5 Factors That Influence What Your Quilt Will Look Like:
1. The T-shirts 2. The Quilt Style 3. The Layout 4. The Materials Used 5. The Workmanship
Do you have T-shirts you want made into a quilt? Are you looking for a quilt that is more than a few steps above ho-hum? Below are five factors that go into making a T-shirt quilt that is so much better than ho-hum.
1. The T-shirts
It begins with awesome T-shirts. If the T-shirts are yours and tell your story, then you will love your quilt no matter what. But the T-shirt quilts that are the best of the best have a few things in common about their T-shirts:
Awesome quilts usually have one of the following color combinations:
A great mix of T-shirts: a few white, a few black and a lot of other colorful T-shirts.
These types of combinations help to unify the look of the quilt.
This doesn't mean that your quilt made with the T-shirt you have won't look great. We have ways we help balance out the colors of our quilts so they all look great.
Look at the colors of your T-shirts before you have your quilt made. Is there one T-shirt that stands out like a sore thumb? If so, how important is that T-shirt?
If that T-shirt is very important, then you should include it in your quilt. Just make sure you choose an experienced T-shirt quilt maker. If that T-shirt is not all that important, you might exclude it from your T-shirts.
Some great quilts have a great topic that makes the quilt unique. For example, a quilt made from all Hard Rock Café T-shirts will have something special that will make it great. It's because the entire quilt is made from T-shirts from one brand name.
Quilts made from a unified topic are cohesive. This cohesiveness gives the quilt a unique feel that a "this is your life quilt" might not have.
T-shirts do come in different types. For example there are golf shirts, baseball shirts, T-shirts made from cotton, from tech fabric or polyester. The styles and fabric types will have an effect on your quilt. If one T-shirt is made from different fabric than the rest, it may be a little more noticeable than your other T-shirts.
If you have a large variety of T-shirt types and fabric, then you would have a quilt with a lot of nice texture to feel.
We have made many quilts exclusively from Tech Fabric. These quilts were awesome because they have a silky soft texture. They are also very light weight as a result of the Tech Fabric. One cotton T-shirt in a quilt like this would have made the quilt feel and look a little off.
We can use any type of cloth in your quilt. As you get your items together for a quilt, keep in mind how they look and feel together.
Planning a T-shirt quilt? Here are step-by-step directions for ordering your Too Cool T-shirt quilt.
2. The Quilt Style
There are 6 major styles of T-shirt quilts.
Traditional Block Style With Sashing
Traditional Block Style Without Sashing
Unequal Rows or Columns
The Too Cool Style AKA: Variable or Puzzle Styles
The Stained Glass Puzzle Style
Crazy Quilt Style
If you want a killer T-shirt quilt, you need to choose a style that will showcase your T-shirts. This means you want to make sure that none of the graphics are cropped off. You want to make sure that there isn't an excess of "white space" around a design. Not all styles of T-shirt quilts can do this for you.
You need to read about each style and choose which one is best for your T-shirts. And which one just feels the best for you.
The layout of a T-shirt quilt is where a quilter maker places each block in the quilt. A bad layout will make a quilt less successful. An awesome T-shirt quilt has a great layout.
The layout involves the following:
Balance of colors. The colors of T-shirts need to be balanced throughout the quilt. If there are big blobs of color, this will detract from the look of the quilt. To get a feel if the balance is attractive, step back and squint at the quilt or photo of the quilt. This is like letting you see the forest rather than individual trees. It's an overview.
What do you see? Are the colors balanced? You want to see the colors balanced throughout the quilt. You don't want to see blobs or sections that are more one color than another.
Direction of action of the T-shirts. The movement or action of the graphics from your T-shirts should be placed directionally. This means that designs where the subject is looking left or the action is moving to the left need to be on the right side of the quilt and vice versa for those looking right. This is because your eyes tend to follow the action of the design. An image will influence where your eyes look.
The key is to keep your eyes tracking onto the quilt and not off. You want your quilt so that the action or movement on the blocks direct your eyes onto the quilt. It’s subtle, but it’s important.
In the quilt here, the yellow arrows shows the movement of the action of the graphics. You can see that many of the graphics lead your eye off the quilt. Simply by having put those blocks on the other side of the quilt would have solved this problem. The quilt would have been more successful.
4. The Materials Used
If you want an awesome T-shirt quilt, then choose a quilt maker that uses high quality materials. Quality materials mean that your quilt will last a lifetime.
Quilt makers have a huge array of fabrics, battings and threads to choose from. As you might suspect, they are not all created equal. To save money, some quilt makers will choose the least expensive materials they can get their hands on.
For example, say a quilt needs 9 yards a fabric. If you choose material that cost $3 a yard, you will spend just $27 on fabric. On the other hand, if you go with the good stuff, you could pay $15 a yard. This means you would spend $135 on fabric.
If you are only charged $250 for a quilt, you would lose money if you went with the expensive material. Thus, the less expensive a quilt, the greater the possibility the quilt maker went with cheaper materials.
What do you need to look for in the materials used in your quilt?
Backing Fabric Look for high thread count 100% cotton backing material. Think about how you buy bed sheets here.
Batting The batting should be 80% cotton/20% poly needle punched or 100% cotton. Avoid 100% polyester battings!
The best T-shirts, the best quilt style, the best design and quality materials are worthless if the person making the quilt has poor sewing and quilting skills. You need to find a quilt maker who is competent.
Here are things to look for in a quilt maker:
How long have they been in business?
How many T-shirt quilts have they made?
What type of T-shirt quilts are they making?
Are they using iron on backing? (I hope not!)
What type of quilting are they doing on the T-shirt quilt?
Is the quilt being sent out for quilting?
How creative is the quilt maker?
What quality of materials are they using?
Is the home or shop smoke free/pet free?
How long will it take to have your T-shirt quilt made?
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.