Memory Quilts Made from Clothing

Memory Quilts Made From Clothing

quilt from men's shirtsMemory quilts made from clothing are a wonderful way to preserve the memory of a person or time gone by. Our clothing represents our character, our interests, and even those who love us. A quilt made from these clothes is so special because it is a work of art in honor of someone special and, unlike a photo or painting, can be touched and snuggled in bringing back great memories. The quilts I create are carefully constructed, each completely unique, with great attention to detail. I hope my creations will become family heirlooms!

What can be used to make a memory quilt? 

memory quilt hat and belt

Just about anything we wear (and more!) can be put into a memory quilt!

Baby clothes and adult clothes can be used to make memory quilts. Wedding dresses, christening gowns, and formal wear all look beautiful in a quilt!

Memory quilt from clothing with photos

Besides clothing, many additional items can be included in a quilt: jeans, socks, gloves, belts, scarves, hats, and ties are examples of some of the things that can be incorporated into a quilt.

What else can be added to a memory quilt?

Photographs (or any digital image) can be transferred to fabric and sewn on a quilt. The photos can be of people, of course, but can also include places (like a home or garden), favorite pets, a marriage license, a quote or lyrics to a song—the possibilities are endless!

Memory Quilt from silk ties More ideas…..

I am very willing to collaborate and work to bring their ideas to life. I made a series of mini-quilts from bow tie silk featuring a number significant to the family (22). An example is shown here (right.)Sometimes my customers have very creative ideas! 

You might consider an art quilt portrait as a very special memorial or gift. I create these quilts, which can look like paintings, with fabric and thread. The fabrics I use can include material from clothing as a special way to commemorate a person or an event like a wedding. The following is a portrait of my father as a boy, inspired by an old black and white photograph. See my page “Art Quilts” for more examples and descriptions!

Art quilt portrait26-IMG_0587

How will my memory quilt look?

Memory quilt from clothes, sweater

Every quilt I create is one-of-a-kind. I truly enjoy the creative process and, as each individual is unique, each memory quilt is individually designed to best showcase the clothing and accessories. Rather than just cut squares from cloth, I try to retain the character of each piece of clothing which may mean including collars, cuffs, and special embroideries.


memory blanaket made from clothing


Quilts can be made in traditional block style, with or without sashing strips between the blocks. Or, the memory quilt can be designed and pieced in a crazy quilt style whereby the blocks are all different geometric shapes and sizes, allowing for a much more creative look.


quilted image on memory quiltEvery quilt includes a top (pieced from clothing), a layer of batting, and a backing material. The backing material can be something the customer chooses and includes (like a blanket) or it can be purchased fabric or something from my large collection of fabrics. All 3 layers are stitched together (quilted) using decorative and detail stitching. This is yet another opportunity for creativity and customization.


Following are many examples of memory quilts I have made from clothing.  All were commissions and every customer has had great things to say about my work, for which I am grateful. Please see the “Testimonials” page for quotes from some of my emails from customers.

Contact me at to learn more about how you can have a beautiful heirloom memory quilt made from clothing!


Memory Quilts Made From Clothing and Photo Transfers

This quilt includes dresses, tops, overalls, PJ’s, t-shirts and photos.
Memory quilt including photos transferred to fabric

This next one included clothing, a belt, and themed fabrics (her favorite things) in the sashing

Memory blanket made from clothes


Contemporary Quilt from Shirts


Queen sized quilt from shirts

Queen sized quilt from shirts

These are photos of a contemporary style memory quilt made from men’s shirts. No collars or cuffs—just the fabrics sewn in many styles of piecing. Very interesting and artistic!

 Another example of a modern quilt from shirts:

Back of shirt quiltModern Quilt from Shirts



Memory Quilt from T-shirts

Memory quilts from T-shirts are becoming quite popular and I create these as well as the quilts from clothing!

Each block is individually quilted to highlight the graphic design.


I was delighted to receive this photo of the college graduate with her new memory quilt! 

Even my sons get something made for them once in a while! High school memories are quilted into a soft, comfy bed quilt.

Memory Quilt Made from Tshirts….Front & Back!

(Retired theater teacher had a huge collection of her show t-shirts!)










Memory Quilts Made from Men’s Ties

Amy Cavaness Designs


Here’s a unique project! This set of mini-quilts (each approx. 12″ square) was made from men’s ties, bow ties, and hand-knit items that belonged to the family patriarch. The client said that they had only hung on to a few items, and the collection of ties was especially dear to them. She also told me the number 22 had great significance to the family. Making that number the centerpiece of the memory quilts was the client’s idea, and I love that there is symbolism in these quilts.

At least half of the ties were bow ties, which give you VERY small pieces of material to work with! However, crazy piecing is a technique that happens to be one of my specialties and was totally appropriate for working with the little odd-shaped pieces of silk.

The backgrounds are made from a salmon pink hand knit sweater and a lovely dark, multicolored scarf. Of course, in “real life” I probably would not choose these materials for a background, but I am delighted that I was able to include these meaningful pieces of clothing in each quilt. Of course, the family members will know the significance of these materials and will appreciate them being included in their memory quilts.

One thing I think is so special about these quilts is the contrast of textures. The soft, bumpy, woolen knits, the gorgeous soft silks, all padded and puffed with multiple layers of batting.  They just beg to be touched! And I believe the sense of touch can bring back significant memories and reminiscences just as sight does. That’s another beauty of a memory quilts as opposed to, say, a portrait—they can be touched!

Harley Memory Quilts

Next is a series of photos of a couple of quilts I made from a dad’s clothes. He was a Harley enthusiast and was proud of his Irish heritage so we used a beautiful black, gold and green shamrock fabric as sashing between the blocks. There are lots of photos incorporated in these quilts, with beautiful results.

Memory quilt from clothing Harley


Clothing Memory quilt Harley 2


Harley memory quilt with photo






Memory quilt from clothing with photos

Below is a photo of the back of one of the quilts (they are both the same). The center photo is framed with themed fabrics reflecting this gentleman’s hobbies—woodworking, golf, flying, and of course, riding his Harley. This quilt back was conceived of by the customer and I think it’s just beautiful!

Memory quilt back with photo

Mini Quilts

 Nest is a set of mini-quilts (9 of them) that included a photo of the loved one and a piece of the actual garment from the picture. This project was a lot of work for my customer before I even began my work, but the results were a wonderful surprise for the family.




This quilt was in memory of a boy who loved skateboarding.

The photo at right is a collage–2 views of the quilt and a close-up of the quilted skateboard I thread-sketched on a block.



Please email me at for more information about commissioning at memory quilt from clothing.

8 thoughts on “Memory Quilts Made from Clothing

  1. You have a gift. I wish I could just do a tiny bit of this. Thanks for sharing your talent. I will be looking for more of you in magazines. Beautiful! Do you do classes? Carolyn

    • Thank you, Cindy, for asking! No, you don’t need to precut the clothing—in fact, I need the entire garment for the design process. Each quilt is designed individually—no 2 are alike—I don’t use a “formula” and I don’t have a production line. I’m an artist creating beautiful heirlooms for my customers.

      Please email me at to discuss more details.

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