Andrea Funk

By: Andrea Funk on October 4th, 2021

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Local vs. nationwide T-shirt quilt makers - what's your best option?

Finding a T-shirt Quilt Maker

I hear over and over from some people that they are looking for someone local to make their T-shirt quilt.  When asked why, I am told that they fear mailing their T-shirts to someone they don’t know.

I feel that these are minor issues compared to settling for a quilt maker just because they are local.

Here, I will address the fear of sending T-shirts to someone far away and that you don't know.

I will also address why choosing a quilt maker just because they are local might be worse that sending T-shirts to a quilter with an unknown track record.

At the bottom of the page is a downloadable list of interview questions you can ask potential T-shirt quilt makers. 

Fears of Shipping Your T-shirts to Someone You Don’t Know

Box up your T-shirts to send to Too Cool T-shirt Quilts

Shipping T-shirts

I have been making T-shirt quilts since 1992. I have not had a shipment of T-shirts coming to me that has been lost. These days with package tracking and delivery signatures required, losing a package is rare. Here is an article with best practices for shipping your T-shirts. 

Sending Your T-shirts to Someone You Don’t Know

Unless you really are great friends with someone who makes T-shirt quilts for a living, you really don’t know whom you are handing over your T-shirts to. Just because you can see someone face to face, doesn’t mean that you know who they are.

Consider an individual without a website, without a reputation for making great quilts and who is just making T-shirt quilts to make a few extra dollars. Does she have a lot to lose when she fails to meet your expectations?

Then consider a company like Too Cool T-shirt Quilts. We have a worldwide reputation for making awesome T-shirt quilts. There are 25 families depending on the company for their livelihoods.  We have so much to lose if we don’t meet your expectations. Sure, you might not see us face to face, but our long history of making "too cool" T-shirt quilts is our introduction to you. 

To learn more about having a quilt made from your T-shirts, download our free T-shirt Quilt Buyer's Guide. 
It's a great place to learn about the different styles and quality of T-shirt quilt. 

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

Here are things to consider about choosing a local T-shirt quilt maker:

Sewing a T-shirt quilt that is awesome takes an expert

1. Is the local quilt maker a skilled T-shirt quilt maker?

Don’t just take your neighbor's word that they are. First, learn everything you can about T-shirt quilts. (We can help – check out our Learning Center here.)

Then ask to see examples of their work. Do the examples live up to your expectations? If not, look for another quilter.  Here is an article about how to tell a good T-shirt quilt from a bad one. 

2. Is the local quilter making the style of T-shirt quilt you want?

There are many styles of T-shirt quilts. You first need to know what style of T-shirt quilt you want. Take your time and do research about the different style. Because each style comes with different constraint, issues and cost. 

Make sure your quilter is an expert in the style you want.  Most T-shirt quilt makers specialize in one quilt style. Think of this in restaurant terms. It's better to choose a place that serve one ethnicity of food rather than one that has 10 different ethnicities. You want a T-shirt quilt maker that is only making the style of T-shirt quilt you want.  If not, find another quilter. 

what style T-shirt quilt are you looking to have made?

The work shop at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts3. How many T-shirt quilts have they made in the style you want?

It’s takes more than 2 or 3 quilts. It takes 100’s to make a quilter competent. Even more to be an expert. Too Cool T-shirt Quilts invented T-shirt quilts made with multiple size blocks in the early 1990's! We have made 1000's and 1000's of T-shirt quilts. We are the experts. Read more about how to have us make your quilt. 

4. Is the local quilter making the entire quilt?

long-arm quilting should be done in house for a T-shirt quilt maker

Not all quilt makers have all the tools they need to make a T-shirt quilt. One of the largest and most expensive pieces of equipment needed is a long-arm quilting machine.

If your local quilt maker ships your T-shirt quilt out for long-arm quilting, she is not making the entire quilt herself. Ask the question, "Are you making the entire quilt at your location?"

If she is sending your quilt out for quilting, why bother with someone local? At least if you choose to send it out, you know where it is going and who will be working on it.

5. What materials is the local quilter using?

bolts of fabric - 100% cotton is the best choice for a T-shirt quilt.High quality materials are a must for an awesome T-shirt quilt. Ask what materials are being used. If a 100% cotton backing and binding are not being used, think again!

The batting should be either 100% cotton or an 80% cotton/20% poly. The latter is the best choice. A 100% polyester batting is a no-no. If the materials are less than these, choose a different quilter.

Here's an article I wrote about backing material that can be used for a T-shirt quilt.

6. Is the quilter making working in a smoker free location?

Too Cool T-shirt Quilts T-shirt quilt makers and their quilt.This is a question that should be asked of any quilt maker. Choose a 100% smoke free home or workshop. Too Cool T-shirt Quilts is 100% smoke free.

7. What is the turnaround time of the local quilt maker?

A turnaround time of 4 to 6 weeks is industry standard. If the turnaround time is longer, the maker might not have enough time to devote to your quilt or have too many quilts to focus on your quilt.

Take Away?

Professional T-shirt quilt makers make the best T-shirt quilts. They have the right equipment, time to devote to the quilt-making process and most importantly, years of practice. Make sure that your quilter is a professional. This might mean seeking a quilter that is out of your local community.

Case Study

local quilt maker are you sure?"I just wanted a small quilt"

This local quilt maker and I had settled on a priced and a size of a small quilt. The quilt I got back was not what I had requested. She made it larger, added borders and increased the price without even contacting me!

The quilt is 10 ft. 1 in x 10 ft. 1 in. (or 113” x 113”) which is larger than a king size. I wanted a quilt for the couch – something like 5 1/2 or 6 ft. square (68” or 72”)

The border size is 12 inches total (4 inches per color). And I hadn’t asked for a border at all! She just added one and charged me for it.

As you can see from the picture, there are quite a few extra blank square/rectangle added pieces that aren't really needed. These just added to the size.  

Also, there were quite a few logos that we thought could be put all together she spread out.  For example, few of those were from karate and could've been put on one block. I did want collars, buttons, and the like.

This is not what I had asked for.

After Too CoolThis woman then turned to Too Cool T-shirt Quilts asking if we could remake her quilt. And we did. Read more about remaking T-shirt quilts here. 

She probably spent 3 or 4 times as much for this quilt than if she had just begun with us in the first place! There was the price she paid to her local quilt maker. Then there will be additional shipping and fix fees on top of our prices.

This doesn’t even take into consideration the cost of her grief.





Interview Questions for a T-shirt Quilt Maker

Below is a PDF of interview questions to ask a potential T-shirt quilt maker. Please feel free to download and print. You are also welcome to share it with your friends.  Here are the details about each question.

Interview Questions to ask a T-shirt quilt maker

More About: Finding a Quilt Maker

To learn more about having a quilt made from your T-shirts, download our free T-shirt Quilt Buyer's Guide. 
It's a great place to learn about the different styles and quality of T-shirt quilt. 

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

Too Cool T-shirt Quilts Back to Finding a Quilt Maker 

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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