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Sorting Your T-shirts for a Quilt

February 13th, 2017

By Andrea Funk

Too many T-shirts

There are a number of ways to sort your T-shirts into logical groupings for a T-shirt quilt:

  • Chronologically
  • Topically
  • Geographically
  • Color
  • Some Other Way?

Your T-shirts in a T-shirt quilt tell a story.

Too many T-shirtsIt may be the story of your life or of your trip to Europe. It's important to take a little time to sort through your T-shirts before you have a quilt made. Your T-shirts all need to be part of the same story. One wrong T-shirt in your quilt might be a heart breaker if it doesn't belong.  

For example, it is important not to mix in T-shirts that are not related to the topic of your quilt. For example, let's say that you ran in 15 marathons this year.  Those 15 T-shirts tell a story. It would be inappropriate to add one or two concert T-shirts from 1985 with the marathon T-shirts. It just does not make sense.

Rock’n’Roll Marathon races

So, you have a huge pile of T-shirts and you know you want or will need more than one quilt. At this point you need to sort out your T-shirts into groupings for one or more quilts and/or pillows.

Here are a number of ways to sort your T-shirts into logical groupings:


Sort your T-shirts into groups of time. For example, if you are working with a child graduating from high school, you could sort out items into a number of different groupings…

  • 1 quilt - birth – high school graduation

  • 2 quilts - birth – 8th grade, high school

  • 5 quilts - First year, ages 1 – 5, elementary school, middle school and high school

Hard Rock Cafe 2018Topically

Look at the different topics that you have in your stack of T-shirts. Perhaps you are graduating from college; you might have T-shirts from your college athletics and from your sorority. These two could be grouped together into one quilt – my college life. Or they could be broken into two quilts, one for athletics and one for the sorority T-shirts.

Another example is T-shirts you have collected from restaurants. First sort them into the individual restaurants or by restaurants vs. bars. You might find that you have 25 Hard Rock Café  (HRC) and 4 Planet Hollywood T-shirts. You don’t want to mix those 4 Planet Hollywood T-shirts into the HRC T-shirts.  They don’t belong. And they will lower the future value of your T-shirt quilt.


Harley davidson T-shirt Quilt pillowYou might not care about this now, but someone down the line some one might. Imagine a future auction of your quilt.  An all HRC T-shirt will draw in those hard-core HRC lovers and there might be a bidding war. But if those 4 Planet Hollywood T-shirts are in the quilt, the HRC purist won’t bother

Those 4 Planet Hollywood T-shirts could be made into a great pillow.


If you have moved around and traveled a lot, sorting your T-shirts geographically might be the way to approach dividing them up. For example, you might make an all USA travel T-shirt quilt and then the rest of the T-shirts would go into a world travel quilt.

If you have moved around a lot, you might choose to put all the T-shirts that you got while you lived in New York in one quilt, and the T-shirts you got while living in Texas in the other quilt. Read more about planning a travel T-shirt quilt here. 


Harley Davidson T-shirt quilt - very coolSo you have a stack of Harley Davidson (HD) T-shirts sitting there. It’s a huge stack and will need to be made into two quilts. If you are like most HD T-shirt collectors, the majority of your T-shirts will be black. 

A great way to sort the stack would be into an all black quilt and then the rest that are colored, white and perhaps the surplus black T-shirts would go into a separate quilt. This would help balance the non-black T-shirts with the majority of black T-shirts. 

We have done this a number of times with great success. Read more about Harley Davidson T-shirt quilts - they are awesome!

Some Other Way?

You may find yourself using a combination of these methods to sort your T-shirts.  If, after you have sorted out your T-shirts and find that you have 5 stacks but only want two quilts, you can send your sorted and labeled T-shirts stack to us. We can calculate the size of each stack and help figure out various combinations based on size or by combining various topics together.

We can help you sort your stack of T-shirts, but we don’t know the stories behind your T-shirts. You only have one chance to get it right, so take some time and consider your possibilities.

 Learn more about T-shirt quilts by downloading our free T-shirt Quilt Guying Guide.
The guide dives deeper into the differences in style, type and quality differences between T-shirt quilts. 
Learn all you can about T-shirt quilts so that you can have the quilt of your dreams.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

Virginia Tech 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.