How to Make a Memory Quilt 4 Ways

Memory quilts can take many forms and fiber artists create them for many reasons. A memory quilt can be made with clothing, such as a t-shirt quilt or an art quilt that features fabric or even an entire garment from a loved one. Image transfers are often used to make photo memory quilts. And journal quilts can record memories from even ordinary days with a design from your imagination.

Here are four memory quilt ideas for you to consider:

1. Create custom quilts from children's artwork. Graduate that masterpiece from the fridge to a gallery wall with a quilt pieced from fabrics.

custom quilt from children's drawing tammie bowser
Custom quilt from a child's drawing
by Tammie Bowser.

2. Make story quilts or fabric books to preserve family history. Use transfer paper to apply durable images of family photos, old letters, and other ephemera to fabric.

genealogy story quilt by lesley riley
One of a series of small memory quilts preserving
family history by Lesley Riley.

3. Make personalized quilts from garments:

a. For a memorial quilt that keeps a loved one close, many quilters choose to incorporate fabric from their clothing-such as a patchwork quilt made from an assortment of Grandpa's flannel shirts or an art quilt with Mom's favorite apron as the focal point.

space themed t-shirt memory quilt by trish bowman
Memory quilt made from a collection of
space-themed t-shirts, by Trish Bowman.

b. To celebrate a child's school years or a friend's passion for rock bands, you can make a quilt from a collection of t-shirts (providing the owner no longer wears them). A t-shirt-style memory quilt is an easy way to get a young person interested in quilting and a good way to re-use fabric that might otherwise be thrown out.

So look through your photos, closets, and dresser drawers for inspiration and design your own memory quilt. For instructions, fiber artists Trish Bowman, Tammie Bowser, Martha DeLeonardis, Lesley Riley all teach you how to make a memory quilt using different methods in the new season of "Quilting Arts TV, " series 1500.

P.S. Have you made a memory quilt before? What inspired you and how did you create it? Leave your comment below.

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6 thoughts on “How to Make a Memory Quilt 4 Ways

  1. I’d cut out logos from a bunch of my old T-shirts and never got any further with them. My daughter took them all one day, saying she was tired of looking at them sitting out. For Mother’s Day that year, I received a wonderful quilt she’d made from my shirts. It ireally a story of my life. It is my favorite quilt.

  2. No I’ve never made a memory quilt. I’ve seen a lot of the way I haven’t receive the email about the 13 free quilt art projects, downloads, tutorials. Could Yukon please send me that one. I would appreciate it. Thank you.

  3. I collect fabrics when I travel, trying to pick prints that relate to the area we are in. I’ve made a memory quilt using the attic windows pattern. Each block is a glimpse “through a window”. On some blocks, I have added the name of the place and the date we were there. Other blocks incorporate fabrics I’ve used in quilts for my grandchildren.

  4. Thank you for this article. I have done the course art quilten some years ago.
    I knew my hubby would be die soon, and when i told him what my finished project would be , he liked it.
    I used allot of knowlegdes of him to build a strong basic, and as well materials of him when he was gone.
    It looks still it’s a kind of memory 3d object which makes me happy and smiling.
    But it’s not allways working when you haven’t mourned yet.
    I have find out that by my own but as well watched this by other students.
    You can work only at a memoriale quilt when you’re ready for it.

  5. When I realized that a friend was having a difficult time letting go of her husband’s favorite shirts, I offered to make her a keepsake with them. The overall design was a shirt. Pieces were cut from each and pieced back together with other fabrics that had significance to his life. I then added a few embellishments to honor some of his hobbies. The backing fabric was of Biblical Scriptures. Then I had many of the people, that had kept her in prayer for that previous year, sign the back. I have a few pictures of it, but it’s the memory that matters most to me. When I gave it to her she cried, I cried, we cried! Months later she told me of how it would give her comfort to hold it in her arms and it was used to dry many tears. They both were very special people in my life.