IT HAPPENED: The Shirts are De-boned

Remember my want to get all of shirts de-boned while I was on quarantine….It was a valiant try but I fell slightly short.  I have continued on with working on them doing as much I could as time allowed.  I wanted to conquer them.

Well I was getting close over Mother’s Day weekend.  Our son Buck was home and as we were chatting in the kitchen I was working on them.  I looked down into the basket and realized that I was in striking distance.  Then the next day Kelli came home and asked if there was anything I wanted help with…(oh I love that girl)  I said, “YES, yes there is”.


Kelli worked on the cuffs and collars that were left and I stayed at de-boning the shirt parts…I am happy to say everything is DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  What a good feeling!  Then Kelli confessed that at home, she has a couple garbage bags full of shirts that she wants to get done.  I felt a little guilty then.  Here she was helping me and had her own to do.  In my defense I was down to only about 15 cuffs/collars to do.

I debated a lot on how I wanted to store the shirts.  I ended up with a tote system.  They will fit under my quilting machine eventually.  Right now I have three boxes of quilting books and magazines that I have to sort through.  I’ve been slowly working on them….This whole sewing room clean up has been going a little like remodeling a house.  I get one thing done only to realize that I need something else done before the first thing can truly be finished…oh well…Little by little it will all happen.


If you read past posts about my shirt de-boning you might remember that I promised a giveaway once I was done with my quilt…well read on.As promised I saved all of the yokes and I think there are likely a few short sleeves in the pile too.  I saved them all out because I promised to give the pile away once I was finished de-boning.  I’m not sure what anyone would want to do with them.  A person could start in a Bonnie Hunter’s Virginia Bound quilt or most anything else that needs a scrappy look.


So here’s what you have to do for a chance to win.  Leave a comment here telling us if you’ve made a quilt our of up-scaled shirts before….How easy is that?  Only comments left here on the blog will be entered into the contest.  This is going to be a quick giveaway….We’ll pick a winner tomorrow night.

95 thoughts on “IT HAPPENED: The Shirts are De-boned”

  1. Susan Baughman

    I have not yet made a quilt out of men’s shirts. In California the goodwill charges $5 or more per shirt. Need to do some garage sales I guess. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  2. I haven’t made a shirt quilt yet, but would love to try it. Congrats on getting all of your shirts deboned!

  3. I have never made a shirt quilt, But I’ve watched Bonnie Hunter’s video on de-boning a couple of times and think I could manage just fine. The thrift stores out here in Denver charge just a little too much for shirts, so I’m really hoping that I am your winner! I would love to make a quilt made up of Bonnie’s Moth in the Window block. I fell in love with it one night when she was doing Quilt-Cam. Congrats on getting on those shirts deboned!

  4. I made a Shirt quilt about ten years ago, using our son’s shirts. I included photos of him transferred to pieces of his plain white shirts. This was in memory of him as he died in an accident in 1996. It took me ten years to be able to get to the point where I could actually make the quilt but I am glad I did. Using your scraps to make one for a happier reason would be lovely and I would donate the quilt to a very good cause, Siblings Together.

  5. I’ve been slowly plugging away at Bonnie’s Moth in a Window block using deboned shirts, mostly bought at the thrift store. Would love some variety! Thanks for the opportunity,
    Terri in BC – terri-fisher (@) shaw (dot) ca

  6. My first quilts were from shirts – grandfather, father, brothers, and sons – made quilts for each of my 3 children and the left overs for myself.

  7. I haven’t made a quilt out of deboned shirts before, but have thought of doing one. I’ve seen a log cabin make out them and really liked that pattern. I’m going to have to check on the Moth in a Window pattern. Thanks for the opportunity.

  8. I am currently cutting up fabric and making donation quilt kits for our guild. The shirt parts would be great on BH’s string quilt designs.

  9. I have never made a quilt from shirts. I am collecting shirts now as I would like to make one like julie k quilts , that she made from a book by Evelyn Sloppy. Love it. Thank you for the chance.

  10. I have not made a quilt out of shirts, but have given it much thought. If I won I would love to start Bonnie’s log cabin you have been making. It is just too cute!

  11. Elvia Shirkey

    My most recent was a baby quilt, then of course Bonnie Hunter Quilts.

    Love the look and feel of the shirting fabric.

    Thanks and Enjoy your Blog.

  12. I have not made a quilt out of shirts, though I love the look of them. Second hand shirts are not cheap around here. I would love to make Bonnie’s Smith Mountain Morning quilt. Thanks for the chance to win some parts!

