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Q & A About T-shirt Quilts

37 Questions about T-shirt Quilts Answered

November 22nd, 2021

By Andrea Funk

The most frequently asked question about T-shirt quilts is: "Can sweatshirts be used in a T-shirt quilt?"

Answer - Yes they can!

The Basics of a T-shirt Quilt

I have too many T-shirts1. Will you send my T-shirt back with the quilt?

No. We will use them to make your quilt! 

2. Are those the actual T-shirts in the quilt?


3. How are the graphics removed from the T-shirts?

The designs are cut out of the T-shirts

4. Can you use the graphics from the front and back of my T-shirts?

Yes, we can use any part of your T-shirts or other items. Front, back, sleeve, leg and butt.

Unless you tell us not to use something, we will use everything on your T-shirts. Don’t assume that since a part is not important to you that we will know not to use it. You need to tell us what parts not to use. Typically, you use more from a T-shirt than not. We prefer that you tell us what not to use and know that we will use anything not marked out. Here is a link to a video and written directions on how to mark your T-shirts for us.

5.Can I include sweatshirts and other items that are not T-shirts in my quilt?

You can use anything that you can wash in a washing machine. Read more about it here.

Now this is a T-shirt that has seen a good life. We can still use this is a quilt.6. There is a hole/rip in my T-shirt. Can it still be used?

Yes, we can repair the hole or rip. Read more here.

7. Are you able to include tech fabrics in a T-shirt quilt?

Yes, we can use any of these fabrics along with other fabrics that can be washed in your washing machine. All washable fabric can be mixed together in a quilt.

This question is asked frequently because runners and other athletes receive tech fabric T-shirts at events. The other reason this question is asked is because many T-shirt quilters refuse to use this material because it is difficult to work with and you can’t iron on interfacing to tech fabrics. But here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts we don’t use iron on backing on your T-shirts, nor do we find the material especially difficult to work with.  Here is more information about Tech T-shirts.

To learn more about the different types, styles, and qualities of T-shirts, download our T-shirt Quilt Buyer’s Guide. 
It’s a great place to begin your journey to finding a quilt maker.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

8. How long will it take to have my T-shirt quilt made?

how long does it take to have a T-shirt quilt made?Depending on the time of year, our turnaround time is typically 3 to 6 weeks. If it will take more time than this, we will let you know. The Industry standard turnaround time is 4 to 8 weeks.

Our turn around time can vary by the time of year. Near Christmas and high school graduation season, our turnaround time is closer to 6 to 8 weeks. But in January and February or in the summer, our turnaround time is much faster. If you have a date that you must have your quilt by, be sure to write that on your order form.  We are happy to work with you to try to accommodate your timeline.

9. Is my quilt machine washable?

Washer and dry for washing a T-shirt quiltYes. Here are the washing directions.

10. What is the longevity of a T-shirt quilt?

That depends on how you use it. Too Cool T-shirt Quilts make our quilts to last lifetimes! We hope they are passed down throughout the generations.  Some families even fight over who will get the quilt when Mom passes on.

One of the main tricks to keeping your quilt nice is to keep it away from dogs and other animals. 

11. Do I just mail my T-shirts to you?

Basically, yes. Here are directions for having a T-shirt quilt made.

12. What if I am unsure if I am ready to give up my T-shirts yet?

Don’t have a quilt made. Or think of it this way: With a T-shirt quilt you get to “wear” all your T-shirts at once. A T-shirt quilt lets you retain the important parts of the T-shirt while letting the rest go. Frees up dresser drawers space at the same time.

How Many T-shirts? 

13. How many T-shirts do I need for a particular size quilt? 

It all will depend on the T-shirts.

August B 2021

14. Why don’t you have a set number of T-shirts for each size quilt?

We don’t make T-shirt quilts like most companies. Other T-shirt quilt makers cut all your blocks the same size and thus can easily tell you exactly how many pieces you will need. They will also happily cut off part of the design on your T-shirt so it fits in their block.

