Memory Quilt

I was so honored to be asked to create this memory quilt of a former colleague’s friend who lost her Grandpa.

She sent the box of Grandpa’s shirts for me to use and I could’ve sworn I was opening a box of my very own Grampa’s shirts.  The western button/snap up plaid shirts that I’m sure you’ve seen.  Bestill my beating heart.

Make a Memory Quilt

I looked and looked at them making sure I got the perfect inspiration so I didn’t mess this up.

What did I do?

I cut them in 12.5″ squares.

BUT, the BEST part about some of those squares

I made sure to get the left side of the fronts of the shirts.

I wanted to have the pocket that layed over his heart all over the quilt.

How to make a Memory Quilt

Memory quilts are so emotional to start with, you’re working with clothing that a loved one has WORN.  They have photos of them wearing these clothes.  They attended special parties in them.  They may have hugged you with them on.  These clothes are reminders of such wonderful memories and of the special person that donned them.

How to make a Memory Quilt

I left the pockets of his shirts unstitched.  She can put special momento or a special something of his that she might have in his pockets.  The point is that they are open, there are no stitches going through his left chest pockets.

Make a Memory Quilt

The ‘main’ piece of clothing that she wanted to have the quilt centered around was her Grandpa’s cardigan.  It being a knit, I wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t be compromised.  I made sure to adhere interfacing to the 2 squares that I had cut from the back of the cardigan.

I was left with the 2 arms.

What to do with them?

I stitched the left arm to the underside of the quilt.  She can cozy her body close to the quilt and put her left arm in the very cardigan worn by her Grandpa.  She can feel close to him while snuggled in tight feeling his warmth.

How to make a Memory Quilt

How to make a Memory Quilt

I hand stitched the cardigan on to the underside of the quilt leaving the entry of the arm open to be able to put her arm in.

How to make a Memory Quilt

How to make a Memory Quilt

The tears are welling up …

Here is the front of the Memory Quilt

How to make a Memory Quilt

I stitched the snap/button openings closed in order to use the front of the shirts.

How to make a Memory Quilt

I included parts of the shirts that I thought were appealing.  Such as this orange tag that was on the side of one of his shirts.  Or the ‘flying bird’ logo on the pocket pictured above or the ‘T’ on the white and black plaid shirt above.  It’s those little touches that I love and I’m sure I’m not alone.

How to make a Memory Quilt

Thank you, Josi, for entrusting me with your Grandpa’s shirts.  Thanks for allowing me to put it together for you.  And thank you to your Grandpa for having the same style as my Grampa and allowing me to think of him while I made your Memory Quilt.  Grandpa’s love is the best!

How to make a Memory Quilt

xo Tara


  1. Amazing! What a thoughtful and amazing job you did. Well done? You are an incredible person! Xo

  2. It’s precious! I’ve been thinking about making one with all of my kids first “whatever” holiday outfits, but I’m not a quilter. Do you do this for other people, if you do, could you email me?

  3. Lace Faerie says:

    found this on Pinterest. Brought tears to my eyes! Wonderful, inspired addition to the back!

  4. Love your quilt what sweet memories you have created. I made one out of my dad shirts but I really like your idea also!

  5. This is exactly what I want to do with all of my Dad’s old flannel shirts and give to my Mom so she can have something to juggle with. Do you only do quilts for people that you know?

  6. i am getting ready to make one with my mothers favorite blouses, dresses, houses dresses and cobblers aprons and my fathers shirts. I am getting ideas as how to lay the pieces, batting, backing, and where and how to start

  7. Kimberly Alexander says:

    Hi! I have some of my grandpa’s old shirts and is interested in doing this! I love it! I just gotta ask, how many shirts did you use total? I think I count 10?

    • Hey Kimberly! I think you’re correct. I used the front and the back of the shirts. If you don’t have 10, you could also use the sleeves as a filler. When you make it, please share it! xo Tara

  8. I love making these quilts as well. I also make memory pillows out of a shirt if they only have one or just a few shirts. What size is the pictured quilt? Very good job! I also embroider a poem on them and personalize them as well.

  9. do you make the quilts for just anyone? I would love to have 3 or 4 of them made – based in the number of shirts needed.

  10. Justvcame across your website. Love the memory shirt quilt. Do you make these for other people? Would love to have 3 made from granddad’s shirts

  11. I was asked to make such a quilt from a series of Father’s Day sweatshirts that a friend’s daughters gave to him over the years… I was so afraid of messing up that I couldn’t bring myself to cut into any of them. I was sorry, but couldn’t stand the thought of ruining something that there was absolutely no way of replacing (he had lost one daughter to illness in this timeframe). I so admire what you did… in fact, the story brought tears to my eyes! So wonderful!

    • Thank you, Julie. It is always definitely something I think about when I’m cutting the clothing, however, knowing what it will be in the end makes me carry on and follow through. Measure twice, cut once for sure. My hat is off to you. xo

  12. Robin Tucker says:

    Please email me. I have my Dad’s shirts and would love a quilt. I gave never made a quilt so I would like you to do it for me. I would love to do it but I don’t want to mess it up. I did make a memory pillow from one of his flannel shirts and it turned out real good. Please email me. Thanks Tara.
    Robin Tucker

  13. Debbie Hensley says:

    I would like some information on your memory quilts I love them,my dad passed away in August would like to have one made for my daughter and my niece

  14. Great job on the Quilt. She will have it for years to come to remember her all her Great Memory’s.

  15. Madelyn Rodriguez says:

    Hi Tara, I’m still waiting for you to let me know what to send to you for you to make my father’s memory quilt, and how much it’ll be. Hope you can still make it for me. Thanks so much.


    • Madelyn! I am so sorry! Please accept my apology as I thought I had responded a long time ago. I will respond shortly for sure! xo Tara

  16. Hi tara i would like to know if u can make me a quilt with my dads shirts he recently passed away

  17. My dad passed in April and I have been looking for someone to make a quilt for me from his flannel shirts, dress shirts and tshirts. Can you send me information? Thank you so much.

  18. Carol McHargue says:

    My husband just passed away and I would love to have a quilt made from his western shirts just like this one. Would that be possible?

  19. Hello, I’m definitely interested in a quilt using my grandpas shirts. If you could email me with prices i would appreciate it. Thank you.

  20. Heather Helms says:

    I recently lost my grandma and I am looking to have a quilt made for my momma do you still make these

  21. Alaina Zachmann says:

    Hi Tara, that is a beautiful quilt! I’ve actually inherited my grandfathers shirts after he passed away a few months ago. I have been wanting to make a quilt and have been looking for patterns. Would you please share the steps and pattern with me, if possible? I would greatly appreciate it!! Thank you!

    • Hi Alaina, I’m so sorry for your loss. What a meaningful and special inheritance you received from him.
      I didn’t use a pattern, I cut the shirts in 12.5″ squares leaving me with a 1/4″ seam allowance, making them a 12″ square. Then I basically went from there. I had enough squares to go 6 down and 5 across and I added fabric from the sleeved in between some rows to make it longer …
      xo Tara

  22. Leigh Gerdsen says:

    Hi Tara
    Your quilts are lovely. My husband died recently and I would love to have a quilt made of his shirts for each of my adult daughters. If you are still making these, please send me your information. Thank you!

  23. How much do you charge to do something like this?? I would love to have a few things made.

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