  13. Haven’t made a “shirt” quilt yet but that is soon to change! I’ve got most of the shirts that I have deboned an am ready to start!

  14. I have actually made a couple of quilts with upscaled shirts and a few where I mixed shits in with cotton. I love the look especially for boy quilts. Congratulations on getting your shots deboned. That is inspiration to get my shits deboned.

  15. I have made Bonnie Hunter’s Oregon or Bust. All of the blocks are made with recycled shirt fabric. I love this quilt and would love to make another one of her quilt patterns with shirts!

  16. I have not yet made a quilt from shirts. However, I promised a friend of mine that I would take her husband’s shirts when she was ready to part with them and make her a quilt. These scraps would be just the kick start I would need to “practice” ahead of a much bigger project. Thanks for the giveaway!

  17. I used shirt fabrics as part of the background for Bonnie Hunter’s mystery Allietare last year. I loved the look of the fabrics, and it would great to have some more variety in my collection.

  18. I made a quilt out of flannel shirt parts for my oldest son last year. I used the bear paw pattern and went really scrappy. I love it and can’t wait to do it again. This time I’d like to try the quilt you made with the squares made from striped shirts. I love that one! But first I need to collect some shirts. Thanks for the chance to win!

  19. I ve started Mystic Mountain Majesty from Bonnie’s web site and also made Star Struck. That was my fist Bonnie quilt.

  20. Oh yes shirt quilts are the best. And shirts seem to find there way into all of my scrap quilts too! Currently have moth in the window ready for quilting, and all kinds of pieces for my cheddar bow ties are cut as well as peice cut for garden party. But I need more varity for both of those projects!

  21. Yes, yes, I’ve made three quilts entirely from thrifted shirts. All three are log cabin quilts but all look very different from each other. I LOVE working with reclaimed fabric :)

  22. I made a quilt out of shirts and lightweight denim skirts. You can get lots of denim out of a large skirt.It turned out so cute. I called it Play Clothes. I noticed Kelli used scissors to cut her shirts. I cut mine with a rotary cutter and just cut along the seams. It really goes fast and if I fold it right I can get both sides of the seam at once. It’s just faster for me.

  23. I have not made a quilt out of shirts yet. At $3.99 and $4.99 at our local thrift store it is too expensive for someone on a fixed income. I love reading your blog and seeing your quilts…great inspiration! Thanks!

  24. Thrift shops and Goodwill are not cheap in my area so I don’t have many shirts but I try to de-bone the shirt as soon as it comes out of the dryer. I haven’t made a quilt yet and would like to have more variety than what I have.

  25. Right now I have 15 inch blocks with an appliqued star and the nine patch that I will alternately put together made from men’s shirts for a queen sized quilt. It is in shades of brown and blue with a splash of burnt orange. I am thinking of making either 4-patch blocks or flying geese for the side border. I was wondering how do you use the cuffs and collars in your quilts? Read your blogs daily. Hope you feel better each day.

  26. I just finished a Bricks in the Barnyard using shirtings and homespuns. I love the look so will look forward to using them again.

  27. I have made three baby quilts out of shirts for donation to the local hospital. I have some scraps left and am waiting to find more shirts to use them up in another quilt. Thanks for your blog, Jo!

  28. As much as I love the look I have not used shirts. The goodwill here thinks they have gold on them and charge way to much especially when I can get a fat quarter when it’s on sale. Glad your doing better.

  29. Its hard for me to even think about de-boning a shirt. Its good yardage – absolutely. But, since I Make shirts for my husband, I don’t want to take them apart again. Good luck to whomever wins!

  30. It is always fun to get a big job done…I haven’t made anything from shirts yet…The shirts are expensive in my area in the thrift stores…Thanks for the chance to win..

  31. I have made a couple quilts from men’s shirts. Just last week our local Thrift Store had a sack sale, and you could fill a sack (paper) for $7. I got 20 men’s in that bag, making the cost about 35 cents each! Love that sale! They are normally $2 each, which isn’t that bad either. Now I have to debone them as they have been washed. I love the look of these quilts. I want to make Bonnie Hunters Scrappy Mountain Majesties quilt. I love that pattern.

  32. Ellen Groenenboom

    My sister made a jelly roll race quilt out of old dress shirts and ties. She calls it the “Working Man” quilt for fun. It was suprisingly easier to pu together than she thought! Her only issue was it turned out long and thin, so she had to do some refiguring.