But all your T-shirts don’t have the same size designs! Some have a little one on the front and a big one on the back. Others have designs on just on one side or down the sleeve. We cut the block for your T-shirt quilt based on the size of the designs on the T-shirts. You will end up with many different size blocks in your quilt. When we cut your T-shirts, we will not cut off part of the design so it fits a standard block size.

We will not know what size quilt your stack of T-shirts will make until they are cut.

15. How do I determine how many T-shirts to send?

How many T-shirt for a too cool T-shirt quilt

Start with our chart:

You will need more T-shirts if the designs on the T-shirts are small. Or it may take less if the designs are big. The more T-shirts you have with fronts and backs mean you will need fewer T-shirts than the approximate number for a particular size. If you have T-shirts with small designs on just one side, you will need more T-shirts. So don’t send 20 T-shirts with huge designs on the fronts and backs of each T-shirt and expect a lap size quilt!

Concert and Harley Davidson T-shirts tend to have large designs on the fronts and backs of them. We suggest you count one of these T-shirts as two. 

16. How do you calculate the size of my quilt after my T-shirts have arrive?

calculator is involved in making a T-shirt quilt.We do math! Who knew?

Generally, we take the T-shirts you send and cut them. Then we determine what size quilt those T-shirts could make. We will e-mail you and tell you the dimensions of the quilt that these T-shirts can make. At this time you can accept the dimensions of the quilt or you can add or remove T-shirts so the quilt is the size you would like.

17.  I only have 17 T-shirts. Can they be made into a quilt?

Yes. We can make your quilt whatever size those T-shirts will make. This quilt might be in between typical sizes.

What’s on the back of a T-shirt quilt?

The back of a T-shirt quilt.18. What type of fabric do you use on the back of a quilt?

We use Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Solids. They are very high quality 100% cotton fabric.

19. Do I choose the color for the back of my quilt?

Yes, it's your quilt! We have over 300 colors available.

20. Are my color choices on the website?

We don’t have samples on the website because of the potential for the color not to read right from computer to computer. You can either tell us the color you would like or send us a swatch of the color you want.

21. How do I show you what color I want for the back of my quilt? 

Fabric room at too Cool T-shirt quilts

We would like you to send a swatch of the color you would like. A swatch can be anything from a paint chip to a piece of material. Below is a list of some options:

  • A piece of fabric from one of your T-shirts
  • A color crayon or marker scribbled on white paper 
  • Paint chip 
  • A piece of fabric
  • A piece of wallpaper 
  • A photo or color swatch from a magazine with the specific color circled
  • A colored piece of paper.

22. Are there print fabrics I can choose from?

The Who T-shirt Quilt by too cool T-shirt quilts

No, we only use solid materials because you can’t see the stitching on a printed material. And being able to see the stitching is an important part of a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt. Look at the difference below in the quilting section.

23. Can you use flannel on my quilt?

Yes, if you will need to provide us with the fabric. We can tell you how much. But flannel does not wear as well in the long run, so we will try to talk you out of this.

24. Can you use Minky fabric on the back of my quilt?

One of our locations can use Minky fabric. Please check with us for more information.

25. If I choose a dark color fabric, will the fabric bleed when I wash it?

We hope not! We wash the backing material before we use it to ensure that the color is set. If, for some reason backing fabric does bleed, here is the solution. 

To learn more about the different types, styles and qualities of T-shirts, download our T-shirt Quilt Buyer’s Guide. 
It’s a great place to begin your journey to finding a quilt maker.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

The Quilting

quilting on the back of a too cool t-shirt quilt26. What type of quilting do you do on your T-shirt quilts?

On a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt, each block of the quilt receives a quilting design that is different from the other blocks in the quilt. If there are 37 blocks in the quilt, there will be 37 different quilting designs used. This includes tracing some designs on the front of the quilt so they can be seen on the back.

From the front of a T-shirt quilt, the quilting is there, but it is unobtrusive. From the back of a quilt, the quilting can be seen.

