A T-shirt quilt tells a story. Each T-shirt or other item used in a quilt adds to the story. A high school graduation T-shirt quilt tells the story of a child growing into adulthood.
Most of the time, there is more to the story than just T-shirts. We can use almost anything in a T-shirt quilt that is machine washable. So if there is more to your child’s story than just T-shirts, we encourage you to include it in his or her quilt.
Beyond The Basic T-shirt
Some of the basic items we use all the time are: football jerseys, hockey jerseys, baseball/softball uniforms, soccer jerseys, sweatpants, sweatshirts, jackets, private school uniform tops and skirts, winter stocking hats and baseball caps.
Out of the Ordinary
Below are 8 items that we have used in T-shirt quilts that you might not have thought about. Along with a brief description and photographs we will also explain how this would impact the care of the quilt.
To add a stuffed animal to a T-shirt quilt, we first remove most of the stuffing in the body. Depending on the particular animal, we may leave the stuffing in the arms, legs and head. The animal is then sewn to a block that we can add to the quilt.
Care: If the stuffed animal is machine washable, then it will not alter the care of your T-shirt quilt – except that it might take longer to dry than the rest of the quilt.
Planning a T-shirt quilt? Here are step-by-step directions for ordering your Too Cool T-shirt quilt.
Most Halloween costumes can be used in a T-shirt quilt. The size or make up of the costume will govern how we use it in a quilt.
Care: Most store bought costumes are not washing machine safe. If this is the case with your costume, your quilt would always need to be dry-cleaned.
Socks & Gloves
From soccer and baseball socks to marching band gloves, these types of clothing items can be used in a T-shirt quilt. Socks can be sewn down intact or if they have a design or logo on them, we can open the sock up and make a block from the logo. With the gloves, we typically just mount them on to a piece of blank T-shirt material.
Care: Typically, socks are machine washable. Gloves on the other hand can go either way. You will need to read the care directions that come with your gloves to know how to care for them once they are in the quilt. If they were dry-clean only, then the quilt would also become dry-clean only.
Hair Bows come in many different styles. The configuration of the particular bow determines how we use it. If the bow is large and stiff, we many times will make the bow snap on and off the quilt. Care: If the bow snaps on and off, then simply remove it when the quilt is washed.
Dance and gymnastic outfits can be mixed in with T-shirts or if you have enough of them, they can be made into a quilt by themselves. Typically, we will just use a representative piece of the outfit. This means that we might use a neckline or another piece of the outfit – but not the entire outfit.
Care: The care directions of the outfit would carry over to the care of the quilt.
Swimmers go through a lot of swimming suits. You would not want to use a practice suit in your quilt because the suit will continue to deteriorate. If you are a swimmer or the parent of a swimmer, you know what I mean.
Meet suits on the other hand tend to stay in good shape because they have not soaked in chlorine 5 hours a day, 6 days a week! We do put a piece of fabric behind any swimming suit so that if it does deteriorate, there will not be a hole in the quilt.
Care: machine wash, line dry.
This is a fun one! We only use the uppers of the flip-flops and they are removable.
Care: Remove the upper part of the flip-flop, wash, dry and reattach the flip-flop.
As you advance in Karate, you are awarded new colored belts as you work up towards a black belt. We use these belts in T-shirt quilts because they help tell a story. Since the Karate belts are thick, we typically just use the ends or a long strip of the belt.
Care: If the belts were machine washable, then your quilt would also be machine washable. But if you must dry-clean the belts, then you must dry-clean your 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.
If you have a machine washable item that helps tell your graduate's story, we might be able to use it! Think outside the box on this.
If there is something that helps to tell your story and you would like to know if it could be included in the quilt, just e-mail us and we can let you know. Info@TooCoolTshirtQuilts.com
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.