  33. Jayne in Utah

    I, too, have yet to make a quilt out of deboned shirts but it is on my bucket list. Just wondering how many shirts it takes to make one.

  34. I made one signature quilt with shirts from members of our parish for a ordination gift for a young priest. Loved it but would starch before cutting for another one.

  35. I have not made a quilt out of shirts yet-BUT between you girls and Bonnie it’s on my Bucket List! I have taken a few of my husband’s shirts that he was going to throw away and deboned them, but don’t have enough to do anything with them yet. Thanks for the chance!!

  36. Deborah DeBerry

    No ma’am I have not made a “shirt” quilt. I keep watching all the pretty plaids and stripes from shirts going into gorgeous quilts and keep thinking “someday” I really want to try that. I greatly admire your “stick to it” attitude for straightening your room and just working so hard at finishing. I seem to have a problem with both. God bless you!

  37. I made Tumalo Trail for my son out of shirts from his grandpa, dad, uncle, and brothers. I have 4 patch and Furrows out of my brother ‘s shirts for my niece’s graduation gift started. I have saved crumbs thinking that would be a fun quilt to make. I think I have a fabric problem. . .please don’t tell my family!

  38. I have made star struck, moth in the window,virginia bound,cactus patch. I am not all the way through Bonnies’s scraps and shirtails book. I can say that I don’t have any shirts left that are not deboned, except the ones my husband wears, but I don’t like how they are stored. how did you fold them? and did you keep parts separate – backs, fronts,sleeves? congrats on getting them done.

  39. I haven’t made one yet but I’ve been collecting some and need to finish deboning them. My intent is to make Bonnie’s Scrappy Mountain Majesty out of blue and yellow shirts but I need more yellow. Would love your scraps for a yet determined pattern so thanks for the giveaway!

  40. I made a seven shirt s seven steps a couple of years ago. Would love to add these to my stash! Thanks.

  41. Anne Deedrick

    I have not made a quilt out of shirts, but I do have Bonnie Hunter’s Cactus Patch quilt on my list of quilts I want to make. Thanks for the chance to win.

  42. I will let the rest of the girls have a chance at the shirt sleeves. I have been collecting men’s ties for many years, and have yet to do something with them. But I did recently purchase a quilt book, so I have some patterns to dream about. :>)

  43. I am working on moth in the window. My relaxing at the end of the day is cutting and deboning shirts. Very cathartic and fun. I enjoy your blog very much.

  44. I have not made a quilt using up-cycled shirts. . . but I have read a lot of blog posts about people doing it.

    I would be happy to try making a project with your pieces. . . . I don’t have many “male” oriented prints in my stash. . . but it would be fun to use some of the less dainty prints with the shirts to make a donation quilt that a man would not mind getting.

    Thank you for the opportunity.

  45. I have not made a quilt with upcycled shirts, yet! Our Goodwill prices r not low. Will have to scope out other places to buy them. My son left a few shirts behind in the closet. They have been there a few years. Maybe I can start with those, haha!

  46. I have not made a quilt yet, but, like many others I’m dying to make Bonnie Hunters Moth in the window.

  47. A year ago I found 12 of my dad’s shirts (which really surprised me as my mom and I had donated his clothes after he passed away!). After I deboned them, I cut the useable pieces into three inch widths and sewed them together like a jelly roll race. My intent was to make a lap quilt for my dad’s brother who was on hospice (which he cherished and was even put in his casket), But I ended up with enough to make two more!! So I gave one to my dad’s youngest brother and one to my mom who has dementia. I embroidered a story on the back of hers hoping it would stir some good memories, but she told a nurse that she thought one of her granddaughter’s had made it for her!! (That was exciting as she realized she had more than one..she has two…and I told them kudos to you for doing that for grandma!!). Anyway they are the softest lap quilts you could ever have as how many times were those shirts washed! The process of making these quilts stirred many memories for me and I was so glad they had been stored away in my moms house unbeknownst to me!

  48. I have used parts of shirts purchased from you during one of the online yard sales for two workshops I took from Bonnie Hunter. Neither quilt is finished yet but both are well along and I have plans for a couple more from Bonnie’s books. I would love to win you giveaway! Thanks.

  49. I haven’t yet but want too. The goodwill here never has any 100% cotton shirts when I go. Must be plenty of other quilters in the area. I will branch out looking for shirts after my daughters wedding. Things are a little crazy now! Love love all your quilts Jo!

