Andrea Funk

By: Andrea Funk on February 2nd, 2017

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Ugly T-shirt Quilts: How To Avoid One

Do you want an ugly T-shirt quilt? No? Then avoid these five practices that can make a T-shirt quilt ugly. 

1. Cropped Off Logos or Graphics

A T-shirt quilt, first and foremost, is about T-shirts. If part of a T-shirt’s design is cropped off just so it can fit within the set block size, that block will look incomplete and is incomplete. More over it looks thoughtless.

Here is an example of a image being cropped off. On the left is the T-shirt before it was cut. The photo on the right is that same T-shirt in a quilt. They totally cut off the word Motorcycle! Cut it off! If this were a favorite T-shirt, your heart would be broken. Below on the right is how this T-shirt should be used in a quilt. You see the entire image without anything being cropped off.



A T-shirt graphic that has not been cropped to fit into a quilt  An correctly croppped image in a T-shirt quiltImage cropped off in a T-shirt blanket








To avoid having part of the T-shirt designs cropped off, choose a quilt maker who uses many different sized blocks within her quilt. Having multiple sizes of blocks to choose from means that no T-shirt graphics will have to be cut off just to fit a single preset box size.

2. Graphics With Too Much Margin

A graphic or a logo that is cut out with too much margin around it looks silly.  This happens when the graphics on your T-shirts are all cut out with a single block size.

For example, the Hope T-shirt below left has a larger graphic on the front and a smaller graphic on the back.  If the graphic on the back is cut with the same size block that the graphic on the front is cut, there will be too much blank area around the design.

The photo to the right show a T-shirt quilt and blanket next to each other. The blanket on the left has way too much space around the logo. The quilt on the right has just the right amount of spacing around the design. This is because a smaller size block was used.

compare same logo cut with 2 different blocks on a T-shirt quilt or blankethope before.jpeg






To avoid too much margin, find a quilter who is using multiple size blocks in her quilts. 

in balance of color on a T-shirt blanket

3. Imbalance of Colors

One of the most difficult parts of the T-shirt quilt making process is the balancing and placement of the blocks in the layout of the quilt. The dark and light blocks need to balance as well as the various colored blocks. A traditional T-shirt quilt, which is laid out in rows and columns, is the most difficult one to get right. Many times they end up looking like a dark/light checkerboard. Other times, if there are not equal dark and light or colors, the quilt ends up with unbalanced dark and light areas. It looks blotchy and ugly.

This problem can be mitigated by first choosing an experienced quilter and second by choosing a quilt style that is not one-size blocks lined up in rows and columns.

4. A Bad Binding


A T-shirt quilt can also look ugly if it is poorly made. If a quilt is not professionally bound it will look bad. There’re three main types of bindings used for T-shirt quilts. Read more about those here. The most ugly binding is actually not a binding it all. Quilts finished with a “birthing” or “inside-outing” method are quick and easy to make, but look awful. 

When you are looking for a T-shirt quilt maker, spend time looking at her work. Make sure that her quilts are high quality and look great. Click here to read more about finding a T-shirt quilt maker.





5. Inappropriate backing material

A T-shirt quilt has two sides. The front side is called the quilt top and is where the T-shirts go. This side is affected by style of the quilt and the quilter’s skill. The material on the backside of a T-shirt quilt is called the backing. The choice of backing material will affect how this side of your quilt looks and feels.

For example, if a bed sheet is chosen for this side of the quilt, it could make for an ugly quilt. A bed sheet tends to always look like a bed sheet.  Read more about backing materials here.


ugly back on a t-shirt quilt















What you choose should be fun but not overly trendy. Hopefully, you’ll have this quite for many generations.  Something that looks great in today might look very dated in 2075. Choose carefully.

You only have one chance to have a T-shirt quilt made – before you begin the process, learn everything you can about having a T-shirt quilt made. We invite you to download our T-shirt Quilt Buyer’s Guide. It’s a great place to begin your research on T-shirt quilts.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide


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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