Top 10 Misconceptions About T-shirt Quilts That Can Lead You Astray
September 13th, 2021
By Andrea Funk
10 Common Misconceptions About T-shirt Quilts
1. There is only one style of T-shirt quilt.
2. A quilt and a blanket are the same thing.
3. T-shirt quilts are easy to make.
4. Only cotton T-shirts can be used.
5. A thicker batting means a warmer quilt.
6. It’s okay to crop off a logo on a T-shirt.
7. Black is the best color for the back of a quilt.
8. Sashing must be used to make a real T-shirt quilt.
9. Stabilizer must be ironed onto the back of the T-shirts.
10. Anyone can make a T-shirt quilt.
There are a lot of misconceptions about T-shirt quilts – from how they look to how they are made. Below is a look at the top 10 misconceptions. We will break each down for you and debunk them one at a time. When available, we also have included links to more information about each misconception.
If you understand these facts about T-shirt quilts, you will be able to better find a quilt maker to make your quilt.
1. There Is Only One style of T-shirt Quilt
False! There are many different styles of T-shirt quilts: puzzle style, stained-glass style, traditional style, traditional style with sashing, crazy quilt style, and more.
More than anything else, the style quilt you choose to have made will influence how your quilt looks and feels. For this reason, it's important you know which style quilt you like best.
Before you choose a quilt maker, first decide what style of T-shirt quilt you want and what style would work best for your T-shirts.
Read more about the different styles of T-shirt quilts here.
Here are the 6 typical styles of T-shirt quilts. Here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts, we only made the first two style.
2. A Quilt and a Blanket Are the Same Thing
Don’t believe it! Although they are both used to keep you warm, a quilt and a blanket are very different! A quilt has three layers held together by quilting. A blanket has two layers that are not held together with anything. Here is an article that takes a deep dive into the differences between a blanket and a quilt.
There is a difference in the complexity of a quilt vs a blanket. This will greatly affect the cost of a quilt. Read more about what goes into the price of a T-shirt quilt here.
If you are researching T-shirt quilt makers, be sure to ask if they make quilts or blankets. And beware; some people making blankets think that they are making quilts!
First ask, “Do you make quilts or blankets?” If they answer that they are making quilts, ask “What type of batting do you use?” If they say they aren't using batting, then they are making blankets. By the way, we think the correct answer should be 80% cotton/20% polyester needle punched or 100% cotton batting.
If they give you the type of batting, then ask, “What type of quilting do you do?” This will give you more information about what you can expect from a quilt made from this maker. We think the correct answer should be long arm quilting. You can read more about quilting styles here.
3. T-shirt Quilts Are Quick and Easy to Make
This is a very common mistake people make. “Oh, they don’t look that difficult to make. I have a sewing machine and a pair of scissors. What could go wrong?”
Oh boy! We have heard this and seen the results of this thinking so often! Don't believe Pinterest!
We finish so many quilts that someone else started. It will cost you more in the end for a quilt maker to finish what you thought was going to be easy.
If you are considering making your own T-shirt quilt, take this quiz to see if you have the equipment and skills to attempt your own quilt.
Planning a T-shirt quilt?
Here are step-by-step directions for ordering your Too Cool T-shirt Quilt.
4. Only Cotton T-shirts Can be Used
Wrong! Don’t be limited to just T-shirts.
We use many other types of clothing and cloth items such as sweatshirts, tank tops, tech fabrics, jeans, regular clothing and much, much more. If it can be washed in a washing machine, we probably can use it.
Read more about what can be used in a T-shirt quilt here.
5. A Thicker Batting Means a Warmer Quilt
Don’t buy into this! The loft of batting does not equal its warmth.
The best types of batting are 80% cotton/20% polyester needle punched or 100% cotton. These two types of batting are thin and the perfect weight to keep you warm. Traditional quilt makers prefer using these types of batting in their heirloom quilts.
