Andrea Funk

By: Andrea Funk on June 25th, 2018

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How to Choose the Best T-shirts for Your Sorority Quilt

Sorority T-shirt Quilts  |  Planning a T-shirt Quilt

Delta Phi Epsilon T-shirt quilt. Bridgewater State University Your college days are behind you. Yet you still have a huge pile of T-shirts from your sorority life. They are too dear and near to part with. But, you don’t wear them anymore. After all, a sorority T-shirt looks funny under a business suit!

A T-shirt quilt will let you get rid of that pile of T-shirts while retaining all the images and memories. It’s like having your cake and eating it too!

Out of that stack of T-shirts, which ones need to go into your quilt and which ones don’t? This is important. The T-shirts you choose to put in your quilt will always be there. You can’t take them out after we finish your quilt.  Choose carefully.

Let’s start at what a T-shirt quilt really is; it’s a quilt that tells a story. The T-shirt blocks in the quilt represent memories. Memories of the activities that happened when you received the T-shirt. Memories of other times when you wore that T-shirt.

A sorority T-shirt quilt tells a story of your life and experiences at your sorority. Therefore, include only those T-shirts that help tell this story.

Don’t include T-shirts that fail to add to the story you are telling. For example, you wouldn’t want to include one T-shirt from high school. It just doesn’t belong.

Here is a step-by-step guide. 

Step 1 – Gather Your T-shirts

This is a pile of way too many sorority T-shirt waiting to be made into a quiltFind all your T-shirts. Do you have them all? Are you missing any T-shirts? Are all the T-shirts yours? If you are missing a T-shirt you want in your quilt, you need to find it. If you don’t have it and it’s not at your parent’s home, you need to figure out how to get your hands on it.

Start at the beginning. What year was the T-shirt from? Then check with your sorority sisters that were in your house during that year. Perhaps someone has an extra shirt she doesn’t want included in her quilt. 

Step 2 – Divide Your T-shirts

Alpha Omicron Pi T-shirt quilt. Florida State UniversityBegin by dividing up your T-shirts into four stacks: sorority, fraternity, college and odds and ends. This will make you look at each and every T-shirt. This is important.  By forcing yourself to look at each and every T-shirt, you will know what you have. This can eliminate the issue of, “Oh I forgot that T-shirt was in the stack.” And it will ensure that only the T-shirts you want end up in your quilt.

Grouping your T-shirts forces you to prioritize your T-shirts. This will help when you begin figuring what size quilt you would like made.  

Step 3 – Count Your T-shirts

Tally the number of T-shirts in each grouping. Then figure the total count by adding the total from each group.

You will use these counts to help you can determine what size quilt you want.

To learn more about the different types, styles and qualities of T-shirts, download our T-shirt Quilt Buyer’s Guide. 
It’s a great place to begin your journey to finding a quilt maker.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

Step 4 – Figure the Size of Your Quilt

How many T-shirt for a quilt? Here's a chart with the size and the number of T-shirts needed

First, understand that everything you do in figuring out your quilt size is an estimate. Because of the way our quilts work, we can’t tell you how many T-shirts you will need for a particular size quilt. Here’s more about this.

The chart here has the approximate number of T-shirts you will need for each size quilt.  

You can figure the size of your quilt one of three ways. You can base the size quilt you want on how many T-shirts you have. On the cost of the quilt. Or on the size quilt you want made.

1. Based on How Many T-shirts You Have

This is the easy method. The size of the quilt does not matter. You just want all your T-shirts used. Tell us you want all your T-shirts included in your quilt. Check on your order form “Want whatever size the T-shirts will make.”

When we get your T-shirts, we will cut them. Then we will calculate the quilt size and cost. We will email you for your approval. 

BUT… I would still suggest you compare how many T-shirts you have with the chart here. That way you won’t have any crazy surprises!

2. Based on How Much You Want to Spend on a Quilt

Sigma Kappa T-shirt quilt. MITLiving on a budget is not a bad thing. Especially if you are getting out of college. This second method is for those starting with the cost and working backwards.

Click over to our pricing page. See where your budget fits into our pricing structure. Look at how many estimated T-shirts you will need for that particular size quilt.