  50. I haven’t yet made a “shirt quilt” but would like to someday. Kudos to Kelli for getting your shirts finished. If you see her hauling a trash bag to your door, you know what’s coming! Lol!

  51. Karen Nicholson

    I have made a shirt quilt and am in the process of making another. For those in California, the best day to go to the Salvation Army thrift store is generally Monday. They have items for 75% off if they have been in the racks for awhile.

  52. Please don’t include me in your generous giveaway–I just wanted to stop by. I have way too many deboned shirts here already. I made Bonnie’s “Criss Cross Applesauce” quilt earlier this year, and it won “best of show” in the Re-Purpose competition in Clear Lake, Iowa, during their Earth Day competition.
    One thing I learned while making that quilt — unless I REALLY love a fabric, there will be no more poly/cotton or thin cotton shirts for me. There’s such a texture, weight, and sturdiness difference between hefty cotton shirts and the lighter weight ones. It’s one thing to wear a comfortable, light-weight shirt, but it’s another to cut and add a whisper-soft fabric to a quilt I want to hold up. Lesson learned!

  53. I like so many others have never made a recycled shirt quilt and would love to but the cost of thrift store shirts where I am are ridiculous. If I could get them for what you find them for I would have had the quilt made. Maybe I’ll send you $20.00 and have you pick up some for me on your next outing since your bins are full, HA!!

  54. Hi Jo, CONGRATS!!! You have great kids! I haven’t completed a quilt yet, but am working on Smith Mountain Morning with your Wed. finish it up…..Would love a little more variety. I’ve been using blues and greens, because I don’t have much brown. Anyway, would love to win, and love your blog.

  55. I have made Bonnie’s Srappy Mountains quilt out of blue and neutral shirts, love it. Also have Texas braid about 3/4 done about of shirts. Planning on scrappy trips and rectangle wrangler out of shirts. This collecting shirts is so addictive, i don’t need any more, but I still show up at 1/2 price day at the thrift store and buy more. I understand how someone ends up with two bags of shirts. Please don’t pick me!

  56. Congrats for finishing up the marathon deboning sessions. I’ve never used shirts for quilt making, because I’ve not done any “scrappy” quilting in my 50 years of sewing/quilting. Our thrift stores here in the Kansas City area don’t have the great prices yall are seeing, but I’m blissfully retired now, and eager to give one of Bonnie’s patterns a go! Bring on the scraps! BTW, is there a particular “process” to deboning a shirt?

  57. I have 2 large bags with 47 shirts I bought last summer at home for $1 ea. But I have been lax about getting them cut up. I have started and plan to make another Scrappy Mountain Majesties out of them. I love the feel of these shirts. Thanks for the giveaway.

  58. I have never made a quilt from shirts. However I am in process of collecting them for a future quilt. I certainly could use variety. Thanks for the chance to win.

  59. Making a Delectable Mountains quilt is on my bucket list. I’ve watched Bonnie’s deboning and boy is she fast! Maybe a scrappy rag quilt would be an appropriate use for the deboning leftovers.

  60. Sharon Hughson

    No, I’ve not made a quilt of up scaled shirts, but I love Bonnie Hunter as you do and would like to try one of her quilts like that.

  61. I haven’t made a “shirt” quilt yet, but I have Bonnie’s Scraps and Shirttails” book with several projects book-marked to make. I have collected a few shirts, but the prices here are kind of high so I don’t have enough yet. Also, Hubby doesn’t wear many woven shirts. Winning your give away would help me build my shirt stash. Thanks for passing your extra pieces on to others!

  62. I haven’t made a quilt from shirts, yet…but I have made a rag quilt out of Jeans :-) Heaviest quilt EVER, LOL!

  63. I haven’t made anything but I’ve picked up about four shirts at garage sales; and yes, they’re deboned

  64. Kristin Stonham

    I have yet to make a quilt out of deboned shirts, though I want to. I like the look of them! But the thrift stores around here charge too much for them, and tackling digging through the piles at the much cheaper Goodwill Marketplace a few miles away has thus far seemed too daunting with an active toddler to keep an eye on.

  65. I have used shirts in quilts. The last one I made was Smith Mountain morning with my son’s BDU’s from when he was in Iraq. I had to supplement with other fabrics.

  66. My leader and ender project was tumblers made out of men’s recycled shirts. Have a ton left over and know am incorporating them into 6″ blocks for The Splendid Sampler by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson.

