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Create Your Own 80s Retro T-Shirt Blanket

June 16, 2021 4 min read

Fancy creating your own unique 80s retro t-shirt blanket? Discover how to make the ultimate retro fashion accessory in just five simple steps.


If you’ve got nothing but love for the 80s, what better way to show your appreciation for this iconic decade than by creating a retro t-shirt blanket?

Whether you could watch Back to the Future a million times and never get bored, you can’t get enough of Boy George and the Culture Club, or you just adore 80s fashion, you can create the perfect retro t-shirt blanket to showcase your passion for the 80s.

Not that great at sewing? Don’t worry; the below step-by-step guide is simple to follow and can be carried out with ease by even the most amateur crafter.

Step 1: Select your t-shirts

When making a t-shirt blanket, this is the most important step as it will determine exactly what your finished product will look like, both in terms of design and style. You have two main options when it comes to designing your blanket:

Option 1: You can focus on one specific 80s band, singer, or tv show and create a single-themed blanket.

Option 2: You can opt for a more eclectic blanket that incorporates all your favorite 1980s fashion trends, such as neon colors and florals.

Once you have chosen your retro fashion tees, you now need to plan your blanket by considering the below questions:

  • How many retro t-shirts do you have?
  • Do you want all the panels to be the same size, or would you prefer more of a jigsaw design?
  • How large do you want your blanket to be?

If you do not have enough retro t-shirts to create the blanket size that you want, you can find lots of great deals on vintage tees on eBay and at thrift stores and vintage shops. Alternatively, you could club together with other members of your family to make a super-size blanket that can be shared by all.  

Step 2: Cut the t-shirts to size & map your design

Wash, dry, and iron, if needed, all your 80s party tees so that they are ready to be cut into squares. Using a pair of sharp scissors, remove the front panel of each t-shirt, ensuring that you keep the main brightly colored design in its entirety as this is the part of your t-shirt that you want to showcase on your blanket. You can use the front and back of your chosen tees if they both have an image or slogan that you would like to use.

You now need to map out the layout of your t-shirt blanket before you start sewing. Make sure you take your time with this step and ensure you are happy with your final layout, as it is much harder to make any changes once you start connecting all the squares together.

80s clothes were known for being bright, bold, and unapologetic, so don’t be afraid to experiment with lots of different colors, styles, and materials. For example, if you always wore a much-loved denim jacket, there is no reason why you can’t add a square of this to your bespoke blanket.

Step 3: Trim the panels and fuse the interfacing

Once you have finalized the layout of your blanket, you can now trim your chosen panels to size, making sure you leave enough fabric around the edges for a ½ inch seam allowance and around 1 inch for applying the fusible interfacing.

To fuse your chosen interfacing to the back of your t-shirt panels, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring that the interfacing is securely bonded. Then you trim the panels to your desired size.

Step 4: Sew your blanket together

Now for the exciting part when your retro t-shirt blanket all comes together. If you are not that great at sewing, you should use a sewing machine for this step as this is much easier and faster than sewing by hand. Plus, you are more likely to be left with a professional finish that you can show off to all your family and friends.

Start by pinning your panels together in your chosen layout and then use a ½ inch seam allowance to sew them together, one row at a time. Once all the rows are complete, you can then start to join all the rows together.

Step 5: Add your batting and backing

If you want your 80s t-shirt blanket to be as fleecy as it is funky, then this step is essential. Start by cutting your chosen batting and backing fabric to the size of your blanket. Then layer the batting between the top and the backing and pin the three layers together.

Finally, sew the three layers together using a stitch design of your choice – although the stitch in the ditch technique is the most popular one for this type of sewing project.

You may also want to sew some strips of fabric around the edges, known as quilt binding, to make your finished blanket look as polished and professional as possible.

Top 80s retro t-shirt blanket theme ideas:

  • The Karate Kid
  • The Goonies
  • Rocky
  • Top Gun
  • Hip hop
  • Guns N Roses
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Pink Floyd
  • Blondie
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Wham
  • David Bowie

Do retro t-shirt blankets make good gifts?

They most certainly do. If you have a family member who is known for their love of all 80s fashion trends or your best friend always looks like they are going to an 80s party, then a custom-made retro t-shirt blanket makes the perfect gift for any special occasion.

Sustainable, affordable, and the ideal outlet for creative thinking and design, you can guarantee that your personalized gift will stand out from the crowd and encourage the sharing of treasured memories from the past. Plus, if you don’t have the time or expertise to make a t-shirt blanket gift yourself, you can always turn to a professional company that will do all the hard work for you. All you need to do is choose a blanket size, pick your preferred t-shirts and then send them off – it really is that easy. We can handle the rest!

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