6 Questions You Need to Know the Answers to before you plan your T-shirt Quilt.
How many T-shirts do you have?
What size quilt do you want?
Do you want a quilt or a blanket?
Are all the graphics on your T-shirts the same size?
Do you want heirloom quality or just good enough for now?
What is your budget?
Are you ready to embark on the your journey of planning a T-shirt quilt? If so, let's kick-start the process by delving into six crucial questions. These questions will serve as your guide to finding the perfect T-shirt quilt maker who will meets all your requirements.
By answering these questions, you'll be able to streamline your search and eliminate any quilters that may not be the right fit for your project.
1. How Many T-shirts Do You Have?
Knowing how many T-shirts you have is important to help you determine what size quilt you might be able to have made.
Some T-shirt quilt styles limit how many T-shirts you can have. For example, a traditional style T-shirt quilt will limit the number of T-shirts you can use. A quilt that is 5 blocks wide by 7 blocks down can use 35 graphics. So if you have 20 T-shirts with graphics on both sides, you would be limited to choosing just 35 of the 40 graphics on those T-shirts.
A puzzle style T-shirt quilt, the style we make here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts, will let you use any number of T-shirts graphics. The more graphics and designs you include just increases the size of your quilt.
The number of T-shirts you have will in part determine the size of your quilt. So if you want a small quilt and have a lot of T-shirts, you have two choices. One, increase the size quilt you want. Or two, eliminate T-shirts so you can have a smaller quilt.
This photo here shows the differences in our standard size T-shirt quilts. The red show the size of a lap quilt and the purple shows the size of a king size quilt. The other colors show the sizes in between. Read more about quilt sizes here.
3. Do You Want a Quilt or a Blanket?
A quilt and a blanket are not the same thing! A quilt has three layers with stitching holding the layers together. Whereas a blanket has just two layers and nothing holding the two layers together. Read more about the difference here.
A quilt is a true work of art that demands more resources, time, and expertise compared to a blanket. With its intricate stitching, multiple layers, and meticulous craftsmanship, a quilt showcases the skill and dedication of a talented quilt maker.
As a result, the cost of a quilt is typically 4 to 6 times higher than that of a blanket. The investment in quality materials, specialized equipment, and the expertise required to create a quilt is what sets it apart and makes it a cherished heirloom for generations to come.
In the photo below, the blanket is on the left and our T-shirt quilt is on the right. Same T-shirts - very different results.
But beware – some companies who make blankets, will call them quilts.
But they are not quilts! So how do you know? If you can’t tell from photos on their website, you will need to ask the company questions.
Are your T-shirt quilts actually quilted? The correct answer for a quilt is “yes.”
How many layers are your quilts? The correct answer for a quilt is “3.”
What type of batting do you use? Any type of batting means it is a quilt.
Are your quilts machine quilted? The correct answer for a quilt is “yes.”
The answers to these questions will tell you if that company makes a quilt or a blanket. Note: companies like Project Repat and American Quilt Co/Blanquilts do not make quilts. They make blankets. Don't be fooled.
Planning a T-shirt quilt? Here are step-by-step directions for ordering your Too Cool T-shirt Quilt.
4. Are All the Graphics on your T-shirts the Same Size?
If all your graphics are the same size and will fit in a 12 or 14 inch square, you might want to have a traditional style T-shirt quilt made. But if the graphics on your T-shirts are all different sizes, you will want a puzzle style quilt that uses different block sizes. Read more about the different styles of T-shirt quilts here.
If your graphics are all different sizes and you choose to have a traditional T-shirt quilt made, you need to be prepared to expect two things:
The graphics larger than the one block size will be cropped to fit that block size. Are you okay with that? Will it break your heart to have a block cropped off?
Small graphics will be left with too much space around them. Many times the small graphics are in the upper right hand corner of the blocks. It will look silly and be a waste of space that would have been used for graphics from other T-shirts.
5. Do You Want Heirloom Quality or Just Good Enough For Now?
What expectations do you have for your T-shirt quilt?
Knowing what quality level of a quilt you would like will help you when you set a budget. If you want a well-made high quality quilt, you need to expect to pay for this. If you are willing to settle for a good enough, then you can spend a lot less.
To learn more about T-shirt quilts, visit our Learning Center. We have over 200 articles about all aspects of T-shirt quilts.
6. What Is Your Budget?
There are a number of considerations that will impact your budget…
Quilt size – the larger the quilt, the more it will cost.
The style of quilt – the more complex the quilt, the more it will cost.
If you are having a quilt or a blanket made? A blanket will cost less than a quilt.
The quality of materials used – the higher the quality, the more expensive the quilt will be.
The skill of the quilt maker – the more experienced a quilt maker, the more expensive your quilt will be.
Set a budget and then double it. A good rule of thumb is to put aside about $25 to $45 for every T-shirt you plan to put in a quilt. The larger your budget, the better quality of quilt you can have made.
If your budget is very small but your T-shirts are very important, right now might not be the right time for you to have a quilt made. A well-made, high quality and interesting T-shirt quilt generally is not free. You will get what you pay for.
Which quilt here would you want? One is dirt cheap and the other isn't.
It Comes Down to, “You Get What You Pay For”
$200 will get you a small disappointing blanket and $2000 will get you a big kick-ass quilt. You need to decide what you want for your T-shirts. If you can’t afford what you want, save up until you can.
Now that you have answered these 6 questions, you are ready to begin your search for a quilt maker to make your T-shirt quilt.
We here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts would be delighted to make a quilt for you. Here's how.
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.