Can I remove a T-shirt From a T-shirt Quilt?
June 6th, 2022
By Andrea Funk
Can a T-shirt be removed from a completed T-shirt quilt?
The Short Answer: No. It would ruin the quilt.
The Long Answer: It involves a cover-up.
Why you might want to remove a block from a 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. This does this happen?
- You are making a quilt for someone else and are not sure what they want used from their T-shirts.
- Because the T-shirts were not marked clearly enough for us to understand your directions.
- Assumptions were made that we would know what to use.
- We did not recognize that an advertisement was an advertisement.
Why can’t you just replace the block?
If you are asking this question, you aren’t a quilt maker, so let me try to explain.
Reason 1 – You can’t access the stitches to remove them.
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.
When a seam needs to be removed, you need to work from the back of the seam where you can see the stitches. 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 long arm machine quilting is in the way of removing the unwanted block.
Another issue in removing a block is the long arm quilting. You would need to remove the quilting on the block you want removed. You would also need to remove some of the quilting on the surrounding blocks so you would have access to sew a block back in. Removing quilting will leave holes in the backing and any block that the stitches are removed from. You can’t just perfectly put the quilting back in. So this would leave holes in the backing and surrounding blocks.
Reason 3 – Putting the block back in.
As explained in reason number 1, you sew two pieces of fabric together from the back side of the fabric. When the quilt is completed, you can’t access the backside of the material. This means that you will have to sew the block in from its front. The stitching, no matter how expertly sewn, would show.
Reason 4 – Putting the quilting back in.
We can re-quilt a block, but we can’t make the stitches match up with the holes from the stitches that were removed. The result will be holes in the backing and in the T-shirt blocks surrounding the replaced block.
If you take a block out of a completed quilt and replace it with another block, you will have holes and stitching showing on the face of the quilt. This will look like bad and not wear well.
What do you do when the wrong block is in your quilt?
Don’t let it happen in the first place!
- Please follow your quilter’s directions for marking your T-shirts. Don’t make them up yourself. Every quilter has a different procedure. If you follow one quilter’s directions but send them to a different company, you could have issues.
- If there is a part of a T-shirt that you would die if it ended up in your quilt, don’t send it!
- Double check the T-shirts you are sending. Look at the front, back and sleeves!
If necessary, cover up the unwanted block.
If a block of yours does end up in your quilt that you didn't want, every T-shirt quilt company will have a different approach to resolving the issue.
Here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts we will first ask if you can live with it. If the answer is a resounding NO, then we can put another block on top of the block you don’t want. 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.
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. But you will avoid the issue of holes.
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.
To learn more about having a T-shirt quilt made from your T-shirts, consider downloading our T-shirt Quilt Buyer’s guide.
It’s a great resource to have when you are planning a T-shirt quilt.
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.
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.