Some quilt makers looking to make a living making T-shirts quilts will choose the least expensive batting option available. Many times this is a high loft polyester batting. They might tell you that it will keep you warm.
But they won't tell you that there are better options available. And that these other options will be warmer.
Why? Because the best batting costs more! Quilt makers charging a super low price for their quilts will make up for the low price by using low quality materials. They hope their customers will not have information to contradict their "warm" claim. Read more about batting here.
6. It’s Okay to Crop-off a Logo on a T-shirt.
Nooooo! Why would cropping off a logo ever be okay? Your T-shirts are your memories. When you look at them you don't want to see parts of them missing. Unless you specifically want them that way, it is NEVER okay to crop-off a logo.
Why would a quilt maker crop-off a logo? This happens when you choose a traditional style quilt with one block size. Any logo that is larger than this block will be cropped off. Any logo way smaller than this size block will be left with too much margin around the design. Read more here.
The photo here shows how graphics were cropped-off on a Project Repat T-shirt blanket. This is not right! There are ways to make a T-shirt quilt without cropping off any image. To us, a cropped off image is unacceptable.
7. Black Is the Best Color for the Back of a Quilt
What?? Why would black be the best choice for the back of a T-shirt quilt? We like using bright colors that tie into the colors of the T-shirts on the front of the quilt.
Here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts, we think that you should have a lot of backing colors to choose from. We have over 350 colors to choose from. We are here to help you choose the best color for your quilt. It might be black or it might be bright blue!
These are T-shirt quilts! They are suppose to be fun, happy and, when appropriate, colorful.
8. Sashing Must be Used to Make a Real T-shirt Quilt.
No, not true!
Sashing is a strip of fabric sewn between the blocks and usually divides the blocks into rows and columns. This is how T-shirt quilts were initially made in the 1980’s. Read more about the history of T-shirt quilt making here.
Today, quilt makers have a number of different styles of T-shirt quilts they can make and most without sashing. Read more about static/traditional style quilts here.
You need to decide if you do or do not want sashing on your quilt. Look for a quilt maker who is making the style of T-shirt quilt you want.
9. Stabilizer Must Be Ironed Onto the Back of the T-shirts
NO, no it doesn't need to be used! The use of stabilizer is one of the main controversies in the T-shirt quilt world.
Quilt makers initially backed T-shirts with iron-on backing to make them them not stretch. This allowed quilter makers to sew T-shirt material to cotton sashing strips. Initially, it was the only way anyone knew how to make T-shirt quilts. Read more about the history of T-shirt quilts here.
In the early 1990’s, I began making quilts without sashing or interfacing. I just didn't know the rules. All these years later, I am still being questioned about if this really works. Many quilters tell anyone who will listen that you can’t make a T-shirt quilt without interfacing and that the Too Cool style does not work. I am so tired of this.
Basically, if your quilt maker has to stiffen T-shirt with iron on backing, I would suggest finding a different quilt maker or expect a stiff quilt.
Ironing on a stabilizer to a T-shirt is not required to make an awesome T-shirt quilt. Read more about interfacing here.
10. Anyone Can Make a T-shirt Quilt
Perhaps. With the right tools and enough practice, most people can be taught to make a T-shirt quilt. But without the right tools, instruction and experience--don’t hold your breath!
No matter what you see on Pinterest or Etsy, T-shirt quilt making isn’t easy or fast. There are no short cuts or fast ways to make an awesome T-shirt quilt. Do your research so you can find an experienced T-shirt quilt maker. Here are interview questions you can ask potential quilt makers.
How many of these misconceptions about T-shirt quilts did you believe? We hope this article helped debunk them for you! With this information in hand, you should be able to find a quilt maker to make your quilt. We would love to make your quilt for you. Here's how.
Learn more about having a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt made from your T-shirts.
Visit our Learning Center. It has links to over 200 articles about T-shirt quilts.
If you want to know something, this is the place to go!
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.