This week on the Too Cool T-shirt Quilts Blog, we are giving away this awesome 4th of July T-shirt quilt. This quilt is in the large lap size range - 56" x 68" with a $428 USD value.
For your chance to win this awesome 4th of July T-shirt quilt tell us your favorite short and funny 4th of July story. The best story, as judged by the staff here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts, will win. Share your answers in the comments below. We will accept all answers until the end of the day on Wednesday June 19, 2013. Please include a valid email address that we can reach you at should you be the winner. The authors of the top 10 stories will be awarded a 10% discount off any quilt made in July 2013.
The winners and their stories will be announced in our June 20, 2013 blog.
T-shirt Quilt Blog
We receive many questions asking whether we can alter an already complete T-shirt Quilt. And as with many things in life, the answer is, it depends. The answers depend on if it is a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt or a T-shirt quilt made with another method. The answer will also depend on what you would like done to the quilt.
Below are Questions & Answers about modifying an existing T-shirt quilts.
Question: Can I add on to an already completed Too Cool T-shirt Quilt?
Answer: No. Here are some issues of physically adding onto a quilt:
- The binding would need to be removed, which can be done.
- Then, a lot of the old quilting would need to be removed from the old quilt to get it ready to receive a new row or column put on.
- Next, try to match backing and binding fabrics. This would be nearly impossible because of fading. This is true even if the fabric from the same dye lot were saved. After fabric is in the light, it will begin to fade – and even a drop of fading will mean the backing will not match.
- Then you would have the technical difficulty of sewing the row or column on to the old quilt – this is more than you want to read or I want to contemplate.
- Next, the quilt would have to be quilted – which would include matching up the removed stitching from the old quilt.
- Finally, the entire quilt would have to be rebound.
- Also!!! Too Cool T-shirt Quilts does not do rows and columns!
Adding onto a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt would make the entire quilt look awful. The added area would stick out like a sore thumb. Then, there is the cost issue – it would cost you as much or more than a new quilt.
Question: Can I add on to an already completed traditional row & column T-shirt Quilt?
Answer: Maybe. But the issues addressed above will still apply. Too Cool T-shirt Quilts would not do this for you. You would need to check with the person who made your quilt or ask someone who makes similar quilts.
Question: Can I put more T-shirts on the back of an already completed quilt?
Answer: It depends who you ask to do it. We would not do it here because it would cover up the quilting.
If blocks were added on to the back, they would have to be attached using a hand-appliqued method. This is labor intensive and would be expensive. Then more quilting would need to be added to the blocks on the back. This would show through to the front of the quilt and look bad. Adding blocks to the back of a quilt can be done, but it will look bad and would most likely be expensive.
Question: Can you add more quilting to a completed Too Cool T-shirt Quilt?
Answer: Yes this can be done, but it is difficult and might not look as good as the original quilting. Generally, there needs to be a good reason for the additional quilting.
Question: Can you add quilting to a completed traditional T-shirt quilt?T-shirt Quilt Blog
Answer: Yes this could be done. For example, if you have a completed quilt with minimal quilting or that was tied, we can put this completed quilt onto our machines and quilt it. Remember, you will still see the other quilting that was initially there. This would cost similar to our doing long arm quilting for T-shirt quilts. Here is more information.
Can Too Cool T-shirt Quilts make a double-sided T-shirt quilt with T-shirts on the front and back?
No. There are a number of reasons we do not make double sided quilts
- When we long arm quilt a T-shirt quilt, we work from the front or the T-shirt side of the quilt. We use 100% cotton material on the back of the quilt. The backing material does not stretch and is pull tight while we quilt where as the T-shirt side is kept loose. If we had T-shirt material on the back and pulled it tight, the back would stretch and would end up longer than the top.
- If both sides were T-shirt material, it would be very difficult to line the two quilts up with each other perfectly. And if they line up perfectly, any matching seam would be thick.
- A double-sided quilt would be very heavy.
- There are other technical considerations that we don't need to bore you with as well.
There are quilters who will make two sided quilts. To solve many of the technical issues, a quilter will use iron on backing to stiffen up the T-shirts so they can more easily work with them. Iron on backing on a one sided T-shirt quilt is stiff enough, but on two sides it would be doubly stiff.
Also be aware that these quilts might be tied or tacked rather than quilted. This is not a preferred method of finishing a T-shirt Quilt.
If you do find someone to make a double-sided quilt for you, before you send in your T-shirts, ask for a sample of the quilt sandwich (top, batting and backing). Make sure you can live with the feel of the quilt. We are always happy to send you a sample for comparison.
