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Shirt-Pocket Quilt

This pocketed quilt, made from recycled shirts, will look sweet hanging on the wall of any child's room.




  • Old shirts and/or jeans
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric
  • Pins
  • Fusible interfacing
  • 1/4-inch thick batting
  • Dowel


  1. Step 1

    Start by cutting nine 11-inch squares from the front portions of shirts, keeping pockets in the centers of the squares; or trim the pockets off shirts or jeans, and mix and match with different materials (below, left). To create the quilt's top row, pin two of the squares together, right sides facing, and sew with a 1/2-inch seam allowance; add a third square to complete the row (below, right). Press the seams open. Repeat to make the middle and bottom rows. Sew the three rows together to form a square, and press seams open.

  2. Step 2

    To make the quilt's border, cut four strips of fabric to the following dimensions: For the bottom, one 2-1/2-by-34-inch piece of fabric; for the sides, two 2 1/2-by-31-inch pieces; and for the top, one 3-by-34-inch piece. If you wish, add four buttonholes to the top piece, and sew buttons on top of them -- they're just decorative, so you don't need to open the buttonholes. Pin the two side-border pieces to the quilt, right sides facing, and sew them together using a 1/2-inch seam allowance; then pin and sew the top and bottom borders. Press all seams open.

  3. Step 3

    Add four tabs at the top of the quilt for hanging: Cut four 5-by-4-inch strips of fabric. Fold strips in half lengthwise, right sides facing, and stitch the long edges together to form tubes. Turn tubes right side out, press flat, and fold in the middle to form tabs. Pin tabs along the top of the quilt, directly on top of buttons (if you didn't sew on buttons, space tabs evenly). Baste tabs to quilt, and remove pins.

  4. Step 4

     To fill the quilt, cut one piece of fusible interfacing and one piece of fabric, each measuring 34 by 34 1/2 inches. Iron the interfacing to the back of the quilt. Next, pin the fabric to the quilt with the right sides facing, and sew around the perimeter with a 1/2-inch seam allowance, leaving a 24-inch-wide opening at the bottom of the quilt. Turn the quilt right side out, and insert a piece of 1/4-inch thick batting measuring 33 by 33 1/2 inches. Tack the batting in place at the intersections of the squares, and slip-stitch the opening closed by hand. Hang quilt from a dowel.

  5. Step 5

    Turn the quilt right side out, and insert a piece of 1/4-inch thick batting measuring 33 by 33 1/2 inches. Tack the batting in place at the intersections of the squares, and slip-stitch the opening closed by hand. Hang quilt from a dowel.

Clotheskeeping, Special Issue 1998



Reviews (33)

  • CraftyLadyTOO 4 Oct, 2009

    Additional comment: Instead of a dowel rod inserted in the top is a yard stick.

  • CraftyLadyTOO 4 Oct, 2009

    My sister made me one of these for Christmas yeeeears ago. It hangs on the wall behind my sewing machine. The pockets hold various sewing notions and looped strips of elastic hold various sizes of thread. I think I will make one of these for my daughter using various scraps of material that I used to make dresses for her as a child. (Yes, I still have those scraps. )

  • MountainberryButterfly 6 Feb, 2009

    We made these out of denim, only smaller and with the 6 pockets closer together. The size to fit in school lockers. We decorated them with ribbon, buttons, and fabric paint. Added a hanging loop in the center behind the dowel. Put them out at a craft sale. We sold all 12 in the first 2 hours, and had orders for more.

  • npooh 3 Nov, 2008

    A little different use of a pocket type hanger is as I have done. hanging it near your sewing machine with your notions in the pockets. You can also put elastic loops for holding anything round.
    Npooh from Everett

  • SOMERSIZING 24 Sep, 2008


  • kelsker 23 Sep, 2008

    Here's an idea for a different application. Instead of the back being fabric, how about using a sturdy mil of clear plastic that you sew the pockets onto. Fill with your costume jewelry and hang. Only twirl it around to see what you want to pick out and wear. Otherwise, it doesn't "advertise" your jewelry

  • Trostle1 23 Sep, 2008

    I think it is a cute idea and easy for kids to use for small toys. Maxiecat

  • missvito 23 Sep, 2008

    Too time consuming and not attractive..."homemade" looking (as opposed to "handmade")

  • deedea 23 Sep, 2008

    This would have been "Funky" in the 70's, but it is dated and a dust collector.....I want some newer, classic and less-maintanince-type items. Time to think outsde the box

  • MJBaby 23 Sep, 2008

    I know what you're saying - I've seen a lot of her ideas being recycled over and over again in the same month if not the same season. We need some new ideas!!

