Are You Cut Out for Making a T-shirt Quilt?
April 5th, 2021
By Andrea Funk
Skills and Tools Need to Make a T-shirt Quilt
Skills - sewing, quilting, math, reading, following directions and puzzling.
Tools - sewing machine, rotary cutter & mat, scissors, long-arm quilting machine and basic sewing and quilting tools.
Are you considering making your own T-shirt quilt? With the right directions, skills, time, experience and tool, you probably can make your own quilt. But before you begin, you need to know if you have what it takes to complete the project.
We have rescued many “would-be” T-shirt quilt makers who found themselves over their heads with the project. But the final quilt ended up costing more than it would have if a professional quilt maker had made the quilt from the get-go.
Should You Make Your Own T-shirt Quilt?
Ultimately, only you know the answer to this. To help you answer that question, here are some of the skills, tools, and experience you need to have to be able to make a Too Cool style T-shirt quilt.
Do you have a sewing machine? Does it work? Do you know how to operate it?
Sewing T-shirt material takes a better than average sewing machine. The machine needs to have a good stitch, great tension and a feed mechanism that feeds the top and bottom fabric at the same rate. A dual feed machine or ones with a walking foot are the best for the project.
If you have the correct sewing machine and it works, do you know how to operate? If you have not spent much time with your sewing machine, you will need to do some practice sewing until you have it figure out.
If you don't have a sewing machine that works and you don't know how to operate it, you should not make your own T-shirt quilt.
Do you have a rotary cutter and cutting mats?
These are standard quilting tools. Making a great T-shirt quilt with just scissors is possible, but not advisable. Precisely cut T-shirts will make the sewing much easier and make for a much better finished product.
If you plan to make your own quilt, you will need to invest in the right tools.
Do you have 40 or more hours to devote to the project?
If this is your first quilt or first T-shirt quilt, it will take time. Don’t expect to make an awesome quilt in a few hours. You need to plan more time than you would expect to need to make your quilt.
I have some customers that began their T-shirt quilt over 10 years ago and just can't get it finished. You need the time to devote to the project. If you don't have the time, you shouldn't plan to make your own quilt.
Do you understand seam allowances?
I have had more people say they saw a layout on Pinterest and cut their blocks to the sizes in the quilt sample. And then they don’t understand why the pieces don’t fit together. It’s because they didn’t know you must leave room for a seam allowance.
If you don’t know what a seam allowance is, you probably should not make a T-shirt quilt for your first quilt. I would suggest a basic quilt making class first.
There are basics to sewing and quilting that you need to know to make a cool T-shirt quilt. I would suggest you not attempt to make a T-shirt quilt if you don't have the basics or if you are unwilling to take the time to learn the basics.
Do you have any quilting experience?
No? I would suggest you take a regular quilting class first. Then consider making a T-shirt quilt after you have the basics.
Quilting involves a different skill set than sewing clothing. It's easy to learn, but you have to learn it before you begin making a T-shirt quilt.
Can you figure a square root and do other basic math?
If I had known how much math I would be using as a quilter, I would have studied it more in school. If you can’t do the math, you will need to have someone on hand to help you with that.
Can you read and follow directions?
There are some projects you can look at and know how to do it. There are others in which you will need to follow the directions. Most people making a Too Cool style T-shirt quilt will need to read and follow the directions in a step-by-step fashion.
Other Helpful Skills
Here are some other skills that will help you make a T-shirt quilt. If you are unable to do these tasks, you can hire us or someone else to do these steps for you or use an alternative method to complete the step.
Can you do puzzles easily?
A Too Cool style T-shirt Quilt is designed without rows and columns. As a result, you will need to be able to puzzle together the blocks.
Some people who can’t do puzzles will just make their quilt in rows and columns and call it good enough. Other people will seek out someone they know who is good at puzzles to help them with this step. You can also hire Too Cool T-shirt Quilts to map out your quilt for you.
Do you have a long-arm quilting machine?
Most T-shirt quilts are long-arm machine quilted. A good long-arm quilting machine start at roughly $20,000. Most people don’t invest in one. This is a step that you can hire someone else to do. We also offer long-arm quilting service here.
Do you know how to bind a quilt?
If you don’t know what binding is, this is probably a step that you will need to hire out. It is possible to learn how to do it. However, the the learning curve is steep, especially if you plan to make just one quilt.
If you would like to make your own T-shirt quilt with the Too Cool T-shirt Quilt method, here is where you start: How to Make a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt.
We also have cutting templates, design help and long-arm quilting services to help.
If you decide you are not up to the task, that's ok. Most people aren't. But if you would like a cool quilt, we are happy to make it for you. Here's where to start:
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.