Most people looking for a two-sided quilt are doing so because they have a lot of T-shirts. A Too Cool T-shirt Quilt allows you to use a lot of T-shirts, so perhaps you might find that a two-sided quilt is unnecessary. We strive to make a great product and don’t feel that we could make a double-sided quilt to our high standards of excellence.
If you would like to learn more about T-shirt quilts so you can make an educated decision about who should make your quilt, check out our T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide.
T-shirt Quilt Blog
It’s been the spring of the neon yellow T-shirt. These are also call highlighter yellow or safety yellow. It seems that one out of every two high school graduation T-shirt quilts we have made this year has had at least one neon yellow T-shirt in it. Last year we saw only a few quilts with these and other bright T-shirts. But this year we have seen a marked increase in the number of these T-shirts.
Highlighter yellow T-shirts are fun and stand out in a T-shirt quilt. Take this into consideration when planning a T-shirt quilt that has one of these T-shirts. If you don’t like the T-shirt – you might choose to leave it out – because it will stand out.
With all the neon T-shirts we have seen pass through our hands in the past year, one of our sewers, Faye, decided to make a quilt out of just neon T-shirt material. She watched every quilt that we cut and pulled out the extra material from neon pink, yellow, green, orange, blue and purple T-shirts to make a quilt for herself. Faye chose a simple block pattern - simple to sew but complex to layout. To layout her quilt, Faye spread the blocks out on her living room floor and spent a weekend moving them around until she had the perfect balance. You see Faye has a touch of OCD, so it was a slow process making her quilt. But it turned out wonderful.
To make the front of her quilt even brighter, Faye chose a black backing and binding. Then she chose a neon variegated thread for the quilting. This thread pops on the back. A simple quilting pattern was used to match the simple block pattern of the quilt. But this simple just sings.
For the past 21 years Too Cool T-shirt Quilts has been leading the industry in T-shirt quilt innovation. It’s fun watching the changing
T-shirt Quilt Blog
Memorial Day traditionally marks the first day of summer! Oh yeah.
With summer comes travel. Are you traveling anywhere this summer? If so, don’t forget to get a T-shirt from where you traveled. A travel T-shirt quilt can be a daily reminder of the great summer vacations and adventures of your life.
Each place you visit is another opportunity to acquire another T-shirt. Look around – you will see T-shirts everywhere!
- T-shirt shops
- Gift Shops
- Road Side attractions
- Amusements/Water Parks
- Camp Grounds
- Car Shows
- Farmer Markets
- National Parks
- Baseball Games
- Athletic Events
Look around – you will see T-shirts everywhere!
Are you on a budget? Here are some places to look for T-shirts that are not aimed at tourist…
Goodwill – Used T-shirts with generally a good selection in one spot within the store.
Thrift shops – Used T-shirts. Depending on the store, they may be more or less expensive than Goodwill. Typically they are not in one spot in the store so it takes more time to find them among regular clothing.
Garage Sales – If you can find them, these will be the least expensive place to find used T-shirts. Although you might have to go to a number of sales to find what you want. But if you see one that is easy to get to, you might consider checking it out.
T-shirt Quilt Blog
Memorial Day is a day to celebrate and honor the lives of our deceased loved ones. But when we loose someone so close to us, we remember him or her everyday. If you are looking for a special way to celebrate and remember someone you have lost, a quilt made from his or her T-shirts and/or clothing may be just the thing.
When the person who died was special to many people, one quilt may not be enough. We have had many occasions when a grand parent has died and we made quilts for each of his or her grandchildren. Other times, a young child has died and we have made quilts for her sister, mother and grandmother.
For general information about memorial quilts, we encourage you to read our Memorial Quilt Guide.
Here are some thoughts on sorting one person’s clothing and splitting those items into multiple quilts.
The simple way is to divide up the T-shirts/clothing items into one stack for each quilt you would like made. But, we all know that life is not simple. There are some items may need to go into each quilt. Other items may need to go into two quilts, but not, say, all four.
The best way for sorting items is to set out a number of bags equal to the number of quilts you would like made. Place the appropriate clothing items in each bag. Place an order form in each bag with any special instructions you may have. Either number or name each quilt.
Then, set out another bag for the clothing items, which you would like to use a piece in each quilt or a part in two or three of your quilts. Stick a piece of blue painters tape on each clothing item listing the name or quilt number that gets a block from that item. If there is a T-shirt in this pile with a front and a back, tape the name or quilt number of the quilt that that particular side goes into.
How Too Cool T-shirt Quilts will work with your items:
We will set up a plastic storage box for each grouping or bag of items. Then, working one grouping at a time, we will cut the items from that bag. When all the individual groupings are cut, we line up the labeled plastic storage boxes and then work from the bag containing items that needs a piece to go into more than one quilt. As we cut that clothing item, we put a piece in each specified quilt box.
