Andrea Funk

By: Andrea Funk on May 11th, 2020

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What is the differences between a T-shirt blanket and T-shirt quilt?

Styles & Types of T-shirt Quilts  |  The Construction of a T-shirt Quilt  |  Comparing T-shirt Quilts

A quilt and a blanket are not the same thing!

Many of our customers ask us what is the difference between a quilt and a blanket. And if you’re looking to have your T-shirts transformed into a quilt or blanket you need to know the difference between the two. You also need to know which one you want. Because, a blanket and a quilt are not the same thing. Sure, they both can keep you warm. But other than that, they are very different.

A quilt and blanket will differ in:

  1. The numbers of layers.
  2. How these layers are or are not connected.
  3. The style of binding used to finish the quilt or blanket.

These differences will effect the cost, feel and durability of your quilt or blanket. 

In each of the photos below, the blanket is on the left and the quilt is on the right. 

Project vs too cool back too cool vs repat

Number of Layers

Blanket 

fleece_on_back_of_quilt

A blanket has two layers. The top layer in a T-shirt blanket is comprised of T-shirts. The second layer or the back layer is made out of fleece, flannel or some other fabric.

Cost: Only having two layers will immediately save the cost of having a third layer as a quilt has. The cost savings could be from $20 to $50 depending on the which batting was not used.  

Feel: A blanket typically will feel thinner than a quilt. This is because it it missing a layer of batting. 

Durability: A blanket is less durable than a quilt - more able why below.

Quilt

The parts of a T-shirt quilt.A quilt is made up of three layers.

  • The top layer of a T-shirt quilt is comprised of T-shirts.
  • The middle layer is called the batting. Batting can be 100% polyester, 100% cotton or a mix of polyester and cotton. Batting can be thick or thin. 
  • The third layer of a quilt is called the backing. Backing material can be any number of different types of fabrics.

Click here to read more about backing material for T-shirt quilts.  

Cost: Adding batting to a quilt will increase the cost of the quilt. The larger the quilt and the higher quality of batting, the more cost it will add to a quilt.  

Feel: Adding batting to a quilt gives it a more solid feel than a blanket. 

Durability: Batting adds to the durability of a quilt because it as padding to the quilt. This means that there will be less wear between the front and back of the quilt. 

Connecting the Layers

Blanket 

This shows the front of a blanket and you can see how the two layers are not connected and how messy it will look.

The two layers of a blanket are typically not connected. The front and the back can easily be pulled apart from one another.

In the photo of a blanket above, we show how the back and front of a T-shirt blanket are not connected.

Cost: Not having to spend time and money connecting the front to the back will save a huge amount of time. And blanket makers don't have to have the tools to connect the lays. This tool is a long-arm quilting machine. A good set up cost $20,000 to $30,000. 

Feel: The front and back of the blanket will always be slipping apart. It will make the blanket feel messy.

Durability: Not having the two layers connected means that the layers will stretch out of place. The stretching is not good for the blanket. Also, the front or back may get snagged on something as you use it.

Quilt

long-arm quiltingThe three layers of a quilt are held together with the quilting. The term quilting covers a broad range of methods to hold together the three layers of the quilt. Click here to read more about different quilting methods. 

Cost: First, a quilt maker has to have the right equipment. As noted above, this set up could cost $20,000 to $30,000. This cost will be reflected in the cost of the quilt. 

Day of the dead tracing backSecond, it takes time to long-arm quilt a T-shirt quilt. Depending on the type of quilting done, this may add 6 to 8 hours to the time it takes to make a T-shirt quilt. This time will be reflected in the cost of a quilt. 

Feel: The quilting adds a nice texture to a quilt. A quilt will not squirm around on you. It will be solid.

Durability: The quilt adds to the durability of a quilt. It will keep the top, batting and backing from shifting around. It basically stabilizes the components of a quilt.

Coolness: If a T-shirt quilt is quilted right, the coolness or awesomeness factor will go way up! Read more about awesome quilting 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


The quilt on the bottom has a full binding. The blanket on top does not have any binding.

Type of Binding

A binding is the term used to describe how the edge of a quilt or blanket is finished. Read more about the types of bindings here. 

Blanket 

Typically, blankets do not have bindings.

To finish a blanket, the quilter will place the face of the top to the face of the backing material. She then sews around the outside of the two pieces leaving about 8" unsewn.  Through this hole, she will inside out the blanket. This is called a birthing or pillowcase method. It’s very quick and simple. 

Cost: This method of finishing a blanket is simple. Thus an unskilled person could do this. Unskilled labor is always less expensive than skilled labor. Also, this is a quick process. Also a way to save cost.

Feel: This type of finishing will feel cheap. In the photo below is a close up of the edge of a blanket. You can see how it does not lay smooth. You can see the backing rolling over onto the front of the blanket. 

Durability: This finish for a blanket should be durable. 

so called binding edge skinny

 

Quilt

compare binding-1

There are two typical methods used to bind a quilt. The first is a half binding. In this method the backing material is folded around and sewn onto the front of the quilt. In the photo here, the half binding example is on the right. 

The second method is a traditional method where a separate piece of material is sewn around the perimeter of a quilt. This is the type of binding that we use here at Too Cool T-shirt quilts. In the photo here, the quilt on the right uses a traditional binding. 

Cost: A half binding will cost less than a traditional binding. This is because there is not an extra piece of material involved. But both styles of binding will take time and a skilled sewer. This will result is a higher cost product. 

Feel: A bound quilt will feel good. There is a tactile feel that this is the edge of the quilt. And it looks so much better. 

Durability: A traditional binding will last longer than a half binding. This is because there is more material involved. Two layers of material will last longer than a single layer. 

Click here to read more about the types of binding used for T-shirt quilts.

More About: General Information About T-shirt Quilts

Conclusion:

Quality

Blankets usually are low quality. This is because they lack quilting to hold their two layers together and the type of finishing used is quick and doesn't require a skilled sewer. A blanket can be well made, but by their nature, a blanket is a lower quality product than a quilt. Most quality quilt makers or companies do not make blankets, they make quilts.

A quilt can be high or low quality depending upon how it’s made. Click here to read more about the quality variations in T-shirt quilts. But generally, a quilt is a higher quality product than a blanket because the three layers are attached and they are bound. 

Cost

A blanket will cost less than a quilt because there are fewer materials involved, they are fast and simple to make, a less skilled person can make one, and there is less equipment needed.

Quilt

A Quilt will be more expensive than a blanket because there are more materials involved, they are more complex and take longer to make, they require a skilled maker and more equipment.  

If you are planning to make a quilt or blanket from your T-shirts, make sure you know which one is right for you!

Read more about how much a T-shirt quilt cost 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


A cool sorority T-shirt quilt.

Back to General Information About T-shirt Quilts

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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