How to Store T-shirts for a Quilt
February 21st, 2022
By Andrea Funk
Right now, may not be the right time for you to have a T-shirt quilt made. You might not have enough money saved for a quilt or you still have more T-shirts to collect.
Whatever the reason might be, you have an issue: How to store your T-shirts until the time is right.
We would suggest choosing a sealed plastic storage box over a cardboard box for the long-term storage of your T-shirts.
- Plastic is waterproof – this might save them from a flood.
- Plastic will keep mold and other environmental smells out.
Rolling your T-shirts rather than folding them will let you get more of T-shirts into one box. We have received small boxes of T-shirts thinking that they will make a small quilt. When we see that they were rolled, we know right away that it will be larger than the box lead us to believe.
This is a great space saving method for storing bulky items. There are a number of commercial products that are available. Vacuum packing T-shirts can also reduce the size box that you will need to ship your T-shirts to your quilter!
If you have space, please don’t cut your T-shirts for storage. If you don’t have any spare storage space, and if you have to cut the bulk from your T-shirts, please do it with care. Directions are below.
Can I cut the excess T-shirt material from around the designs?
Please don’t cut your T-shirts. Most quilters would prefer to work with the entire T-shirt. Why?
- The entire T-shirt leaves more room to center the design in the block. A design that is centered left to right and top to bottom looks more professional.
- You don’t know what size block will be used to cut out each logo. You might not leave enough fabric around the design. The block will then have to be added onto in order to make it fit. This might result in additional charges and it won’t look as good.
- There may not be enough leftover fabric from the T-shirt to use elsewhere in your quilt. Sometimes we use pieces of your T-shirt material for filler blocks or for a border.
If you have already cut your T-shirts, it’s not the end of the world and a competent quilter will be able to work with them. Just be aware that there might be some issues and additional costs. If you can avoid it, please don’t cut any more of them. Read more about already cut T-shirts here.
I am living in a situation where I just don’t have any space to store extra T-shirts. What can I do?
If you are living overseas, in a Tiny House or cramped apartment you may not have extra space for bulky storage. If you must cut your T-shirts to eliminate extra bulk here are directions.
- Cut off sleeves. But not along the seam line. Cut straight from the armpit to the shoulder. This will provide a little extra room for the block.
- If there is a front or back that you don’t plan on using, you can cut the front from the back.
Cut up the side of the T-shirt. When you get to the armpit, cut along the underside of the sleeve. Then cut across the top of the shoulders. When you are finished you will have a T-shirt shaped piece. Then just save the side you want.
- If the back has a large graphic and the front has a small logo you can cut out some of the extra bulk. First, cut the front from the back per directions in 2 above. Then, cut a square around the chest logo. Please try to give 4" on all sides of the logo.
- If you have a hooded sweatshirt, you can remove the hood and sleeves.
- Any other items try to leave at least a 4" margin around the graphic or logo.
Steps to Take When You are Ready to Have a T-shirt Quilt Made
When the time is right for you to have your T-shirt quilt made, you need to do the following:
1. Wash Your T-shirts.
Especially if they have been sitting for a while. Why? First, we like to work with clean T-shirts. Also, you will not want to wash right after your quilt is finished. Stinky in, stinky out!
2. Tell us what to not use on your T-shirts.
Every quilt maker has specific directions for telling them what you want used from your T-shirts. Here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts we have directions on how to tell us what not to use. Here are those directions.
If you are planning on using a different quilt maker, you need to follow their directions. Here's an article about what to do after you have chosen a quilt maker.
3. Order You T-shirt Quilt
Here are our directions for ordering your T-shirt quilt.
Store your T-shirts for a T-shirt quilt. Don't give them away. Someday you will be ready for a T-shirt quilt. And we will be here ready to make your quilt.
To learn more about having a T-shirt quilt made from your T-shirts, consider downloading our free T-shirt Quilt Buyers Guide. It's a great starting place to learn more about 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.