We know how important your T-shirts and clothing items are to you and your memories of your loved one. We will treat them as if they were our loved one’s item – with care and consideration.
Take you time planning your memorial quilts. They are too important to rush. We are more than welcome to call us here for more information. 517-541-8225.T-shirt Quilt Blog
Every year the crew here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts in Charlotte, Michigan spends a Friday morning in May in a quest to find T-shirts. Our previous blog explained why we collect T-shirts. In this blog, we will share some of the things we have learned from attending nearly 100 garage sales in a morning. We have learned a lot about having a garage sale and will share it with you so you can have a great garage sale too.
What we have learned about having garage sales:
- There are two types of garage sales:
- Those that are about making money
At these sales, the items are over priced and the owners are not interested in negoatiation. At the end of the weekend, they still have 75% of what they began with.
- Those that are about getting rid of stuff
At these sales, prices are realistic and items move. At the end of the weekend, 80% of what they began with has been sold.
- Your stuff is not worth as much as you think it is
Just because you purchased something for $10 and wore it once doesn’t mean that it is now worth $8. Prices at your garage sale need to be less than the prices at Goodwill or other thrift stores. If you think your stuff is worth more, then you need to donate it to a thrift store and take the tax write off for what you value your item. No one wants to buy your T-shirt for $5 when the next sale will have it for 25 cents.
- If you are trying to sell clothing, don’t fold it up nice and neat.
People love to dig through clothing and find that treasure. If you have a lot of clothing to sell, consider putting it on a table or a tarp and sell it for “stuff a bag for $1 or $5.” This is so much fun for your customers and will get them to look at more than if they see $4 for the first item on the table.
- Pricing signs are good!
It’s frustrating to walk up a driveway and find no prices on items. Then you have to take your time to ask.
- Group garage sales are a pain!
We hate garage sale where 2 to 4 families pool their items. We like that there are a lot of items at one sale, but we hate check out time and negotiations. At check out time, someone has to go through each item and pull the price tag off, put it in a notebook and then add everything up. It takes forever! And trying to figure out whose item you have and then finding that person to negotiate the price with – well it’s more pain than it’s worth.
- Make it easy to are you have having a garage sale!
- Use signs.
- Bring things out to the front yard.
- Keep things out of the garage
This is important! When you are garage sailing, you are in and out of the car and you typically have your sunglasses on. Then if you have to go into a dark garage, you have to take your glasses off to see. If your customer has prescript sunglasses, they won’t be able to see anything in your garage.
- Don’t leave your kids in charge of your sale
- It’s not safe for the kids
- Kids don’t know what they are doing
We make some awesome T-shirt quilts from T-shirts collected from garage sales. Perhaps we will show up at your garage sale some day!
T-shirt Quilt Blog
Every year the crew here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts in Charlotte, Michigan spends a Friday morning in May in a quest to find T-shirts. The occasion is the Charlotte City Wide Garage Sales. We all meet at the public library in Charlotte at 9 am. We divide our group and the city into three quadrants and begin our morning of hunting for T-shirts. At lunch, we meet at Pizza Hut and share our stories and finds.
This year we visited over 100 garage sales and bought over 300 T-shirts.
Why do we need T-shirts?
When a new employee begins at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts, we just don’t let them loose on your T-shirts! Rather they begin learning how to make T-shirt quilts with T-shirts that just don’t matter. That way if they make a mistake, we learn from it and move on. And the T-shirt? It just gets tossed.
- Theme Quilts
We love to make theme quilts. These are T-shirt Quilts that we make from all one genre of T-shirt. For example, we have made theme quilts from topics ranging from Mickey Mouse to our favorite sports teams. The topics available to choose from are limitless. We use these theme quilts for donations to charities, to sell, for gifts and just because we love a particular theme.
When a new idea about a T-shirt strikes, we don’t experiment with your T-shirts! We use the T-shirts we have gathered from garage sales to experiment. And it’s a good thing too – not every experiment is successful. For example, we normally use a very light colored thread to do the quilting on our quilts. We did experiment with navy thread on a quilt that was made of garage sale finds. The dark thread looked so awful – worse than awful – that we will never use such a dark colored threat again. But we did not ruin anyone’s quilt doing this experiment.
We have turned to our stash of T-shirt blocks many times over the years to find a T-shirt for a customer who was missing a T-shirt that represented an important part of a quilt. For example, we were making a high school graduation T-shirt quilt for a graduate who was going to be attending the University of Michigan. They did not have any U of M T-shirts, but we did and were able to save the expense and time for the parents to acquire such a T-shirt.
