it finished!  And what a bonus that it cost me nothing but time and the cost of thread!   It is NOT a perfect quilt- you could find a bunch of mistakes in it.  You can already see grass stains on it, and I think that’s PERFECT for what I want to use it for!  I love that I don’t have to worry about it if it gets dirty, and that I know I can throw it in the wash as often as needed.  I also love that it’s full of memories because I can just see my little girls in the clothes that the fabric came from!

I can’t wait to get some use out of it this summer! :)

Make a Memory Quilt  from  Old Clothes

If you enjoyed this post, you should hop over to my blog & see what other interesting sewing projects I’ve tried ;)

Make a Memory Quilt  from  Old Clothes

Heather Lynne

19 Comments
COMMENTS
  1. June 26th, 2012 at 6:27 am
    Patti G says:
    I made one of these for each of my sister's for Christmas a few years ago with scraps from our parents clothes who had both passed away.
    A cherished gift/memory that they both treasure & I so enjoyed making for them!
    • June 26th, 2012 at 11:06 am
      Heather Lynne says:
      That is SUCH a great idea! Thanks for sharing that!!
    • August 22nd, 2013 at 11:20 am
      Gin Robinson says:
      Since My Precious Momma passed away October 29, 2012, my Sister & I are just now beginning the "Very Dreadful" and are going through and sorting Momma's belongs (almost 62 years of "Stuff")
      I really WANT to make us a "Memorial Quilt" from all of her clothes. I have never began such a project and have NO CLUE where to start! I know this is possible if I set my mind to it because it's something that means so very much to me!
      I would LOVE to connect with some of you that has already tackled this project! (maybe hear some of your "do's & dont's")
      Anyone willing to share some info.....I will forever be GREATFUL!
      Thank You All Again & Again!
      ~ginger
  2. June 26th, 2012 at 6:46 am
    Jen says:
    I have wanted to try this for years and have piles of clothes waiting. Thanks ever so much for the tutorial!
    • June 26th, 2012 at 11:06 am
      Heather Lynne says:
      You're welcome! It is worth the work/wait/time! :)
  3. June 26th, 2012 at 6:58 am
    Jillian {Her Split Ends} says:
    Brilliant! I love having the memory of the old clothes and something that your little ones can use for years to come!!

    Cheers
    ~ Jillian
    www.hersplitends.com
  4. June 26th, 2012 at 7:21 am
    alison@howdoesshe.com says:
    SOOO...cute. I did this, but mine turned into a pillow case because I couldn't get it to line up correctly and had to stop early. Super fun idea!!
    • June 26th, 2012 at 11:08 am
      Heather Lynne says:
      :) I had some wonky squares because of all of the different fabric types- some of them were much stretchier than the others! But I decided in advance that I was going to embrace the imperfect for this project ;) so I went for it. I like the idea of a pillow case, though! I do have more clothes I could use... :)
      • October 29th, 2013 at 11:34 pm
        kelcey b says:
        My father recently got rid of a lot of his clothes that he no longer could wear so I have saved modt of then to make a quilt. Is it ok to use different fabrics? Do u think it woulf be ok to use different size squares as long as I have enough of the sane sizes?? Thanks for your help on this! I've just recently started learning to sew!!
  5. June 26th, 2012 at 8:15 am
    Chris B. says:
    Thank you for this. My father passed away in March of 2012. I was looking for an idea to keep his memory. Thank you you were/ are inspired to published this blog post . Thank you.
    • June 26th, 2012 at 3:18 pm
      Heather Lynne says:
      You are so welcome! Thanks for commenting, it is good to know that you will be able to use this idea!!
  6. June 26th, 2012 at 12:50 pm
    Tami says:
    I love everything about that last picture! What a great idea for an outdoor blanket - now I want one too!
    • June 26th, 2012 at 12:52 pm
      Heather Lynne says:
      Thanks Tami! :) My motivation was to get it done before Pageant! I'm so happy I pulled it off!
  7. June 26th, 2012 at 1:25 pm
    Sara says:
    I love this idea! I get attached to my little kids clothes so this would be a fun way to reuse them.
  8. June 26th, 2012 at 1:38 pm
    Missy says:
    Love this Heather! Fantastic idea. I have been wanting to make a child memory quilt as well but I didn't think to make one from the scraps of the clothes that would be trash and use it outside for picnics - so fun.
  9. June 26th, 2012 at 2:23 pm
    Rachelle says:
    IT LOOKS SOO GREAT!!! Now you can help me make one. :)
  10. June 27th, 2012 at 6:35 pm
    Jody says:
    I have been saving my kids clothes for awhile to make one of these. For the back of the quilt, I saved their receiving blankets to patch together. The memories are incredible. Thanks for the post...I think I may FINALLY be able to begin this project this winter....seeing yours has really made me excited!
  11. January 4th, 2013 at 8:35 am
    Paula says:
    I made a quilt for my brother for Christmas from our parents clothing the year after our father passed away. I put their wedding picture in the center and appliquéd their signatures beneath that. I'm also making one for each of my husband's brothers children, from his clothing. I think this is an amazing way to remember someone.
  12. July 21st, 2013 at 6:26 am
    Sandy says:
    I'm getting ready to make my 1st quilt from clothes, the clothes are thin and of knit. Question-should I reinforce the fabric?
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