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T-shirt Quilt Remakes

Can a T-shirt Be Removed From a Finished T-shirt Quilt?

September 11th, 2023

By Andrea Funk

close up of a T-shirt quilt with a replaced block.

Can I remove and replace a T-shirt be a completed T-shirt quilt?

The Short Answer: No. It would ruin the quilt.

The Long Answer: It involves a cover-up. 

What Motivates Someone to Want to Remove a Block from Their New T-shirt Quilt?

The main reason you might want to remove a block from a quilt is that the T-shirt should have never been used in the quilt to begin with. Why does this happen?

  • If you're creating a quilt for someone else, it can be challenging to determine which T-shirts they would like to include in the design.
  • The T-shirts lacked clear markings, making it difficult for us to understand your directions.
  • We were expected to know which T-shirts to include, without any clear instructions or guidance provided.
  • We were oblivious to the fact that the block in question was actually an advertisement.

Why Can’t You Just Replace the Block?

seam allowance on a T-shirt quilt

If you find yourself pondering this question, chances are you're not a seasoned quilt maker. Allow me to shed some light on the matter.

Reason 1 – The Stitches Are Not Accessible

When two pieces of fabric are sewn together, they are sewn from the back of the fabric. The seam is sewn with a seam allowance. This is a set amount of fabric on one side of the seam. Together this makes for a blind seam – you don’t see the stitching.

T-shirt quilt sewing

When a seam needs to be removed, you work from the back of the seam where you can see the stitches. But when a quilt is finished, you can’t access these stitches. You can attempt to remove the stitches from the front, but this most likely will result in one or more holes in the fabric.

Reason 2 – The Quilting Stitches Hinders the Removal of the Unwanted Block

removed_stitches-267330-editedRemoving a block from a quilt becomes more complicated when considering the long arm quilting involved. Not only would you have to remove the quilting stitches on the unwanted block, but you would also need to remove some of the quilting on the surrounding blocks to create space for sewing in a new block.

However, removing the quilting results in unsightly holes in the backing and any block where the stitches were taken out. It's not as simple as just re quilting the stitches in the same place. That can't be done. As a result, there would be noticeable holes in the backing and surrounding blocks.

Reason 3 – Putting the Block Back In

As mentioned in the first reason, when you join two pieces of fabric, they are stitched together from the back side. Once the quilt is finished, it becomes impossible to access the backside of the fabric. Consequently, if you need to add a block, it would have to be sewn from the front. No matter how skillfully done, the stitching would be visible.

stitching on repaired block in a T-shirt quilt

Reason 4 – Replacing the Quilting Stitches

While we have the ability to re-quilt a block, it's impossible to align the new stitches perfectly with the holes left behind by the removed stitches. As a consequence, there will be noticeable holes not only in the backing but also in the surrounding T-shirt blocks that were replaced.

If you decide to remove a block from a finished quilt and substitute it with a different block, you will inevitably end up with unsightly holes and visible stitching on the quilt's surface. This not only gives the quilt a shoddy appearance but also compromises its durability over time.


Planning a T-shirt quilt?
Here are step-by-step directions for ordering your Too Cool T-shirt quilt.

How to Order a T-shirt Quilt


What Steps Can You Take When an Unwanted Block Finds Its Way Into Your Quilt?

Don’t Let It Happen in the First Place!

  • How to mark your T-shirts for a T-shirt quiltIt is essential to carefully follow the instructions provided by your quilter when marking your T-shirts. 

    Avoid improvising or making up your own methods, as each quilter has their own unique procedure. Sending your T-shirts to a different company without following their specific directions could potentially lead to issues or complications.

  • If there is a specific T-shirt design that you absolutely can't bear to see in your quilt, it's best to not send it altogether!

  • Take a thorough look at the T-shirts you plan to send. Examine every detail on the front, back, and sleeves to ensure they are what you want in your quilt.

If Necessary, You Can Cover Up the Unwanted Block

In the event that an unwanted block finds its way into your quilt, different T-shirt quilt companies will offer various solutions to address the issue.

At Too Cool T-shirt Quilts, we understand that sometimes an unwanted block can wind up in your quilt. If you absolutely cannot bear to see it, we can offer a solution. We can add another block on top of the one you don't want. However, please note that depending on the circumstances, there may be an additional labor charge. 

You would need to send us an additional T-shirt and its graphic would have to fit into the same space as the wrong block. This block is sewn by hand onto the quilt face. Little stitches will show.

T-shirt quilt with a block covered up with a new T-shirt.    T-shirt quilt with a block covered up with a new T-shirt.

fixed cover block from the back main image

The new block will be long-arm quilted. On the front of the quilt, you will just see the new quilting design. But on the back of the quilt, you will see the new and the old design.  

A block appliquéd over the existing block does not look as nice as the original block. But from a distance, you won’t be able to tell.

So please choose and mark your T-shirts carefully. Below is a photo of quilt before and after a block was covered up by a new block on a quilt. 


Want to learn more about T-shirt quilts? Visit our Learning Center.
We have over 200 articles about all aspects of T-shirt quilts.

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Below is the same quilt. In the first photo there was a block that should not have been in the quilt. In the second photo, you can see the block has been covered by another T-shirt. Bottom right-hand corner.

A T-shirt quilt with a block the customer did not care for.

T-shirt quilt with a block covering up a block the customer did not want.


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.