T-shirt Quilts: 8 Choices You Will Need to Make

Posted by Andrea Funk on February 20, 2017 6:30:00 AM EST

If you are planning a T-shirt quilt, here are 8 choices you will need to make about your quilt before you find a quilt maker. 

1. Blanket vs. Quilt

Not all T-shirts quilts are actually quilts. Some are blankets. There is a huge difference! A blanket has two layers – the top and the backing and a quilt has three layers – the top, batting and backing.  A blanket has nothing holding the front to the back (see photo to the right) where as a quilt has quilting holding the three layers together. Read more about the differences and why it's important to know which one is right for you. 


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Topics: About T-shirt Quilts

How to Store Your T-shirts for a Quilt

Posted by Andrea Funk on February 16, 2017 6:30:00 AM EST

Right now may not be the right time for you to have a T-shirt quilt made. You might not have enough money saved for a quilt or you still have more T-shirts to collect. What ever the reason might be, you have an issue: How to store your T-shirts until the time is right.

Storage Methods

Boxing – We would suggest choosing a sealed plastic storage box for your long-term storage of T-shirts.

  • Plastic is waterproof – this might save them from a flood.
  • Plastic will keep mold and other environmental smells out.

Rolling – If you roll, rather than fold, your T-shirts you will be able to get more of them into one box.

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Topics: Collecting T-shirts for a Quilt

Sorting Your T-shirts for a Quilt

Posted by Andrea Funk on February 13, 2017 6:30:00 AM EST

Your T-shirts in a T-shirt quilt tell a story.

It may be the story of your life or of your trip to Europe. It's important to take a little time to sort through your T-shirts before you have a quilt made. Your T-shirts all need to be part of the same story. One wrong T-shirt in your quilt might be a heart breaker if it doesn't belong.  

For example, it is important not to mix in T-shirts that are not related to the topic of your quilt. For example, let's say that you ran in 15 marathons this year.  Those 15 T-shirts tell a story. It would be inappropriate to add one or two concert T-shirts from 1985 with the marathon T-shirts. It just does not make sense.

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Topics: About T-shirt Quilts, T-shirt Quilts

Looking for a T-shirt Quilt Maker?

Posted by Andrea Funk on February 9, 2017 6:30:00 AM EST

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 question.

"There are many 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.

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Topics: Too Cool T-shirt Quilts, T-shirt Quilts

10 Tips About T-shirt Quilts

Posted by Andrea Funk on February 6, 2017 6:30:00 AM EST

T-shirt quilts come in many different styles and levels of quality.

  • Do you know what style of quilt you want?
  • What about the quality of your quilt?

Before you have a T-shirt quilt made with your T-shirts, here are some tips that can help you weed out quilters who may not be offering you exactly what you want. 

1. There are 5 typical styles of T-shirt quilts.

Do you know what style you are looking for? This is the first questions you need to ask yourself. "What style quilt do I want?" If you don't know what the different types of T-shirts quilts are or look like, you can read more about quilt styles here

2. You can use more than just T-shirts in a T-shirt quilt.

You can use just about any machine washable fabric in a quilt. We have used sweatshirts, jerseys, jeans, bags, dance outfits, stuffed animals, gymnastic Leo's, jackets, socks, baby shoes, swim suits, and much, much more. If you think that something helps tell the story you are telling with your quilt, use it! Here is more about what can be used in a T-shirt quilt. 

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Topics: About T-shirt Quilts

Ugly T-shirt Quilts: How To Avoid One

Posted by Andrea Funk on February 2, 2017 6:30:00 AM EST

Do you want an ugly T-shirt quilt? No? Then avoid these five practices that can make a T-shirt quilt ugly. 

1. Cropped Off Logos or Graphics

A T-shirt quilt, first and foremost, is about T-shirts. If part of a T-shirt’s design is cropped off just so it can fit within the set block size, that block will look incomplete and is incomplete. More over it looks thoughtless.

