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Planning a T-shirt Quilt

How to Plan and Enjoy Your Mini (small) T-shirt Quilt

August 6th, 2018

By Andrea Funk

row of mini quilts hanging here at too cool

You want to plan your T-shirt quilt so it turns out awesome. That’s our aim too!

A mini memorial quilt made from clothing. Size - 28 x 28As you are planning your quilt, you might figure out that you are short on T-shirts. For example, a deceased loved one’s T-shirt have to be split up among many people. The result is not enough T-shirts to make a quilt useable on a bed. But that’s not a problem!

A T-shirt quilt does not have to be used as a quilt. Nor does it have to be big. A T-shirt quilt can be small. It can be used as a wall hanging or as a child’s or doll’s blankie.

In this article, we will look at why you might end up with a small quilt and how to plan your quilt so it’s awesome.

The quilt here is 28" x 28"

Why a Mini Quilt?

There are a number of reasons you might want, or end up with, a small quilt…

  • YJust one T-shirt to use in a quilt? A mini quilt is the solution.ou only have one T-shirt that you want in your quilt.
    There are some events or some T-shirts that tell the entire story. Adding any other T-shirts to this one would take away from that story.

  • Not enough T-shirts.
    Only have a few T-shirts? You can make them into a small quilt.

  • T-shirts have very small logos.
    Do you have a lot of T-shirts with small logos? Even 50 or 60 of them might not be enough to make a quilt. Think golf shirts. Those can be made into a small quilt to hang on your wall.

  • The baby bid quilt here is 36" x 36"Only want a wall hanging.
    Then this is where you need to be!

  • Need to have multiple memorial quilts made from a limited number of items.
    For examples, when someone dies, sometimes there are many people who need a quilt made from the T-shirts of the deceased. In this case, a small wall quilt might be the way to go.
  • Need a baby blankie.
    A new baby on the way? A quilt made from T-shirts is a great gift. (Read more here). But that quilt needs to be small. A mini quilt is a perfect solution.  The baby bid quilt here is 36" x 36"

  • Have a limited budget.
    Smaller quilts do cost less than quilts that are a lap size or larger. That said, they may not be as inexpensive as you might think. We price these quilts based on how much work that goes into the quilt. Please contact us for more pricing information.

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

The quilt here is made from baby clothes. The size is 24" x 36".

What can you do with a mini quilt?

  • Wall hanging
    This is the main use for mini quilts. They are designed specifically to be hung on the wall. You can add hanging loops or a sleeve to your quilt.

  • Blankie for a child
    This can be for a newborn or a young child. The smaller the quilt is, the easier it is for the child to carry. Think of dear old Linus and his blanket. The quilt here is made from baby clothes. The size is 24" x 36".
  • To place on the top of a dresser, nightstand or table runner.
    Runners, be it for a dresser, nightstand or table, can be a mini quilt. If you are unfamiliar with these, they are designed to dress up the top of these furnishings. They also are used to prevent scratches.

Mini quilts come in 2 styles.

  1. mini quilt size 20x 24 inches from one T-shirtA one block quilt.
    This style uses one block from a T-shirt. This block is surrounded by a border. This border can be very simple or very complex. The one block is the focus of the quilt. The quilt here is 20" x 24". 

  2. Multi block quilt.
    This type of quilt will be more like our typical T-shirt quilts. It will have fewer and most likely smaller blocks.

What is considered small for a quilt?

The smallest standard size quilt we make is 48" x 48" (4 feet by 4 feet). We consider any quilt smaller than this a mini quilt.


What shape should a mini quilt be?

baby clothes mini quilt size 36 x 36 inchesMost standard bed quilts are portrait oriented – longer than they are wide. When a quilt is hung on a wall, the orientation can be landscape – wider than it is tall or portrait. 

If you are planning a small wall hanging quilt, consider what wall you want to hang it on. You also need to look at the graphic on the T-shirt. These two pieces of information will help you decide if you want your quilt portrait or landscape.

For example, a quilt that is hung over a couch should be landscape – wider than tall. If the T-shirt you have is laid out portrait, then we would have to consider how to cut the initial block from the T-shirt and what type of border to put around the T-shirt.

The quilt here is 36" x 36"

We can work with you to help you decide what shape your quilt should be.

How Many T-shirts for a Mini Quilt?

Mini quilt made from one T-shirt size 24 x 24 inchesThat depends on a number of things…

  1. What’s on your T-shirts.
  2. How many you want to use.
  3. How many will tell the story.
  4. If you want a one block quilt or a multi block quilt.

Read more about why we can’t give you an exact number here.  But generally, it will be between 1 and 10 T-shirts.

The quilt here is 24" x 24".

Our Approach

Pigpin mini quilt size 24 x 20 made from one T-shirt.

We work on mini T-shirt quilts in the same manner that we would work on a king size quilt.

The biggest challenge is laying out a multi block quilt. It can take as long or longer to layout a very small quilt than it takes to layout a king size quilt.  This is because there are only a few placement options for each block.

For example, when you have two blocks from the same T-shirt, they need to be separated on the quilt.  If the layout puts those two blocks together, you have to then remap the quilt. 

How can a small quilt be made larger?

Theater T-shirt quilts was made larger with blank blocks. If you have a few T-shirts, but want a larger quilt, we can make a small quilt larger three ways. 

  1. Cut the T-shirts with extra margin around the design. This way the blocks are larger and therefore will go further. You have to tell us that you want us to cut them larger when you send your T-shirts to us. We can’t cut them larger after they have already been cut. But we can always cut them smaller.
  1. Add blank blocks of T-shirt material. We will save your extra T-shirt material and cut additional blocks without graphics from that fabric. These blocks will be interspersed throughout the quilt.
  1. Add a border. A border will make any quilt larger. Adding a double or triple border will increase the size of your quilt even more.

These methods can be used by themselves or in any combination. So, you could add blank blocks to your quilt and add a border. Read more about how to make a quilt larger here. 

Why not a pillow?

A pillow made from one T-shirt. So, what if you don’t have enough T-shirts to make a lap size quilt (48” x 48”)? You don’t want a mini quilt. And you don’t want to add anything to the quilt to make it larger. What then? Your final option is a pillow.

A pillow uses between 1 and 10 T-shirts depending on what is on each T-shirt. For example, if you have golf shirts, you could use more than 10 shirts in your pillow. Conversely, if you have concert T-shirts, you might only be able to fit one or two onto a pillow owing to the large graphic on the front and back of them.

Our pillows are 24" x 24", have T-shirts on both sides, are fully quilted like our quilts, and come with a removable pillow form. Read more about pillows here. 


A mini T-shirt quilt hung on your wall is a great way to see your favorite T-shirt every day. They can be made with anywhere from one to 10 T-shirts. And they look great!

A mini quilt also makes a great baby blankie.

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

Below - Top: 4 Mini quilts hanging in the Too Cool T-shirt Quilt shop. 
Bottom: A Mini bike jersey quilt made with extra jerseys that did not fit into a large quilt. 

row of mini quilts hanging here at too cool small bike jersey quilt

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.