Top 10 Tips for Having a T-shirt Quilt Made
June 7th, 2021
By Andrea Funk
- There are 5 typical styles of T-shirt quilts.
- You can use more than just T-shirts in a T-shirt quilt.
- There are two busy times of the year for quilt makers.
- You can use the front and the back of same T-shirt in your quilt.
- Not all T-shirt quilts are actually quilts!
- You should be able to wash your quilt.
- T-shirts do not need to be stabilized with interfacing of any type.
- The graphics on T-shirts come in all different sizes.
- It takes 4 to 8 weeks to make a quilt.
- The quality of a T-shirt quilt can range from rotten to awesome.
T-shirt quilts come in many different styles and levels of quality.
- Do you know what style of quilt you want?
- What about the quality of your quilt?
Before you have a T-shirt quilt made with your T-shirts, here are some tips that can help you weed out quilters who may not be offering you exactly what you want.
1. There Are 6 Typical Styles of T-shirt Quilts
Do you know what style you are looking for? This is the first questions you need to ask yourself. "What style quilt do I want?"
The style of T-shirt quilt you choose will effect the price and look of your quilt. It will also determine how many blocks you can use. This is an important first step in determining who will make your quilt.
If you don't know what the different types of T-shirts quilts are or look like, you can read more about quilt styles here.
2. You Can Use More Than Just T-shirts in a T-shirt Quilt
You can use just about any machine washable fabric in a quilt. We have used sweatshirts, jerseys, jeans, bags, dance outfits, stuffed animals, gymnastic Leo's, jackets, socks, baby shoes, swim suits, and much, much more. We used this Converse shoe in a T-shirt quilt.
If you think that something helps tell the story you are telling with your quilt, use it!
Here is more about what can be used in a T-shirt quilt.
3. T-shirt quilt makers Have Two Busy Times of the Year
Starting in October and going through December, quilters are busy making quilts for Christmas and other holiday gifts.
The bad thing about this time frame is that everyone has the same deadline. The 25th. This means that if you want a quilt made for Christmas, waiting until December 1 to begin the process may mean you are out of luck.
The other busy time of the year is between March and June because of the graduation quilt rush. If you are looking for a quilt for graduation, try to get started on that project in January.
The one advantage this time of year is that there are so many different deadlines due to different graduation and party dates. A quilt maker will have a little more flexibility during this time frame to squeeze in one more quilt.
4. The Front and Back of the Same T-shirt Can be Used in Your Quilt
If you are told that you can’t use the front and the back of a T-shirt, find a different quilter. There is no reason that you can’t use both sides of your T-shirts. You can also use sleeves, and the legs and butts of sweat pants. Read more about some of the things you can use in a T-shirt quilt here.
5. Not All T-shirt Quilts are Actually Quilts
Some companies tell you that you are getting a quilt when you are actually getting a blanket.
A quilt has three layers which are held together by quilting. A blanket only has two layers.
Project Repat’s “quilts” are actually blankets. The difference is big! Pricing, quality and longevity are very different between a blanket and a quilt.
The photograph here is of a T-shirt blanket. You can see that the back and front is not connected. The two layers just fall away from each other.
Please read more about the difference between a T-shirt quilt and a T-shirt blanket here.
6. You Should be Able to Wash Your Quilt
Unless you put a dry-clean only item in your quilt, your quilt should be machine washable.
If a company tells you to dry-clean your quilt for best results means, it means that they did not pre-wash and set the color of the backing fabric. Avoid any quilt maker telling you to dry-clean your quilt. If a quilt make doesn't state this upfront, ask! The surprise is not what you want when you get your quilt or blanket back.
Here's how to care for a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt.
7. T-shirts Do Not Need Stabilized with Interfacing
Many quilters believe that you have to stabilize T-shirt material with an iron on backing or interfacing. They claim that otherwise, it can’t be sewn or has a shorter shelf life or for some other reason. This is not true.
Rather, it’s the quilting industry trying to sell stabilizer to quilters. It might make sewing easier for a quilter, but it will make your quilt stiff. The bottom line is, iron on backing/interfacing is not good for your quilt.
Too Cool T-shirt Quilts has been making T-shirt quilts since the 1992. And in that entire time, we have never once used iron-on interfacing. And we still have and use some of the first quilts we ever made.
Read more about interfacing here.
8. Graphics on T-shirts Come in All Different Sizes
Why does this matter when it comes to having a T-shirt quilt made? Because you don't want any of your graphics to be cropped off or left swimming with too much space around them.
The best solution to a T-shirt quilts are those quilts made from different size blocks. With different size blocks to choose from, each block cut from your T-shirts will be the perfect size for that graphic.
A T-shirt quilt made from just one block size is not a good solution to making T-shirt quilts. A one-size block solution will crop off some of your graphics and leave others floating in too much empty space. In the photograph here, there are two blocks that have been cropped off. They look awful! And if they were my T-shirts, I would be heart broken.
Look for a quilt that is made up of many different sizes and shapes of blocks. In other words, a puzzle style T-shirt quilt. Read more about T-shirt quilts with multiple size blocks here.
9. It Takes 4 to 8 Weeks to Make a Quilt
Upon receipt of your approval, the typical time frame to make a T-shirt quilt is 4 to 8 weeks. This will vary depending on the quilter and the time of year.
Before you have a quilt made, ask approximately how long it will take for your quilt to be completed. If it takes over eight weeks, ask why and then determine if that is the right quilt company to make your quilt.
10. T-shirt Quilt Qualities Can Range from Very Bad to Awesome
How do you know if a T-shirt quilt will be bad or awesome? You will have to put on your detective hat and do some snooping!
Look at a lot of photo. Read reviews. Ask friends and family. Do exactly what you are doing right now! Do your research.
I know that it can be difficult to tell the quality of a T-shirt quilt from a photograph.
But, I have seen photographs of 100,000's of T-shirts. I wrote an article that will help you learn what to look for when you look at a photograph of a T-shirt quilt.
In the photograph here, the rotten blanket is of the left and the awesome T-shirt quilt is on the right. It's amazing how different two quilts can look even if they are made from the exact same T-shirts.
There are a lot of consideration to make when you are planning a T-shirts quilt. Take your time and find the right quilt maker for you and your T-shirts.
We can make your quilt for you. Here's how to get started.
Want to learn more about T-shirt quilts? Visit our Learning Center.
We have over 200 articles about all aspects of T-shirt quilts.
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.