Andrea Funk

By: Andrea Funk on September 26th, 2016

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10 Common Misconceptions About T-shirt Quilts

Q & A About T-shirt Quilts  |  T-shirt Quilt Details  |  Comparing T-shirt Quilts

There are a lot of misconceptions about T-shirt quilts – from how they look to how they are made. Below is a look at 10 big misconceptions. We will break each down for you and debunk them one at a time. When available, we also have included links to more information about each misconception.

10 Common Misconceptions About T-shirt Quilts

Compare two styles of T-shirts quilts. On the left is a Project Repat quilt and on the right, made with the exact same T-shirts is a Too Cool style quilt.

1. There is only one style of T-shirt quilt.

False! There are many different styles of T-shirt quilts: puzzle style, traditional style, traditional style with sashing, crazy quilt style and more. Before you choose a quilt maker, first decided what style of quilt you want and what style would work best for your T-shirts. Read more about the different styles of T-shirt quilts here.

2. T-shirt quilts are easy to make.

How not to make a t-shirt quilt

This is a very common mistake people make. “Oh, they don’t look that difficult to make. I have a sewing machine and a pair of scissors. What could go wrong?” Oh boy! We have heard this and seen the results of this thinking often!

If you are considering making your own T-shirt quilt, take this quiz to see if you have the equipment and skills to attempt your own quilt.

3. A quilt and a blanket are the same thing.

Don’t believe it! Although they are both used to keep you warm, they are different! A quilt has three layers held together by quilting. A blanket has two layers that are not held together with anything.

If you are researching T-shirt quilt makers, be sure to ask if they make quilts or blankets. And beware; some people making blankets think that they are making quilts! So first ask, “Do you make quilts or blankets?” If they answer that they are making quilts, ask “What type of batting do you use?” (The correct answer should be 80% cotton/20% polyester needle punched or 100% cotton.) And then ask, “What type of quilting do you do?” (The correct answer should be long arm quilting)

Here is an article going deeper into the differences between a blanket and a quilt.

Tech fabrics work wonderfully in a T-shirt Quilt. 4. Only cotton T-shirts can be used.

Wrong! Don’t be limited to just T-shirts. We use many other types of clothing and cloth items such as sweatshirts, tank tops, tech fabrics, jeans, regular clothing and much, much more. If it can be washed in a washing machine, we probably can use it. Read more about what can be used in a T-shirt quilt here.

5. A thicker batting means a warmer quilt.

Don’t buy into this! The best type of batting is 80% cotton/20% polyester needle punched or 100% cotton. These two types of batting are thin and the perfect weight to keep you warm. Traditional quilt makers prefer these battings. You can purchase high loft polyester battings, but they won’t keep you warm. They are just less expensive and give the perception that they will be warmer. Read more about batting here.

Cropped off image in a T-shirt quilt is bad6. It’s okay to crop-off a logo on a T-shirt.

Why would cropping off a logo ever be okay? Your shirts are your memories. When you look at them you don't want to see parts of them missing. It is NEVER ok to crop-off a logo unless you specifically want them that way.

Why would a quilt maker crop-off a logo? This happens when you choose a traditional style quilt with one-size blocks. Any logo that is larger than this block will be cropped off. Any logo way smaller than this size block will be left with too much margin around the design. Read more here.

The photo here shows how graphics were cropped of on a Project Repat T-shirt blanket. This is not right! There are ways to make a T-shirt quilt without cropping off an image. To us, this is unacceptable. Grade? F

 Download our T-shirt quilt buyer guide to learn more about having a quilt made from your T-shirts.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

This photo shows the back of 3 quilts and the binding used on each. 7. Black is the best color for the back of a quilt.

Why would black the best choice for the back of a T-shirt quilt? We like using bright colors that tie into the colors of the T-shirts on the front of the quilt. We here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts think that you should have a lot of backing colors to choose from. We have over 250 colors to choose from, and we are here to help you choose the best color for your quilt. That might be black and it might be bright blue!

8. Sashing must be used to make a real T-shirt quilt.

Wyoming Cowboys T-shirt quiltSashing is a strip of fabric sewn between the blocks and usually divides the blocks into rows and columns. This is how T-shirt quilts were initially made in the 1980’s. Read more about the history of T-shirt quilt making here. Today, quilt makers have a number of different styles of T

-shirt quilts they can make and most without sashing. Read more about static/traditional style quilts here. 

9. Stabilizer must be ironed onto the back of the T-shirts.

This is one of the main controversies in the T-shirt quilt world. Quilt makers initially backed T-shirts with iron-on backing. It made them stiff and not stretchy so T-shirt material could be sewn to cotton sashing strips. It was the only way anyone knew how to make T-shirt quilts. Read more about the history of T-shirt quilts here. 

In the early 1990’s I began making quilts without sashing or interfacing. And 25 years later I am still being questioned about if this really works. Many quilters tell anyone who will listen that you can’t make a T-shirt quilt without interfacing and that the Too Cool style does not work. I am so tired of this.  

More About: General Information About T-shirt QuiltsBasically, if a quilt maker has to stiffen T-shirt with iron on backing, I would suggest finding a different quilt maker or expect a stiff quilt.

Ironing on a stabilizer to a T-shirts is not required to make an awesome T-shirt quilt.

10. Anyone can make a T-shirt quilt.

This shows a woman pinning blocks together to make a T-shirt quilt. It takes time and experience to make an awesome T-shirt quiltYeah, with the right tools and enough practice, most, but not all, people can be taught to make a T-shirt quilt. But without the right tools, instruction and experience--don’t hold your breath!

No matter what you see on Pinterest or Etsy, T-shirt quilt making isn’t easy or fast. There are no short cuts, or fast ways to make a quilt. Do your research so you can find an experienced T-shirt quilt maker. Here is a list of interview questions you can ask potential quilt makers. 


Learn more about having a quilt made from your T-shirts, visit our resource center.
It has links to 100's of articles about T-shirt quilts. 
If you want to know something, this is the place to go!

Learning Center

This T-shirt quilt has a double border and pipping between the border and the T-shirt part of the quilt.

Back to General Information About T-shirt Quilts

About Andrea Funk

Andrea Funk is the inventor of T-shirt quilts made with multiple blocks sizes. The modern method of making T-shirt quilts. In 1992 she founded Too Cool T-shirt Quilts. Her life has been immersed in T-shirt quilts ever since.