  67. I made a baby quilt using a few shirts from the maternal great grandma who passed away before the baby was born. I want to make a couple of Bonnie Hunters quilts but need more variety. Congratulations on getting your shirts deboned!

  68. Raquel shelton

    I’d rather work with scraps than new fabric. I made smokey mountain stars with men’s plaid shirts,purchased mostly at goodwill. In my area even goodwill is expensive ,now trying yard sales. Love Bonnie’s patterns.i plan to make tumalo trail next. Would love to have your scraps.

  69. Debbie Darlington

    How timely is this! I am presently de-boning shirts to make a quilt for my son. This will be my first recycled shirt project. I’m following Bonnie Hunter’s method for de-constructing the shirts. BTW: any suggestions for using up all these shirt buttons would be GREATLY appreciated!
    Thank you for the give-a-way opportunity!

  70. Rhonda Desgranges

    When my Dad died last year, I got all of his shirts. One day I hope to make a quilt with them. Thanks for the chance to win!

  71. Susan the Farm Quilter

    I have never made a whole quilt just out of upcycled shirts, but I have included them in some of my scrappy quilts. I am planning a quilt with just shirts right now, so I am in the accumulation stage!! I have the pattern in my head of what I want to do, I just need to get all the shirts to do it with! Thank you for the opportunity to win!

  72. I haven’t had the chance to make a shirt quilt yet, though it is on my to do list lol. Thanks for sharing! vickise at gmail dot com

  73. I have used shirts in a couple of quilts and have started a Virginia Bound.. I could sure use more variety. Thanks for the opportunity to win some.

  74. Hooray for u getting all your shirts deboned !!!!!
    I have made several quilts with men’s used shirts – what a wonderful way to recycle.
    The hunt for unusual ones are always fun. You all have the best prices at your thrift stores
    Our lowest is usually a dollar.
    Thanks for the chance & so enjoy your blog.

  75. I love all the interesting plaids found in men’s shirts. Over time, I hope to find a place to purchase some at prices less than the $8.99 charged for most at the local GW. Never heard of bag sales in my area either. That said, your “trimmings” would be most welcome. Your energy and recovery has been amazing. You are such a positive, upbeat person who has embraced the farm life and your husband’s choice of a career. Here’s to sunny days ahead for both of you as you continue your recovery.

  76. I did a plaid flannel quilt from shirts, pajamas, dresses…anything I could get my hands on! I’ve used pieces of regular cotton shirts before, but never made a quilt with them exclusively. It is on my ever-growing list!

  77. I made a bow tie quilt using shirts. It was my leader ender follow along with Bonnie. It is one of my favorites. Thanks for the chance to win!

  78. Kristy Wilkinson

    I finally used some of my deboned shirts in Bonnie’s mystery this year. I have also used pajamas as well! It is lots of fun and I loved the fact that they were my husband’s shirts. It made the quilt more special. I had been coveting his cotton shirts! They finally got too worn on the collars and shoulders. I am so proud of you for finishing! I am also glad to see you are feeling better. Love your blog and love your quilts. K-

  79. Elizabeth McDonald

    I haven’t yet made a complete quilt out of shirt fabrics, but I have included some shirt cuttings into a star quilt top that is halfway quilted; in that quilt I included some of my dear hubbie’s shirts that needed to be “retired.” I think I used 5 or 6 of Mark’s quilts, and otherwise the fabrics are all new; I know that I will cherish the star quilt because of his quilts! I have several shoeboxes of deboned shirts ahead, waiting to get more so that I can make an all-shirts quilt!

  80. Yes, I have made several quilts out of recycled cotton shirts and I love them. They are country looking and I really enjoy the satisfaction that these quilts give me and others. So far, I have tacked them but I plan on trying machine quilting one soon. Thank you for the oportunity to win your recycled shirt scraps!

  81. This is something I would like to try but kind of just reading what others have been doing.
    Deboning……what a funny term.

  82. I have not deboned a shirt or made a quilt from the fabric. I would love to see what I can come up using the fabric if I win. I love scrappy!!!

  83. I have made a quilt from tumblers out of mostly blue striped shirts for a coworker….He did have a pink stripped shirt and a pretty purple plaid that we threw in too, I had the stripes going in both directions and really worked to make sure that there was variety of shirt fabrics around each tumbler. I t turned out very nice and he was thrilled with it.

  84. LOL, I need to borrow Kelli – I have a couple of large bags I’m trying to get finished de-boning too! I love the scrappy prints of shirts and have several PIGS in the works from them. Would love to win to add to my variety.

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