Compare the estimated number with how many T-shirts you have. But don’t just look at the high number on the chart. If so, you need to be ready to expect a larger quilt. Or you need to be prepared to take some T-shirts out.

Here’s how those numbers generally work out. 1/3 of people have too many T-shirts for the size they want. 1/3 have too few. 1/3 have the right amount.  Your chance of having the right number of T-shirts is only 33%.

Here’s how to plan for that. I will use an example of needing 20 to 30 T-shirts for a particular size quilt. Divide your T-shirts into 2 bags for us. In the first bag, place the 20 T-shirts that are most important to be in the quilt. In a second bag place an additional 10 T-shirts stacked in the order we should use them.

Phi Mu T-shirt quilt. Christopher Newport University.We will cut your first bag and calculate the size of your quilt. If you are not to the size quilt you want, we will then start on the second bag. We will cut from the top to the bottom until we have reached the size quilt you want.

Dividing up your T-shirts before you begin this process will help you know which T-shirts are most important. It also helps you determine which ones are second string T-shirts.

To get more quilt for your buck, I would suggest you go without a border. A border can add a lot to the price of a quilt. Sure, they look great. But, so do quilts without a border.  Read more about borders here. 

If you are finding everything outside your budget, put the project on hold. Come back to it when you are in a better position to afford the quilt you want. Read more about the pitfalls of inexpensive T-shirt quilts here. There are risks with budget T-shirt quilts. Take the time to understand your tradeoffs.

3. Based on What Size Quilt You Want

Do you know what size quilt you want? If so, compare how many T-shirts you have to the approximate number of T-shirts needed for that size quilt. Here’s the pricing page.

Too many for the size you want?

alpha Chi T-shirt quilt.  University of OklahomaIf you have way too many T-shirts for the size quilt you want, pull out the fraternity and/or college related T-shirts to try to get closer to the size quilt you want.

If there are still too many T-shirts for the size you would like, we suggest stacking the T-shirts in order of importance.

  1. Make a pile of T-shirts that have to go in your quilt.
  2. Make a second pile of T-shirts that you would like to be in your quilt, but would be all right if they didn’t make it.
  3. Make a third piles are T-shirts that don’t have to be in the quilt.

Now you can see where you are.

When you send in your T-shirts to have a quilt made, send them in 2 or 3 plastic bags. Note on the bags which to use first, second and last. We will cut the first bag. Then calculate what size quilt those T-shirts could make. We then cut from the second or even third bag until we reach the size quilt you want.

Kappa T-shirt quilt - double sidedIf you still have too many T-shirts for the size of quilt you had originally desired, consider:

  • Removing T-shirts that are exact duplicate or very similar.
  • Going up to the next quilt size.
  • Having a double-sided quilt made.
  • Having two quilts made.
  • Having a quilt and a pillow made. 

Too Few for the size you want?

Are you short on T-shirts to make the quilt size you would like?  You have options:

  1. Have a smaller quilt made.
  2. Have a pillow made.
  3. Make your quilt larger by adding a border.
  4. Make your quilt larger by adding blank blocks.

Step 5 – Your Next Steps

Here’s how to order a T-shirt quilt:

  1. Choose Your T-shirts
  2. Mark Your T-shirts with Any Instructions
  3. Print Out Your Order Form
  4. Box Up Your T-shirts
  5. Ship Out Your Box to Too Cool T-shirt Quilts

Here’s a complete breakdown of each step.

Kappa SororityT-shirtQuilt TexasRemember, the number of T-shirts listed for each size quilt is an approximate!

You may need more or less. This will depend on the number and size of the graphics on your T-shirts.

We suggest you count one T-shirt as one T-shirt. Do you have small designs on just one side of most of your T-shirts? If so, you will need to be at the high end of the number of T-shirts.

Do your T-shirts have large designs on both sides of the T-shirt? If so, you will need to be on the low end of the number of T-shirts needed.

Click here more information on why we can’t tell you exactly how many T-shirts you will need for a particular size quilt.

Click here to see more photographs of sorority T-shirt quilts.


To learn more about the different types, styles and qualities of T-shirts, download our T-shirt Quilt Buyer’s Guide. 
It’s a great place to begin your journey to finding a quilt maker.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

Delta Zata T-shirt quilt.

About 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. 


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