27. Could you just quilt an overall design on my quilt?

Yes, we can quilt an overall design on your quilt. But please understand that this is not what we are experienced doing. T-shirt quilters doing overall quilting design either move the machine following a printed templates with a laser pointer or have a computer guided long arm quilting machine.

Since we do art quilting on our quilts, we have very little experience with overall designs. We can do loops or stippling. Part of what make a Too Cool T-shirt quilt so cool is the quilting. With an overall pattern, your quilt becomes more pedestrian.

traced bird on a too cool T-shirt quilt 28. What you do mean about tracing something from my T-shirt?

The great thing about unique block quilting is that it frees the quilter up to trace a logo or design on the front of the quilt. When you look at that block from the back, you will then see that same logo or design in reverse.

Some of the tracing we do here can be very detailed. It’s the quilting that makes the quilt as fun to look at from the front as it is on the back.

29.  What can and what can’t be traced?

When deciding what to trace, we consider the following:

  • Size - the bigger the better
  • Complexity - less complex over more complex
  • Line drawing vs. shading - line drawings are what we look for.
  • Type of fabric - If the fabric is very, very wiggly, then we won't trace because it will turn out poorly. 
  • Surrounding graphics - We try to balance out the tracings so they are not all in one area on the quilt.

30.  I would like to tell you what to trace, is that possible?

If you would like a specific image traced, put a note on the shirt telling us that you would like it traced. If we can trace it, we will. Here is more about the quilting on a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt.  

Seahorse on the front of a T-shirt quilt  The quilting on the back of a T-shirt quilt.  this is the same seahorse that is on the front of the quilt.

paper tracing on a T-shirt quilt

31. I want something traced that is not one any T-shirt in my quilt. How can that be done?

Although we typically trace designs on the T-shirts, we can use a paper stencil to quilt specific designs on your quilt. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Copyright issues.

  • There will be a small additional cost to cover the time it takes to remove the paper.

  • The design will be a mirror image of the paper stencil. If words are used, they will read backwards on the back side of the quilt unless they are printed out backwards.


32.  Most T-shirt quilts I see just use one block size. What’s up with your quilts?

Compare a traditional  T-shirt blanket to a too cool T-shirt quiltT-shirt quilts that are made from one size block are an old fashion way to make them. The modern way is to make them with blocks of various sizes. After all, designs on T-shirts come in all shapes and sizes.  

In the photo to the right, the quilt on the right is a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt and the quilt on the left is a traditional style blanket. 

33. Do you stabilize your T-shirts with iron-on backing or interfacing?

No, it will just make your quilt stiff. It is just not needed – no matter what any other T-shirt quilt makers says. We have been making T-shirt quilt without iron on backing since 1992.

34. So how do you work with stretchy T-shirt fabric to keep it from stretching out of shape?

Stretching is only an issue if you sew T-shirt material to non-T-shirt material or are a poor sewer.

35.  Is there a difference between a T-shirt blanket and a T-shirt quilt?

Fleece on the back of a T-shirt blanketYes, a big difference!

A T-shirt blanket made up of two layers. The top layer or face is made from T-shirts sewn together. The bottom is typically one layer of polar fleece. These two pieces are sewn together inside out around the edge and then flipped right side out. Nothing else is done to the blanket.

Cheap, quick and lacks durability. The photo to the right shows how the back and front of a T-shirt blanket are not connected.

A T-shirt quilt is made up of three layers; the quilt top or face, batting and backing material. The three layers to quilted together and then a binding that runs around all four sides finishes the quilt. The binding encloses the raw edges of the three layers. This is a long lasting and durable. And not quick.

Read more about the difference between a quilt and a blanket here. 

36. Can you make a double-sided T-shirt quilt so there are T-shirts on the front and back of the quilt?

Yes. Click here to read more about it.

37. Where do I go if I have other questions about T-shirt Quilts?

Here is the link to the Too Cool T-shirt Quilts Frequently Asked Questions page. 

To learn more about the different types, styles and qualities of T-shirts, download our T-shirt Quilt Buyer’s Guide. 
It’s a great place to begin your journey to finding a quilt maker.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

Virginia T-shirt quilt

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.