Can Too Cool T-shirt Quilts make a double-sided T-shirt quilt with T-shirts on the front and back?
Why a Double-sided T-shirt Quilt?
A double-sided T-shirt quilt is great because you can use twice as many T-shirts inside your quilt.
There are two main reasons you might want or need a double-sided T-shirt quilt. They both have to do with having too many T-shirts.
Most people look to a double-sided quilt because they have a lot of T-shirts, and they don't want to exclude any of them. This might be someone with 100+ T-shirts.
Other people way too many T-shirts for the size quilt they want. For example, they have enough for a queen size quilt, but only want a multi-use size.
Some people have two uniquely different topics of T-shirts. But they are not interested in two quilts. A double-sided T-shirt quilt is a perfect solution to this problem.
Although, a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt allows you to use a lot of T-shirts. We can use many more T-shirts than most traditional style quilts. Perhaps you might find that a two-sided quilt is unnecessary.
My First Double-sided T-shirt Quilt
For the first 23 years that I was making T-shirt quilts, I avoided making a double-sided T-shirt quilt. There were so many technical issues that I was scared to tackle. I was concerned that a double-sided T-shirt quilt would not meet our high-quality standards.
In 2011, we upgraded our long-arm quilting machines. These new machines were so good that they eliminated several the concerns we had about making double-sided quilts. So, I began to experiment with making double-sided quilts.
I began with a very small quilt that would be used as a dresser topper/runner. I was delighted and amazed with how well that first double-sided quilt turned out. That first quilt was very small. I didn't know if it could scale up a quilt with the same result.
We gave it a try and were successful. I didn't know if I was happy or terrified. Happy because we could do it. Terrified because I would now offer this as an option to our customers.
Our Experience, Now
Today we have made 100's of double-sided T-shirt quilts. Sometimes we wonder why we waited so long to try one. Of course, we then hit a tricky spot and remember why we waited. Double-sided quilts are not always easy. But after years of experience, we have tricks to work through even the most difficult issues.
We make our double-sided quilts in the same manner as our one-sided quilts. The blocks are puzzled together. There is no iron-on batting/interfacing. The quilt is all T-shirts. It's just two quilts back-to-back with each other.
A double-sided T-shirt quilt is not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced. There are many issues that can go wrong. These include:
Lining up the front and the back of the quilt
Wrinkles, folds, or tucks on the back of the quilt
One side ending up longer or wider than the other
There are quilters who will make you a double-sided T-shirt quilt. To solve many of the technical issues, a quilter may use iron on backing to stiffen up the T-shirts so they can more easily work with them.
Iron on backing on a one-sided T-shirt quilt is stiff enough. Iron-on backing on two sides of a double-sided T-shirt quilt would make the quilt doubly stiff. Read more about iron on backing here.
We do not and will not use iron-on interfacing to make T-shirts easier to work with.
Also be aware that some quilt makers will tie or tack their quilts rather than quilt them on a long-arm machine. This is an easier way to make a double-sided T-shirt quilt. Although, this is not a preferred method of finishing a T-shirt Quilt. Read more about different quilting methods here.
If you do find someone to make a double-sided quilt for you, before you send in your T-shirts, ask for a sample of the quilt sandwich (top, batting and backing). Make sure you can live with the feel of the quilt. We are always happy to send you a sample for comparison.
To learn more about the different types, styles, and qualities of T-shirts, head on over to our learning center. It’s a great place to begin your journey to finding a quilt maker.
What can't we do with a double-sided T-shirt quilt?
Due to some of the issues of making double-sided T-shirts, there are items that cannot be used.
When we make a double-sided T-shirt quilt, we can't see what's happening on the back of the quilt while we are quilting it. This means we can't use any T-shirts or items with dimension on the back of the quilt.
We can't use pockets, collars, necklines, or multiple layers of material. This means we can't use hockey jerseys, baseball jerseys, or other types of materials like these.
We cannot make a baby clothes quilt double-sided.
We cannot make a clothing/memorial quilt double-sided.
We do not add borders to double sided T-shirt quilt.
But if you just have T-shirts, you should be fine.
How to Divide Up Your T-shirts
Once you decide on a double-sided T-shirt quilt, you then must decide how to divide up your T-shirts between the front and back of your quilt.
There are several ways you can divide up your T-shirts. Keep in mind that the two sides of the quilt must be the same size.
Option 1: The quilt maker will divide the blocks up.
This is the easiest method for you and the quilt maker. The division of T-shirt blocks between the front and the back of the quilt will be based on block size, color, content, and other visual decisions. You would just need to send the quilter your T-shirts in one grouping.
In this scenario, the front and back of a T-shirt may end up on the same side of the quilt or one side may be on the front and the other on the back. It would make searching for the opposite side of a T-shirt fun.
Option 2: Divide the T-shirts before sending them to your quilter.
You can divide your T-shirts into two separate bags – one for the front and one for the back. The front of your quilt could be one topic and the back another.
Since the front and back of the quilt must be the same size, you will need to have a plan for your quilter if the front and back of the quilt come out to be different sizes. Here are some options you could employ:
Be willing to move T-shirt blocks from one side to the other to balance the size. You need to have these shirts determined ahead of time so you can tell your quilter which ones to move without them having to go through each block with you.
Set aside a bag of extra T-shirts that can be used to balance out the smaller side with the larger side. In this case, you would be sending three bags of T-shirts labeled Front, Back and If Needed to Balance.
Option 3: Fronts on the Front and Backs on the Back
If you want the front of your T-shirts on the front of your quilt and the backs of the T-shirts on the back, you will send all of your T-shirts in one box. On your order form put a note for your quilt maker to put fronts on the front and backs on the back. As the T-shirts are cut, they will be divided up in this manor.
Beware; this method will most likely result in the front and back of the quilt being different sizes. The front and back of a T-shirt rarely have the same size graphics. Remember, both sides of the quilt have to be the same size.
Thus, you will need a plan to balance the two sides. And since you want the fronts and backs divided from one another, moving blocks from one side to the other will defeat your purpose.
The best way to even out the sides would be to add blank blocks of T-shirt material to the smaller of the two sides. Read more about adding blank blocks of material to a T-shirt quilt here so you can decide if this solution is something you will like.
The smaller of the two sides will most likely be the front of the quilt. This is because a majority of your T-shirts will have larger graphics on the back of the T-shirt. But that will depend on your grouping of T-shirts. You will need to look at your T-shirts to get a feel if the backs generally have larger graphics than the fronts.
A double-sided T-shirt quilt is a great solution to having too many T-shirts. It's also great if you have two different sets of T-shirts. And they work well if you want a smaller quilt but have way too many T-shirts.
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.