If you are looking for more T-shirts to round out your collection of theme T-shirts or want to collect an entire theme quilt from scratch, then garage sales are a great place to start.
Part two of this blog is about what we learned about having a garage sale.T-shirt Quilt Blog
When we are out and about showing our T-shirt quilts at various events, we often hear, "my mom/aunt/sister/neighbor/friend/ _________ can make a T-shirt quilt for me." Sure they can, and it may not cost you anything. But what will you be getting? That’s the big question.
There are a lot of people who can make a T-shirt quilt, but very few can make one well.
If the person you are asking to make your quilt has never made a T-shirt quilt before, don’t count on getting a well-made quilt. T-shirt quilts can be tricky to make. Even if the person you are asking to make your quilt has the How to Make a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt book, chances are that their first 100 quilts are not going to be great. It takes time to develop the skill you need to make a great quilt. We do the long arm quilting for a lot of people’s first attempts at a T-shirt quilt made with the Too Cool T-shirt Quilt method. And there are a lot of issues with these quilts – here are just a few:
- Holes in the quilt
- Seams are mismatched and crooked
- Bunching and stretching of the material
- Block in upside down and sideways
- Blocks are put into columns and rows – not in randomly
- Designs are cut off when the T-shirts are cut
- Poor backing color choices
- Seams coming open because of a bad sewing machine
You may consider asking someone to make you a quilt who has made a number of T-shirt quilts before. Here are some things to consider:
What style of quilt will they make?
Will they make a traditional T-shirt quilt with equal size blocks and sashing? Or will they make a Too Cool style quilt? (They are also called variable style quilts by those who do not have the rights to use the copy righted Too Cool T-shirt Quilts.) You should know what you want before you hand over your T-shirts to any one.
What quality of material will they be using?
As with anything, the quality of materials used in a quilt can range from crap to high quality. Will you know this ahead of time? If they are making it for free, do you have the right to ask for what you want?
How will they finish your quilt?
Will they just tie the quilt and call it good? There are a number of ways to finish a quilt. Some ways are fast and awful and others take time and are awesome. Do you know which is which?
What will they charge you?
There are only a few people you should accept a free quilt from – your Mother, Grandmother or sister. You should not accept a free quilt from anyone not related to you. A good T-shirt quilt takes time and good materials. Would you offer to take a week of your time and $100 of your money to make something for someone not related to you? Most likely, no. You need to offer to at least pay for their labor and expenses. Remember, quilting is a skill like plumbing or auto mechanics – it takes practice. You may dream of paying your plumber $2 an hour, but it’s not happening. Do not pay a beginning quilter less than $10 an hour for her labor. An excellent quilter with years of experience should be paid much, much more.
Do you have enough information about T-shirt quilts to make a decision about who should make your T-shirt quilt? Before you ask anyone to make your quilt, check out our T-shirt Quilt Buying guide. It will give you the information you need to be able to ask the right questions of your quilter.
T-shirt Quilt Blog
There are many people who can make a T-shirt quilt, but there are only a few who can do it well. Here is a story from our customer Katy who had someone else make a T-shirt quilt for her.
Shortly after college, a family friend graciously agreed to turn my T-shirts into a keepsake quilt at no charge. I identified the T-shirts and pockets to use, but didn't give her much further guidance.
While I appreciated the work she put into it, the final result was not something I could use.
- I didn't like the orientation - it was wider than it was long
- The material was not quite the right color
- The fabric was not comfy
- The quilt was not quilted – just tied.
It would have fallen apart if I had used it.
So I put this quilt in a bag and there it sat for over 10 years and through 5 moves. I noticed the bag in storage a few weeks back and decided it was time to finally do something with it. And lucky for me, I stumbled across Too Cool T-shirt quilts on a Google search for "T-shirt quilts".
I looked at a lot of companies providing this service and most only offered the traditional evenly sized squares. No one else was making quilts like Too Cool T-shirt Quilts. The mix of shapes, the unique borders, and the craftsmanship sold me instantly.
I wasn't sure if Too Cool T-shirt quilts could salvage my old quilt. I'm thankful they could and am thrilled with the result. Just look at it - it's beautiful! And it has provided many smiles thinking about great memories. I'm hoping my friends still have their t-shirts sitting around after 10 years so they can send them up your way!
Take away points from the story:
- Free is not always good – you get what you pay for
- Know what you are getting before you send your T-shirt to someone to make your quilt
- We may be able to salvage the T-shirt from a previous botched T-shirt quilt attempt
- Too Cool T-shirt Quilts make awesome T-shirt quilts
Bye Bye Bad Quilt:
T-shirt Quilt Blog