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Planning a T-shirt Quilt

6 Ways to Determine the Size T-shirt Quilt for Your Needs

September 23rd, 2019

By Andrea Funk

20 foot long quilt header

6 ways to determine the size quilt you want.

1. Whatever size quilt the T-shirts will make.
2. Determine the size quilt based on how many T-shirts you have.
3. Match the size of a quilt or blanket that you love.
4. Measure the wall for a wall hanging.
5. How to figure the perfect fit for a bed.
6. Figure the size of your quilt by your height.

This is a Goldilocks story about finding the quilt that is the perfect size for you. A quilt that is not too big nor too small: a quilt that is just the right size! So how do you go about figuring this out? Read on, we will walk your through a number of different options to use.

First, we will look at what determines the size of a T-shirt quilt. Second, we will look at 6 methods you can use to determine the size quilt you want. 

What determines the size of a T-shirt quilt?

The T-shirt quilt hanging in the shop of Too Cool T-shirt quilts in Charlotte MIThere are three main factors that will influence the final size of a quilt. Here’s a quick look at them:

1. The number of T-shirts you have.

This is the major factor that determines a quilt size. The more T-shirts, the larger the quilt. The fewer T-shirts, the smaller the quilt. So as you work through figuring out what size quilt you want, keep in mind that what you put into the quilt influences the size. If you have 30 T-shirts, don’t expect to have a lap size quilt. There are just too many square inches of fabric in 30 T-shirts.

Here is a photo of a huge T-shirt quilt that hangs in the shop in Charlotte Michigan. This quilt has over 160 blocks!

2. The graphics on the T-shirts.

stolen concert T-shirt quilt watermarkedIf you have large designs on the fronts and backs of all your T-shirts, you will end up with a larger quilt than if you just have a small logo on the front of a shirt.

I have been given 4 bags full of shirts only to end up with a lap size quilt. All the logos were on golf polo shirts. Conversely, I have been given just 10 T-shirts that end up making a multi-use size quilt. These shirts had huge graphics on the fronts and backs. 

Many concert and Harley-Davidson T-shirts have very huge designs. This makes figuring out how far the T-shirts go a little different than other groupings of T-shirts. 

Read more about concert T-shirt quilts here. 

Read more about Harley-Davidson T-shirt quilts here. 

3. A Border

A border is a tool we can use to make a quilt larger. If your grouping of T-shirts is not making a quilt as large as you would like, the addition of a border can increase the size of the quilt those T-shirts will make.

At a minimum, a 2" border can used to make your quilt 4" wider and 4" longer.  At the other end of the spectrum, a 12" border makes a quilt 24" wider and 24" longer. A border is a great tool for making a quilt larger. Read more about border here. 

On the left a 2" border and on the right a 12" border.

Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt quilt  large border on a tshirt quilt  

To learn more about having a quilt made from your T-shirts, consider downloading our T-shirt Quilts Buyers Guide.
It's a great place to start your research into having a quilt made.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

How to determine the size quilt you want.

baseball T-shirt quiltSo with your T-shirts in mind, how do you determine what size quilt you want? Here are some methods you can use.

1. Whatever size quilt the T-shirts will make.

Sometimes, it’s about the T-shirts. They tell the story and they all have to be in the quilt to completely tell the story. In this case, whatever size your quilt ends up, is the perfect size. We can make your quilt any size you would like as long as the size is divisible by 4.

2. Determine the size quilt based on how many T-shirts you have.

This is a little different than the one above. Here, you count how many T-shirt’s you have and then choose to have a particular size quilt made based on how many T-shirts.

3. Match the size of a quilt or blanket that you love.

For example, if you are looking to have a quilt made to use on your couch, measure the size of a quilt that you already use on the couch. (Remember width x length on a 2D object. Think of  an 8½ x 11 piece of paper.) Then compare that size to the sizes of quilts available. If you are between sizes, no problem! We can make your quilt any size you would like as long as the size is divisible by 4.

If you are unsure how many T-shirts to send, call or email us and we can help.

You can also use this method for a quilt for your bed. If you have a current quilt that fits great, measure it and aim to have a quilt made near that size. If your current blanket is too large or too small, measure it and either add or subtract a few inches to make it closer to a perfect fit.