Here is an example of a image being cropped off. On the left is the T-shirt before it was cut. The photo on the right is that same T-shirt in a quilt. They totally cut off the word Motorcycle! Cut it off! If this were a favorite T-shirt, your heart would be broken. Below on the right is how this T-shirt should be used in a quilt. You see the entire image without anything being cropped off.

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Topics: About T-shirt Quilts

Adding Photos to T-shirt Quilts

Posted by Andrea Funk on January 30, 2017 6:33:00 AM EST

Can you add photographs to your T-shirt quilt? Yes. Here's what you need to know. 

How many photos can be used in a T-shirt quilt?

Some of our quilts have had just one photograph while other quilts have been made exclusively from photographs. It’s your quilt; choose the photographs that you love and that further the story that your T-shirts are telling.

We typically see photographs used in memorial and graduation quilts. We have also seen them used in family quilts and athletic quilts showing the winning move. If a photograph can help further the story that the T-shirts tell, it’s appropriate to use them.

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Topics: About T-shirt Quilts, Types of T-shirt Quilts

6 Myths About T-shirt Quilts - Busted

Posted by Andrea Funk on January 26, 2017 6:30:00 AM EST

There are a lot of myths about what a T-shirt quilt is, is not, should or should not be. Here are 6 True or False questions about T-shirt quilts - how many can you answer correctly?

The more you get right, the more you know about T-shirt quilts. And the more you know, the better choices you will be able to make in choosing the right T-shirt quilt maker for your T-shirts.  If you choose the wrong answer, click on the link to read more about that topic. 

True or False: 
Only T-shirts can be used in a T-shirt Quilt.

False!  T-shirt quilts have evolved beyond just T-shirts. You can include just about any machine washable fabric in your quilt. This includes sweatshirts, nylon jackets, bags, baseball caps, and so many other things. You can even included stuffed animals in your quilts.  

Read more about what can be used in a T-shirt quilt here. 

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Topics: About T-shirt Quilts

How many T-shirts do I needed for a Quilt?

Posted by Andrea Funk on January 23, 2017 6:30:00 AM EST

"Why can’t you tell me exactly how many T-shirt I need to make a Quilt?"

Because, all T-shirts are not created equal!  T-shirts have designs of different sizes and a different number of designs.  Some T-shirts have huge designs on the front and back of the shirt while others just have a small breast logo. So the shirt with the large designs on the front and back might have over 800 square inches of design to work with, whereas, the shirt with just the small front logo will only have 16 square to work with.

So if you tell me you have 20 T-shirts and want to know how large of a quilt they will make, I won’t be able to tell you. 

But we do have some guideline that can at least give you a starting place. When you look at the estimated number of T-shirts, in the chart below, you need to consider your T-shirts.  Don’t count the fronts and backs of your T-shirts, but look at them as a whole. Do you have mostly T-shirts with large designs on the fronts and back? Then you will need fewer T-shirts. But if you have mostly one-sided T-shirts with just breast logos, then you will need more.

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Topics: About T-shirt Quilts, Types of T-shirt Quilts, Too Cool T-shirt Quilts, T-shirt Quilts

Quilting a T-shirt Quilt

Posted by Milie Funk on January 19, 2017 6:30:00 AM EST

A Quick Explanation of Quilting T-shirt Quilts

Long-arm machine quilting the way most quilt makers finish the T-shirt quilts they make. There are a two basic style a quilter can choose from. These are:

  • An over-all quilting pattern over the entire quilt. This is done with either with a computerized machine that runs  by itself  or by a quilter tracing a repetitive design by hand.

  • A unique pattern for each block.  This can be drawn by an artist standing at the front of a quilting machine - see the photo on the right. Or this can be quilted by a computerized long-arm quilting machine - the quilter just presses the go button.

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Topics: Backs of T-shirt Quilts

Andrea_Funk_Head_shotWritten by Andrea T. Funk

Andrea Funk is the inventor of T-shirt quilts made with multiple blocks sizes, no sashing and no iron on backing. In 1992 she founded Too Cool T-shirt Quilts and her life has been immersed in T-shirt quilts ever since.