  • virginiabound 23 Sep, 2008

    Didn't we just see this last week. . . . .and last month? C'mon Martha!!

  • ladyafl 22 Sep, 2008

    I would really like to try this one, but I have to admit that I am a little perplexed. WHere in the directions does it address 'closing' the border pieces and finishing off the corners where they intersect? I am NOT a strong quilter! Thanks!

  • waynette 18 Sep, 2008

    You can also cut your 11 inch squares and make your own pockets in differant shapes and sizes for many sizes of toys etc. And many colors can brighten up a room. You could also put a small picture of things on each pocket to show a toddler where to put things up.

  • mistybleu 18 Sep, 2008

    What a Sweet Idea! Thats just the perfect gift for my little grandchild, Georgia, who is going to be three years old very soon. She will love that, for her little dolls (little people) That will teach her to keep her room tidy. Thankyou Martha, you're a genious!

  • southerngrandma 18 Sep, 2008

    How cute is that?????????!
    you, sweetie, could give Martha and her staff a run for thier money!

  • peggyswain 18 Sep, 2008

    Oh goody another reason to visit the second hand store.

  • Cyndeebee 18 Sep, 2008

    Forget putting this is a child's room. It's going in my bedroom! I'm in the process of redecorating my bedroom, and I somehow have to combine a restful sleep area with my craft room. (Two bedroom apartment.) I'm using a previous Craft of the Day - pegboard - to store and hang craft tools, etc., and I'm definitely going to make this little quilt to hang from the pegboard. Thanks again for a great idea!

  • handfieldshalom 29 Aug, 2008

    I just made this for my sister's new baby in pink and green and made coordinating stuffed animals from the leftover fabric.
    Great idea, Martha

  • handfieldshalom 29 Aug, 2008

    I just made this in pink and green with stuffed animals from a vintage pattern. Great idea, Martha

  • hoffmkc 2 Aug, 2008

    I used all denim fabric (old jeans) for mine, and it's sturdy enough for my three year old to store his stuffed animals in.

  • laurambrogan 1 Aug, 2008

    looks too floppy, maybe a heavier interface...or something other than the batting to give it more body Laura

  • KathMeg 1 Aug, 2008

    I am wondering about pressing the seams open as the directions suggest. In quilting we press the seams together to one side to increase strength. I would think that would be helpful in this project.

  • TooFarNorth 1 Aug, 2008

    My cousin just lost her husband to brain cancer and another cousin made her a quilt much like this from his shirts. Not to be morbid, but it's been comforting to have his familiar shirts preserved.

  • damoorern 31 Jul, 2008

    Great for your sewing room and a great gift for a crafter. Second hand stores have many shirts of different colors and patterns to make this a practical project.

  • jansquires 31 Jul, 2008

    What a great project. Our daughter is many states away so I'll make one for her laundry room and embroider "My Dad's Shirts" on it! Thanks!

  • kelsker 31 Jul, 2008

    I think you should change the name of this "craft" to be more appropriate to "organizing". These comments from your viewers/readers are much more creative than a wall hanging in a baby's room displaying small stuffed animals. Any of the above suggestions would have been a better name! Writers take note of what your readers want ... organizing tips ... you can name it a wall hanging for your craft or decorating section.

  • chilemom24 31 Jul, 2008

    This would be a great toy or pencil holder for the child in the back seat in the car! You could attach this to the back side of the front seat, with ribbons, elastic or velcro, depending on the size of the seats in the car. Great idea! Thanks!

  • OK46 31 Jul, 2008

    I am trying this for the pantry door in my kitchen for those "cooking utensils" you never find.

  • Cattrix 31 Jul, 2008

    I LOVE this idea... and as I love to quilt and have "stash" this one is going on my list for a Christmas gift for several kiddos in my extended family!

  • Tinadealy 31 Jul, 2008

    You can also hang it on the side of a "pack and play" or crib...when the baby is small. It is perfect for creams and powders.

  • Anna_Marie 31 Jul, 2008

    You could also use handkerchiefs for the background material.

  • Anna_Marie 31 Jul, 2008

    What a sweet way to pass on a memento of a loved one no longer there....use some of grandpa's shirts or grandma's apron pockets...could be passed down to the newest babies in the family, between the cousins!

  • melaniemgray 24 Jan, 2008

    This is a great organizing idea... and can be customized to gender, theme of room and style choices. Also a great way to add safe wall hangings.