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At_a_showWhen we are out and about showing our T-shirt quilts at various events, we often hear,  "my mom or my aunt or my sister or my neighbor etc. can make a T-shirt quilt for me."  Sure they can, and it may not cost you anything. But what will you be getting? That’s the question.

"There are many people who can make a T-shirt quilt, but very few can make one well." 

If the person you are asking to make your quilt has never made a T-shirt quilt before, don’t count on getting a well-made quilt. T-shirt quilts can be tricky to make.

Even if the person you are asking to make your quilt has the How to Make a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt book, chances are that their first 100 quilts are not going to be great.  It takes time to develop the skill you need to make a great quilt. We do the long-arm quilting for a lot of people’s first attempts at a T-shirt quilt made with the Too Cool T-shirt Quilt method. And there are a lot of issues with many of these quilts – here are just a few:

  • bad bad 1Holes in the quilt
  • Seams are mismatched and/or crooked
  • Bunching and stretching of the material
  • Seams coming open because of a bad sewing machine
  • Block in upside down and sideways
  • Blocks are put into columns and rows – not in randomly
  • Designs are cropped off 
  • Poor backing color choices

Finding an experienced T-shirt Quilt Maker

You may consider asking someone to make you a quilt who has made a number of T-shirt quilts before. Here are some things to consider:

What style of quilt will they make?

compare-2Will they make a traditional T-shirt quilt with equal size blocks and sashing? Or will they make a Too Cool style quilt? (They are also called variable or puzzle style quilts by those who do not have the rights to use the copy righted Too Cool T-shirt Quilts.)

You should know what style quilt you want before you hand over your T-shirts to any one. 

What quality of material will they be using?

As with anything, the quality of materials used in a quilt can range from crap to high quality.  Will you know this ahead of time? If they are making it for free, do you have the right to ask for what you want? 

How will they finish your quilt?

compare_back_of_quilts-1Will they just tie the quilt and call it good? There are a number of ways to finish a quilt.Some ways are fast and awful and others take time and are awesome. Do you know which is which?

What will they charge you?

There are only a few people you should accept a free quilt from – your Mother, Grandmother or sister. You should not accept a free quilt from anyone not related to you. A good T-shirt quilt takes time and good materials.  Would you offer to take a week of your time and $150 of your money to make something for someone not related to you? Most likely, no.

You need to offer to at least pay for their labor and expenses. Remember, quilting is a skill like plumbing or auto mechanics – it takes practice.  You may dream of paying your plumber $2 an hour, but it’s not happening. Do not pay a beginning quilter less than $10 an hour for her labor. An excellent quilter with years of experience should be paid much, much more.  Here's the cost that go into a T-shirt quilt. 

Do you have enough information about T-shirt quilts to make a decision about who should make your T-shirt quilt? Before you ask anyone to make your quilt, check out our T-shirt Quilt Buying guide.  It will give you the information you need to be able to ask the right questions of your quilter.

Cool tee shirt 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.