More About: Planning Your T-shirt Quilt

T-shirt quilt wall hanging4. Measure the wall for a wall hanging.

For a wall hanging, measure your wall. We can help you determine how much margin to leave and at what height to hang the quilt at. From there, we can compute the size that would work best in that space. Then we can help you figure out how many T-shirts you might need.

5. How to figure the perfect fit for a bed.

There are typical mattress sizes such as a full or queen size. But mattress thicknesses vary, as do box springs, bed frames and the distance the top of a mattress is off the ground. Some people use bed skirts and other people have their bed on the floor or in a loft. So the perfect size quilt for your set-up might be a little different than a standard size. Here’s how to figure the perfect size for your set-up.

measuring to determine the perfect quilt size. Width:

Step 1 – Measure the width of your mattress. Yellow

Step 2 – Figure out how much of a drop off the top of your mattress you want your quilt to fall. Take this number and double it. So for example, if you want the quilt to fall 15" from the top of your mattress, you double that to 30" to account for both sides of the bed if both sides need to fall the same amount. If you need a different amount of fall on each side – for example if a mattress is on a loft or against a wall – measure the drop for each side and add them together. Light blue

Step 3 – Add the width and the total drop for both sides. This equals the width of your quilt.


Step 1 – Measure the length of your bed – from head to toe. Red

Step 2 – Measure how much drop you want at the bottom of the bed. Depending on your set up, this may be the same as the drop on the side of the bed or it might be very little if the bed frame comes up close to the top of the mattress. Some people want to tuck in the bottom of a quilt, so then you would need to figure out how long the quilt needs to fall from the top of the mattress. Green

Step 3 – If your quilt covers your pillow or pillows, measure the height of them. You may want to add a few inches to the height of your pillows, depending on how you make your bed. Purple

Step 4 – Add up the length of your bed, the amount of drop at the foot of the bed and the height of your pillows. This is the length of your quilt.

So the size quilt for your bed is the width and length you measured.

6. Figure the size of your quilt by your height.

Sleeping with a T-shirt quiltA person that is 6'5" will need a longer quilt for watching TV than a person who is 4'10" tall. To figure the size of a quilt based on your height, first notice how you use a blanket while watching TV. Do you have it from your waist down or do you pull it up to your chin?


Measure from the couch up over your crossed arms and back down to the couch. You may need someone to help. Then add a few inches. This is your width.


First measure your feet length in inches. (You want to be sure to have your toes covered). Next measure from the tip of your toes up to where you have the top of a quilt while you are on the couch or in your chair. Add your feet length to your second measurement. This is the length of your quilt. 

20 foot long quilt

Calculated Size & Number of T-shirts

If you have calculated a quilt size that is not one of our listed sizes, that’s ok. Here’s the list of our standard sizes. But we can make a quilt that is any size, as long as the width and length are divisible by 4.

Here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts, we work in multiples of 4. So you have to either round up or down to the next number divisible by 4. For example, if you want a quilt width that is 82, you could round up to 84 or down to 80. It’s your choice to round up or down.

We can help you figure the number of T-shirts you might need for any particular size.

How many T-shirts are needed for a quilt?Or you can use our guidelines to figure this out yourself. Here is a chart showing how many T-shirts you might need for a particular size quilt. If your size is between one of our standard sizes, you would just guestimate about how many T-shirts based on your size.

For example, if you want a quilt that is 68 x 80, you would look at how many T-shirts for a quilt that is 60 x 72 – 20 to 30. And how many are needed for a quilt that is twin size - 60 x 84 – 30 to 40. So my guess would be 28 to 35.

You ask, “Your guess? Why are you guessing? Don’t you know?” No, I don’t know. How far any one stack of T-shirts will go can vary greatly from one stack to another. 

If you have figured out the perfect size for your quilt, we can help you figure out the rest!  Please contact us if you have any questions, we are here to help.

Here are two comparisons of the different standard size quilts we make. The drawing shows the size names and how each size compares to the other.  The photo is of a quilt we made showing this same comparison. This is one quilt, not seven quilts stacked on top of each other. It was fun to make.

Remember, we also can make quilts that are between sizes!

Standard T-shirt quilt sizessize quilt 800











Want to learn more about T-shirt quilts?
Check out our Resource Page.

Learning Center

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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.