Andrea Funk

By: Andrea Funk on February 12th, 2015

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Should I tell my graduate about his or her quilt before it is made?

I have been making high school graduation quilts since 1995. This was well before my daughter even started kindergarten. In the intervening years, including my daughter’s graduation, I have learned a thing or two about having a graduation T-shirt quilt made.


One issue a lot of parents have is if they should tell their child about the quilt.  Experience says that it won’t hurt to clue them in. Most kids know what a T-shirt quilt is and many actually are  expecting to get one for graduation. 

Below are reasons to and reasons not to tell your child about his or her T-shirt quilt.

Yes - Reasons to talk about the quilt before sending the T-shirts:

  • You may end up with more T-shirts than you could otherwise get by “stealing” them out of the wash.
  • Your graduate may have a T-shirt that he/she hates and you might not know it. If we put that T-shirt in the quilt we will have a bad situation. Once a T-shirt is in the quilt, it is in the quilt to stay. There is no removing a T-shirt after the quilt is made. Choose carefully. This has happened a number of times. So if your child is picky, talk to them.
  • Your graduate might have color preferences for the backing and the binding other than school colors.
  • They maybe expecting a T-shirt quilt and want input on the style and quality of the quilt.
  • Your child is artistic, involved with clothing choices, is in style and has great taste.

No - Reasons not to tell your graduate about the quilt ahead of time:

  • surpriseSurprise factor - and it is a great surprise.
  • You have been collecting T-shirts for years and you have enough variety to make a graduation quilt the size you would like.
  • You know the color preferences of your graduate and feel confident that you know what color they would like on the back of the quilt.
  • Your child is oblivious to things like clothing, style, color, and design. 

More About: Planning a Graduation Quilt

Ultimately, you know your child and his or her preferences. If you have to error, I would suggest erring by telling them about the quilt rather than keeping it a secret. 

If you would like to talk about the quilt ahead of time and still keep it a surprise, you could tell your child that you would like to do something with her T-shirts, and ask for her input about which T-shirts and what colors she likes. This will probably give her enough information so that she will know that a T-shirt quilt is on the way. But not all T-shirts quilts are the same. If you have a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt made, it will be so much different than the traditional T-shirt quilts her friends are getting, that it will be even better than a surprise!

graduation_quilt_girlSome parents show their kids the Too Cool T-shirt quilt web site and others just talk about the project in general terms. A lot of kids enjoy giving their input into the making of their quilt. After all, if the T-shirt quilt is well made and of high quality, it should last more than a lifetime.

Whether you choose to tell or not to tell your student about the quilt, the quilt will wow your graduate.

Back to: Planning a Graduation T-shirt Quilt



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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