Andrea Funk

By: Andrea Funk on October 22nd, 2018

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How to Store Your T-shirts Until You're Ready for a Quilt

Planning a T-shirt Quilt

For any number of reasons, it 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.  What ever the reason might be, you have an issue: How to store your T-shirts until the time is right.

Storage Methods

Plastic Box 

A plastic storage box  is a great place to store T-shirts until you are ready for a quilt.We would suggest choosing a sealed plastic storage box for your long-term storage of T-shirts. Plastic is waterproof. This means that you might save them from a flood or other water issues. The plastic will keep mold and other environmental smells out.

A plastic box also has the advantage of being easily opened and closed. This will allow the addition of T-shirts.

Cardboard Box

If you only have a cardboard box, put your T-shirts into a plastic bag first! Then seal the box. On. All. Sides.  I have hulled a number of cardboard boxes through more moves than I care to remember.  A few years ago I opened up a few to see what I had thought was so important. The items that were in a bag faired well. The loose items, not so much. 

Drawer or Closet Shelf

Keeping your T-shirts in a drawer or closet is an excellent place to store them. If you run out of room or have someone in your life who wants to use that space, then you might want to pack up the ones you never wear for safe keeping.

Packing Methods


Some people swear by rolling. They say that if you roll, rather than fold, you may be able to get more T-shirt into one box. We have unloaded 1000’s of boxes of T-shirts. The boxes with rolled T-shirts seem to be able to fill more nooks and crannies. 


A half folded T-shirt.A quarter folded T-shirtThere are two typical ways to fold your T-shirts – the ½ fold or the ¼ fold method.

The ½ fold is quick and easy. You hold the T-shirt with your chin with the front of the T-shirt towards your chest. Bring in both arms of the T-shirt. Then fold in half by bringing the bottom of the T-shirt up to your chin. You are finished. Easy.

The disadvantage to this method is that you might not be able to see what’s on the T-shirts when they are in a large stack.

The ¼ fold takes just one more fold than the half fold. After brining the bottom of the T-shirt up to your chin, just do that again. Still easy.  The advantage is that you have a better chance of seeing what’s on the T-shirt while the T-shirts are stacked.

Front of a T-shirt ready for folding Back of a T-shirt ready for folding Step 1 for folding a T-shirt. Step 2 for folding a T-shirt. Step 3 for folding a T-shirt in to quarters.

I would suggest folding or rolling the T-shirts so the largest part of the design is facing out.  So if there is a large design on the back of the T-shirts, fold the shirt so this is facing out.

Why does any of this matter? When you go to sort your T-shirts or look for a particular shirt, it will be easier to find. 

Vacuuming Packing 

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!

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

Where should I store my T-shirts?

border_army3Someplace dry, out of direct sunlight and secure. Perhaps your Mom’s house?  This might be the best place if you are headed overseas or into the Military.

Where you store your T-shirts will depend on the value you attach to your T-shirts. The more value, the more secure of location you might choose. Perhaps in your own home?

I would avoid putting them in storage units. Have you seen the TV show “Storage Wars” recently? If you miss a payment or two, you might end up seeing your T-shirts on TV.

Wherever you choose, make sure they are safe. Make sure that no one will accidentally or accidentally-on-purpose get rid of your T-shirts.

Should I cut the excess T-shirt material from around the designs?

NO!  If you have space, please, 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. See the direction below.  But first, why shouldn’t you cut your T-shirts.

Most quilters would prefer to work with the entire T-shirt. Why?

  1. Template on T-shirtThe entire T-shirt leaves more room to center the design in the block. A centered design looks more professional.
  2. 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. See photo to the right.
  3. There may not be enough leftover fabric from the T-shirt to use else where in your quilt. For example, we may use pieces of your T-shirt for a small filler block or for a border.

If you have already cut your T-shirts out, it’s not the end of the world. A competent quilter should be able to work with them. Just be aware that there might be some issues or additional cost.  If you can avoid it, please don’t cut any more of them.

But I am living in a situation where I just don’t have any space to store extra T-shirts. What would you have me do?

If you are living overseas, in a Tiny House or a cramped apartment you might not have any extra space for bulky storage. So if you must cut your T-shirts to eliminate extra bulk here are directions. 

  1. cutting_T-shirts_for_storageCut 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. Many times, we have to cut up and into the sleeve to have the block fit the logo.
  2. 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 straight from the armpit to the shoulder. Then cut across the top of the shoulders. 
  3. If the back has a large design and the front only has a small breast logo you can cut out some of the extra bulk. First, cut the front from the back per directions in 2 above. Then, cut an over sized square around the chest logo. Please try to give 5" to 6"on all sides of the logo.
  4. If you have a hooded sweatshirt, you can remove the hood.
  5. Any other items try to leave at least a 5" margin around the graphic or logo.


Dont_cut_your_T-shirts_like_this correct_way_to_save_a_T-shirt_for_a_quilt-1

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.

Once you have saved enough T-shirts to tell the story you want, you are almost ready to send your T-shirts to your quilter.

But wait – there is one more thing!

Please wash your T-shirts before you send them in. Especially if they have been sitting around for years. But do wash them without perfumed detergents and dryer sheets. Perfume makes us sneeze and you don’t want us sneezing on your T-shirts.

Are you looking for a T-shirt quilt maker? If you have never had a T-shirt quilt made before, the process of finding the right quilt maker might seem difficult. Here you will find information about choosing the right quilt maker for your T-shirts.  More About: Finding a Quilt Maker

baseball graduation 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.