Andrea Funk

By: Andrea Funk on October 29th, 2018

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The Tiny House Movement & Your T-shirts

Planning a T-shirt Quilt

The tiny house cabin built by Andrea and DavidIf you have spent any time watching tiny house videos on YouTube, you will understand the Tiny House Movement. If not, the tiny house movement is about downsizing. It’s about limiting your impact on the environment. It’s also about finding affordable housing. Plus, so many other things.

How does this have anything to do with T-shirt quilts? A T-shirt quilt is all about downsizing. You can downsize your T-shirts into a quilt that is 100% functional in your tiny home.

We love the tiny house movement. We actually have built our own tiny house in our back woods. The photo is here. It’s not our full time living area, but it’s a wonderful place for us to slow down and get away from it all. And if you are wondering, I did all the cedar shaking on the house. I can do more than just make quilts!

This article is focused on the before and the after of your life in a tiny house. When we discuss the before, we will look at how to pare down your T-shirts and have a quilt made for your new tiny home.  If you are already in a tiny house, you may not think you could ever collect enough T-shirts to have a quilt made. You just don’t have the room.  We have some hints and tricks to help.

If you have any questions, thoughts or anything to add to this article, please let us know! We love to share other people’s experiences.

Getting Ready for Tiny House Living

Way too many T-shirtsFrom watching so many tiny house videos, the one thing that stands out in my mind is how much paring down of your possessions are necessary. I look around my house and think about what I could never let go and what would be easy to let go.

I think that my clothing would be the easiest part! I tend to wear the same 3 pairs of jean, shirts and sweatshirts all the time. I don’t wear half my clothing at all.

But T-shirts are different. This is because T-shirts are more than just clothing. They are memories of places we have been, things we have done and things we love. It is not the actual clothing article that is important. It’s the graphic or image that is on the T-shirts. 

So don’t get rid of your T-shirts. Rather, have them made into a T-shirt quilt. This way you can keep all the memories and have a quilt for your bed in your new home.

After the Move to Tiny House Living

Just because you have moved into a tiny house doesn’t mean that you can’t collect T-shirts for a quilt. I know that it’s difficult to collect anything in a tiny house. And T-shirts can take up space. So what can you do?

How you can collect T-shirts without losing valuable storage space.

  • Compression bag/vacuum packing.
    This will let you store more T-shirts in a small space. If you don’t have a traditional vacuum in your tiny house, check out compression bags. They let you squeeze the air out of the storage bag without the aid of a vacuum.
  • Sending your T-shirts off to someone else to store.
    “Hi Mom, I will be sending you a box of T-shirts to store for me.” You probably have loved ones who have not downsized their life and have ample room to store your T-shirts. Just be nice about it. Have it so they can just set your box in the basement or attic.
  • We are happy to store your excess T-shirts here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts in Charlotte Michigan. Email us for more information.
  • Cutting down your T-shirts – but only if you have to. Most quilters don’t want you to cut your t-shirts. We like to have as much flexibility to do our thing as possible. Please read more about cutting the excess fabric from T-shirts here.

To learn more about the different types, styles and qualities of T-shirts, download our T-shirt Quilt Buyer’s Guide.
It’s a great place to begin your journey to finding a quilt maker.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

Planning a quilt for a tiny house bed – the size is important!

When you plan your T-shirt quilt for the bed you will be sleeping in, you have to take into consideration the configuration of said bed.  In a tiny home, your mattress will typically be on the floor. There is neither a bed frame nor a box spring. A typical queen size quilt might be way to big for a queen size mattress on the floor.

You will need to do some measuring to figure a good quilt size.

First, you need to determine what drop you want on the two sides and at the foot of the bed. Do you want to be able to tuck the quilt under the bed? If so, how much.

You also need to decide how many pillows you want the quilt to cover up.

Bed with where to measure to figure out the size of a quilt.Here is a photo of the measurements you need to make. 

To get the width of the quilt, here’s what to add together.  The mattress width (yellow) + (side drop x 2) (blue) = quilt width.  Round up to the next highest number divisible by 4.

To get the length of the quilt, here’s what to add together.  The mattress length (red) + bottom drop (green) + height of your pillows stacked (purple) + 4” = the length of your quilt. Round up to the next highest number divisible by 4.

Next take the width and multiply it by the length to figure the square inches of that size quilt. For example, a multi-use size is 60 x 72. The square inches of that size is = 4320 (60 x 72). 

So How Many T-shirts

We can't tell you exactly. To kind of figure out how T-shirts you will need, do the following:

Following our multi-use size example, take the square inches of the quilt size and do some math.

  • Take the number 4320 and divide it by 256 = 16
  • Take the number 4320 and divide it by 144 = 30

If you have a lot of T-shirts with large designs on the fronts and backs, you will need closer to 16 T-shirts. If you have a mix of T-shirts with different size designs, you might need closer to 30. If your T-shirts just have one small graphic, you might need a lot more.

I know, I know, this not much help. A puzzle style T-shirt quilt calculation isn’t an exact science! Not even close. Every stack of T-shirts can make a different size quilt. Read more about why I can’t tell exactly how many T-shirts you might need. 

If you have tiny house and use a T-shirt quilt on your bed, we would love to share a photo of that with our reader. Please send a photo to me.

To learn more about the different types, styles and qualities of T-shirts, download our T-shirt Quilt Buyer’s Guide. 
It’s a great place to begin your journey to finding a quilt maker.
T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide

A cat on a T-shirt quilt is a camper.

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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