Planning a Quilt Made from Clothing
Clothing is part of who we are. You might not think about it every morning as you get dressed. Stand back and take a broader look at what you and those around you wear. Some clothes invoke strong associated memories. Other clothes are made from beautiful fabrics that are a joy to wear and touch.
Although many of the quilts we make from clothing are memorial quilts and pillows, you don’t have to die to have a quilt made from your clothing.
This article will consider making a clothing quilt from someone’s wardrobe who died and someone who is still alive. Many of the considerations are universal. We will also provide the steps you need to take to have a quilt made.
Why a quilt or pillow made from clothing?
Made from your clothing:
- You love that particular clothing item and don’t want to just give it away.
- You have great memories from when you were wearing a particular item.
- You love the color and/or texture of the item.
- You are transitioning into a new stage of life that requires a different type of wardrobe.
- You have too much clothing and need to pull out what you aren’t actively wearing.
- You have lost/gained weight. (A universal problem! You are not alone.)
- You don’t want to miss out on enjoying a quilt made from your clothes.
Made from someone else’s clothing who is still alive:
A quilt made from another person’s clothing doesn’t have to be from someone who has died. Here are some examples:
- A parent has been deployed to overseas and their children need to wrap themselves up in a quilt made from their parent’s clothing.
- A loved one is facing a long illness. A quilt made from their families clothing is nice way to keep loved ones close when they are alone.
Made from someone’s clothing who has died:
This is where the bulk of our clothing quilts are from. When someone dies, a clothing quilt helps you hold close your memory of your loved one. Read more about memorial quilts here.
Who is the quilt or pillow for?
If the quilt is for yourself, you can pick and choose items that you love. If the quilt is for someone else, take into consideration that person’s taste. Do they hate a particular color?
If the quilt is for someone of the opposite sex of the clothing, you need to look at your clothing in terms of his or her needs. For example, if you are a woman making a quilt for your son, he might not appreciate a lot of pink or floral prints. Yet, when it is a memorial quilt, many times these are the important items. And you will choose to use them.
How will a quilt be used?
How you plan to use a quilt will determine the size and shape of your quilt. A wall hanging will need to be a different shape and size than a quilt for a queen size bed. A lap or TV quilt will need to be more durable than a wall hanging because it will be used and handled more. Your quilter can help you think about size, use and durability.
What can be used in a clothing quilt or pillow?
Here are some items to consider including:
- T-shirts, Sweatshirts, Jerseys, Tank Tops
- Dress Shirts, Work Shirts, Polo Shirts
- Blankets, Quilts
- Sweatpants, running shorts
- Blue Jeans
- Logos from Baseball Caps
- Coats, Gloves, Hats
Things to consider leaving out of a clothing quilt:
- Underwear & Bras
- Anything with a bad memory associated with it.
- Shoes – with perhaps the exception of soft-soled baby shoes.
- Things that are not soft and that would not be fun to curl up with.
- Something that if it were you who died, that you would not want in a quilt.
Do all the clothes work well together?
Consider how the clothing works together. Are they pieces that just clash in an awful way? One way to check this is to lay the clothing out on the floor or a bed. Then step back and see how it works together. If there are one or two items that just don’t look like they belong, pull them out.
Note: if those clashing items are both important, leave them in. A skilled and artistic quilt maker will know how to use them in a quilt together and make them both look good. Read more about finding a quilt maker here.
Washable vs. Dry-clean Only Clothing
If you have some dry-clean only clothing items, you will need to consider their use in your quilt. If you put even one dry-clean only item in your quilt, you will need to dry-clean the entire quilt.
Working with dry-clean only items is not an issue for us. And it’s ok for you because you will probably remember that the quilt needs to be dry-cleaned. But will the next owner, or the one after that, know the quilt needs to be dry-cleaned? In your planning, take into consideration that your quilt will be passed down to future generations.
Condition of the Clothing
We can use clothing in just about any condition. We have magic that way. Just realize that if an item is old and ratty, we can use it. We can work magic, but we can’t make it new.
How to have a clothing quilt made.
Read our directions. The basic directions for our T-shirt quilts apply to a clothing quilt. If you have any concerns that are not answered in these directions, please let us know.
- Gather the Clothing
We keep clothing in many different places. Be sure to look in the garage, the attic, the basement and hall closets.
- Wash and Dry
We would like to work with clean clothes. Even if your items were packed up clean, please wash them. It’s not a lot of fun to have to work with musty smelling clothing.
Please do not use detergents with perfumes or dryer sheets. This just makes us sneeze and get congested.
- Mark what you don’t want us to use.
We ask that you put a blue painters tape X on any part of an item you don’t want used. With clothing quilts, typically there is not much to mark not to use. You don’t need to mark stains, we try to avoid them. You might choose to mark a side of an item you don’t want used.
The more flexibility we have, the more interesting quilt you will have.
It’s important to go through each item and decide if it belongs in the quilt. Please don’t just toss everything in a box and call it good. This approach tends to end up with items in the quilt that don’t belong.
- Box Up Your Items.
Here’s an article about boxing up your items. It has great information that will help your box arrive here in one piece.
- Print out an order form.
If you are making more than one quilt, please include an order form for each quilt. You are welcome to name the quilts at the top. For example, Jane’s Quilt, The Blue Quilt, or Quilt #1. This way when we communicate with you, we can both know what quilt we are referring to. Here’s a link to the order form.
On the order form, be sure to mark what size quilt you would like. Note that we cannot make a double-sided clothing quilt.
If you are unsure what size quilt your clothes may make, let us know. We can make almost any size quilt from a pile of clothing. If you want a small quilt, we will use just one small piece from each item. And if you want a large quilt, we will use larger pieces and perhaps more than one block from each clothing item.
- E-mail or call
E-mail or call your quilter to tell them to expect your items. The e-mail address and phone number are on the order form.
Ship to the address at the top of the order form.
We will call or e-mail you when your box arrives. If we have questions, we will ask them before we begin cutting.
After we finish cutting your items, we email you with size and cost options.
You don’t have to wait until you die to have a quilt made from your clothing. Make it now so you can enjoy it for yourself!