When he died, it surprised even me how quickly I sorted through Hubby’s clothing. I’d read where widows put this sort of thing off for months. Years. But we were heading into winter in central Oregon and there were men at Shepherd’s House—the men’s shelter and rehab program where Hubby volunteered three mornings a week—who could use warm outerwear and thick wool socks and gloves and backpacks.

But I saved a few shirts and a red-and-black silk tie for a memorial quilt.


1 a3o-quilttop2


Sometimes the situation calls for simple. Which, in this case, meant lap quilt size, and twenty 12” blocks instead of dozens of smaller ones. Simple is good.

Here, in four easy steps, are instructions for a memorial quilt made from men’s shirts:

1. Cut up shirts into blocks sew blocks together stitch on red squares add batting and backing turn right side out hand-quilt.

2. Make popcorn. Grab book.

3. Snuggle.

4. Smile. Because this quilt represents the most wonderful husband who – even now – I visualize wearing these shirts with his cute grin. You know, the one where he’s trying not to smile.


Actually, real directions are included here:

1. Cut apart shirts at the seams; press. Cut out twenty 13” squares, which allows for ½” seams all around. (Just for the fun of it, I cut four of the blocks from shirt fronts that included pockets and buttons.)

2. Arrange the squares four across and five down; sew them together to make a 60×48” lap quilt.

3. Cut apart the tie; press. Cut twelve 2½” squares from the tie fabric; place at an angle in each corner where four blocks meet and zig-zag with sewing machine around each small square.


1 a3o-quilttop


4. With right sides together, cut batting and backing the same size as the quilt top. (I purchased an inexpensive fleece blanket and utilized one layer to serve as both batting and backing.)


1 a3o-quiltback


5. Pin quilt top to batting/backing around all four edges; sew, leaving a 10” gap for turning quilt right side out.


1 a3o-quiltturn


6. Turn quilt right side out.

7. Hand stitch opening.


1 a3o-quiltpin


8. Hand quilt around each red block, and then hand quilt a large X in each square. I also hand-stitched around each pocket on the squares that were cut from shirt fronts.


1 a3o-quilttop2


9. Make popcorn. Grab book.

10. Snuggle. Smile.

Are there clothing items you’ve saved because they have sentimental value? Why not consider making a memory quilt?