Recycled and scrappy tumbler quilt

May is such a busy month in the garden, I don’t feel I’ve got much accomplished in the sewing room. But I have been putting together my tumbler quilt, which is the leader & ender challenge from Bonnie Hunter this year. It seemed to take forever to sew the pairs together, but the rest of the piecing has been reasonably quick. I am now sewing rows and pairing them up to see how many I have, and what size it will end up (I am aiming for about 72″ square).

tumbler quilt piecing

Fabrics are recycled shirts from my husband, and then I found a few other fabrics in my stash to complement the manly fabrics. Mickey Mouse, of course! The bee on gingham is left over from a pair of overalls I made for a friend’s son (who is now 16 years old). Musical instruments, because we are musical, and some brown argyle I bought for Christmas stockings and never used. I was amazed at how many of these I could get from one shirt, up to 43 tumblers (5″ cut, 4.5″ finished height–if you would like to make the same, I have made a free template at this link in 4″, 5″, and 6″ sizes)


Oops, look at that, this section is a little short. I’m glad I checked!

one row is too short

I will be linking this post to Scraptastic Tuesday with Leanne at She Can Quilt.



  1. I really like the mix of solids / prints and lights / darks you have in the quilt, it is a really good balance.

    1. Thanks for the compliment, I think scrappy is harder to pull off than i used to think, so I tried to use the paper bag method and just keep sewing pieces together. The nice thing with the plaid shirts is that the fabric is reversible and slightly different on each side, which adds interest.

  2. Great way to up cycle fabrics ; )

    1. It was a good experiment in mixing recycled shirts of different weights with quilting cotton. Now I walk around deciding if the shirts I see being worn would make good quilts…

  3. In times past, women made quilts out of clothes that could no longer be worn. Nice work on your quilt. The tumbler pattern is on my “to do” list one of these years.

    1. This pattern is great for a leader and ender quilt, it’s so simple. I had a fairly restrained palette, but I’ve seen some that look like bright gumdrops. I would love to try the stacked setting next time.

  4. Man shirts make great man quilts! Thanks for linking up to #scraptastictuesday

  5. barbara woods · ·

    love your quilt, just got my tumbler sandwiched

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