What I Learned Planning My Son's Graduation T-shirt Quilt is Important
August 23rd, 2021
By Andrea Funk
- Learning About T-shirt Quilts
- Start Saving T-shirts Now
- Finding a Great T-shirt Quilt Maker
- Understanding you next child
- Graduation Timing
- Displaying at Open House
Too Cool T-shirt Quilt customer Sonya Ash shares her experience with her son's T-shirt quilt.
In purple, we are adding additional information and links to help you in your planning.
Learning about T-shirt Quilts
Years ago, when my children were small, I was at a graduation party and saw a graduate receive a beautiful gift. Her grandmother had made her a quilt from the T-shirts she had worn in high school. From that point on, I knew that I wanted to create a very special gift to give to my children when each of them graduated from high school.
The first T-shirt quilts were made in the mid 1980. Read about the history of T-shirt quilts here. In the early 1990's some moms began to have a T-shirt quilt made for their children when they graduation from high school.
Fast forward to the 2020's, and most kids expect a T-shirt quilt for high school graduation. It's just a rite of passage. Here are some photos of graduation T-shirt quilts.
I set up a box for each child to save articles of clothing and T-shirts. I called this their “special box.” Before my first quilt, each child did not know that I was keeping a box for them. I am glad I begin collecting T-shirts for the quilt well before their senior year in high school.
This is a great way to save T-shirts for your child's quilt. The act of creating a box will remind you to put T-shirts away. It will give your thoughts about saving T-shirts an action.
Finding a Quilt Maker
I spent a great deal of time researching T-shirt quilts as my son’s graduation drew closer. I wanted something very special. Many quilters would only accept a certain number of shirts and would only use one set shape. We had so many shirts for the quilt! We also had so many different sizes to incorporate!
I finally came upon Too Cool T-Shirt Quilts online. Andrea was great to answer my many questions. Her product was perfect for me since she would make the quilt from any number of shirts that could be of any size or shape.
Her design was beautiful! She was so creative with the placement of each shirt and the stitching used in the quilt. My son had a “lucky shirt.” I told her that we didn’t care what size or shape came out of the “lucky shirt.” She chose a zippered pocket from the front of the shirt, so the quilt actually has a zippered pocket on it from the famous “lucky shirt.”
Finding a quilt maker is the most important part of planning a T-shirt quilt. Not all T-shirt quilts are not all equal. Here are a few articles that will help you understand about the different styles and quality of T-shirt quilts and finding a quilt maker.
To learn more about having a quilt made from your T-shirts, we invite you to download our T-shirt Quilt Buyer’s Guide.
It’s a great place to begin your research about T-shirts quilts.
The Second Child
Soon, my perceptive daughter found out about my secret plan for my son. Her first question was “where are my shirts?” So, as I was preparing my son’s box of shirts to be mailed, we went through her box of shirts for her quilt that seemed to be on the distant horizon. She has actively helped to prepare the shirts for her quilt ever since.
Oh, watch out for subsequent children! They get T-shirt quilts figured out real quick. I have families we work with where the first child had one quilt made, the second child two quilts. By the time you get to the 4th or 5th child, you need to put your foot down quickly. If your child says, I need one T-shirt to wear and one for my quilt, just say no!
For subsequent children you might need to plan more than one quilt. Here's an article about different times in life to have a quilt made.
Sending the T-shirts to the quilt maker.
My task got much trickier as graduation drew near. My son's choir was traveling to New York in the spring. During part of the trip, they had to wear their choir shirts. But I wanted to include that T-shirt in his quilt. Andrea said that it wasn’t a problem for me to mail that T-shirt a bit later than the rest of the shirts.
I still remember shipping the box of shirts. The clerk asked if I wanted to insure the box. It was simply a box of old clothing, yet it was priceless to me!
Having to wait for one last T-shirts happens all the time. We would prefer getting the bulk of your T-shirts sooner and the last T-shirt when it comes in. This way we can get started on your quilt and then add the last T-shirt when it arrives.
Graduation time is a busy time for all T-shirt quilt makers. Here's an article about the timeline for having a graduation T-shirt quilt made.
When the quilt arrived.
When our finished quilt arrived, I was so excited that I couldn’t keep it a secret any longer. I had to show my son. He had been wondering why some of his shirts had gone missing! Now he knew!
My husband cleverly arranged a way to hang the quilt on one of the walls of the social room at church for my son’s graduation party. It was a wonderful addition to the party since it literally showed the history of my son’s life from his appliquéd baby bib to the National Honor Society!
Here's an article about how to hand your T-shirt quilt.
Send the quilt to college?
When college time rolled around, my son told me that he didn’t want to take his quilt. He was very concerned that something might happen to it. We decided to put it on his bed at home. This was great for me since I can reminisce over the years and the milestones of his life each time I clean his room!
To send or not to send a T-shirt quilt to college. This is a big question that parents and their kids must answer. Here's an article with discussion points that can help you and your child to decide what's best.
Now we’re only days away from sending off another box of shirts and special garments. Andrea’s quilts are a beautiful way to preserve a lifetime of memories in a very special one-of-a-kind way for your child!
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.