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Graduation T-shirt Quilts

Planning a Graduation T-shirt Quilt in 4 Steps

February 9th, 2015

By Andrea Funk

If your child is graduating from high school, they are most likely expecting a quilt made from their high school T-shirts. For American high school students, it has become an expected right-of-passage. They will only be surprised if they don’t receive a quilt!

Some parents have been saving their children’s clothing since childhood. Other parents are just figuring out now that a T-shirt quilt is expected. Either way, in January or February of your child’s senior year, it is time to begin the process of having that quilt made. 

Here Is a 4 Step Planning List

1. Find the T-shirts

HS kid with too many T-shirtsBegin by gathering the T-shirts and see if you have all the ones you want.  If you find that some of the T-shirts are missing, start looking for those T-shirts now. You might find them stuffed under the bed or somewhere else a teenager might stash their stuff.

If you are missing a particular T-shirt and don’t want to advertise that you are making them a T-shirt quilt, you might say, “I haven’t seen you wearing your _______T-shirt recently.” This might lead into a conversation that it’s gone missing, it’s at someone’s house or that it’s just a lame T-shirt.  Here’s an article about if you should talk to your child about their quilt or not.

graduation robe in quilt quiltPlaces to find missing T-shirts: school, coach, neighbor, younger sibling’s dresser drawers, Goodwill, or the school’s lost and found.

Note: T-shirts are not the only items that can be used in a T-shirt quilt! You can use any washable fabric in your quilt.  Here are several articles about other types of items that can be included in your quilt.

More About: Planning a Graduation Quilt

2. Find a Quilter

Finding a T-shirt quilt maker that will make the quilt you want will take some research on your part. You may be disappointed if you just settle for your aunt’s neighbor’s friends without first knowing what you want, when you want it and how much you want to pay. Here are three things to consider when you are looking for a quilt maker.

  1. Know what style of T-shirt quilt you want.  
    5 Styles of T-shirt quilt
  2. Decide on your budget and then double it. Typically an inexpensive quilt will be a poorly made, low quality quilt.
    How much does a T-shirt quilt cost?
    One Chance to Have a T-shirt Quilt Made Right
  3. T-shirt Quilter workingThe quilter’s time frame. Some quilter’s schedules fill up very fast in the spring. Other quilters might think they can get your quilt finished on time, but are not set up to make as many quilts as they have promised.  One of the first questions you should ask a quilter is, “can you realistically complete my quilt by the date you need it back by?” The earlier your graduation date or open house, the sooner you need to get your T-shirts to your quilter.
  4. How to find a quilter.
    Do You Know Anyone Who Can Make Me a T-shirt Quilt?
    Local T-shirt Quilt Makers
    Custom T-shirt Quilts
3. Mark the T-shirts according to directions

X_outAfter you have settled on a quilter, the next step is to prepare your T-shirts according to that company’s directions. Everyone has different directions so be sure to spend time on that quilter’s website reviewing how they want the T-shirts prepared. 

At this time you can also decide which T-shirts will go into the quilt. The decision will be based on a number of items:

  • How many T-shirts you have.
  • How many T-shirts are needed for the quilt size you want or want to afford.
  • How the quilt will be used.
  • Who is making your quilt and the style of T-shirt quilts they make.
  • The sizes of images on the T-shirts and if the T-shirts are one or two-sided
4. Ship or deliver your T-shirts to your quilter.

You need to plan to have all your T-shirts sent to your quilter by late February or very early March. The exact timing will depend on your quilter’s schedule and when your graduation or open house is. The earlier your graduation date or open house, the sooner you need to get your T-shirts to your quilter.

Graduation Day or Open House

open_house_1This is when your persistence in finding a great T-shirt quilt maker will pay off. A T-shirt quilt is a gathering place at your open house. Your guests will share their memories of events they participated in with your son or daughter. 

Choose an area with enough room for people to congregate, yet is a respectable distance away from the food and drink.

For more information about high school gradation T-shirt quilts,
here is a link to our Graduation T-shirt Quilt Guide.

Graduation T-shirt Quilt Guide 

Back to: Planning a Graduation T-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.