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Finding a T-shirt Quilt Maker

6 Things to Know Before You Buy a T-shirt Quilt

January 25th, 2021

By Andrea Funk

Before you chooser a T-shirt quilt maker, answer these 6 questions.

1. How many T-shirts do you have?
2. What size quilt do you want?
3. Do you want a quilt or a blanket?
4. Are all your graphics on your T-shirts the same size?
5. Do you want heirloom quality or just good enough for now?
6. What is your budget?

Sewers line upAre you in the process of looking for someone to make your T-shirt quilt? Before you go any further, ask yourself the following 6 questions. These questions will help you focus your search and can make eliminating quilters that don’t meet your requirements easier.  

The information you need to answer these questions is included. 

1. How Many T-shirts Do You Have?

Too Many T-shirt on a benchKnowing how many T-shirts you have is important for a number of reasons.

  1. Some T-shirt quilt styles limit how many T-shirts you can use. For example, if you want a traditional style T-shirt quilt, you will be limited in the number of T-shirts you can use. A quilt that is 5 blocks wide by 7 blocks down can use 35 graphics. So if you have 20 T-shirts with graphics on both sides, you would be limited to choosing just 35 of the 40 graphics on those T-shirts.

    A puzzle style T-shirt quilt styles will let you use any number of T-shirts graphics. The more graphics and designs you have the larger your quilt.

  2. The number of T-shirts you have will in part determine the size of your quilt. If you want a small quilt and have a lot of T-shirts, you will have to either increase the size quilt you want or eliminate shirts so you can have a smaller quilt.

2. What Size Quilt Do You Want?

Quilt_sizesThe size quilt you want will dictate the number of T-shirts you can use.

The more T-shirts you have, the larger your quilt will need to be.

If you are finding you have too many T-shirts for the size quilt you want, you will need to sort through your T-shirts to figure out which ones to use to tell the story you want to tell.

Read more about figure out the size quilt you would like made here. 


3. Do You Want a Quilt or a Blanket?

A quilt and a blanket are not the same thing! A quilt has three layers with stitching holding the layers together. Whereas a blanket has just two layers with nothing holding the two layers together. Read more about the difference here.

A quilt will cost 4 to 8 times more than a blanket because there is so much more to a quilt. A quilt will take more time to make, there are more materials and equipment required and will require a skilled quilt maker.

In the photo here, a traditional style blanket on is the left and a puzzle or Too Cool style T-shirt quilt is on the right. 

Compare pr to tc

compare_back_of_quilts-1Beware – some companies who make blankets, will call them quilts. But they are not quilts!

So, how can you know? If you can’t tell from photos on their website, you will need to ask the company these questions:

  • Are your T-shirt quilts actually quilted? The correct answer for a quilt is “yes.”
  • How many layers are your quilts? The correct answer for a quilt is “3.”
  • What type of batting do you use? Any type of batting means it is a quilt.
  • Are your quilts machine quilted? The correct answer for a quilt is “yes.”

The answers to these questions will tell you if that company makes a quilt or a blanket.

In the photo here, the blanket is on the left and the quilt is on the right. This is a photo of the back of the quilt and blanket from the previous photo. Here's an article about how to judge a quilt by a photograph. 

Planning a T-shirt quilt?
Here are step-by-step directions for ordering your Too Cool T-shirt quilt.

4. Are the Graphics on Your T-shirts the Same Size?

If all your graphics are the same size and will fit in a 12 or 14 inch square, a traditional style T-shirt quilt would work ok. But if the graphics on your T-shirts are all different sizes, you will want a puzzle style quilt that uses different block sizes. Read more about the different styles of T-shirt quilts here.

If your graphics are all different sizes and you choose to have a traditional T-shirt quilt made, you need to be prepared to expect two things:

  1. Cropped off imageThe graphics larger than the one standard block size will be cropped to fit that block size. Are you okay with that? Will it break your heart to have a block cropped off?

  2. Small graphics will be left with too much space around them. Many times the small graphics are in the upper right hand corner of the blocks. It will look silly and be a waste of space that would have been used for graphics from other T-shirts.

5. Do You Want a Heirloom Quality or Just Good Enough?

Knowing what quality level of a quilt you would like will help you when you set a budget. If you want a well-made high quality quilt, you need to expect to pay for this. If you are willing to settle for a good enough, then you will spend a lot less.

Click here to read about how much does a T-shirt quilt cost.

6. What Is Your Budget?

June 4-1There are a number of considerations that will impact your budget…

  1. Quilt size – the larger the quilt, the more it will cost.
  2. The style of quilt – the more complex the quilt, the more it will cost.
  3. If you are having a quilt or a blanket made. A blanket will cost less than a quilt.
  4. The quality of materials use – the higher the quality, the more expensive the quilt will be.
  5. The skill of the quilt maker – the more experienced a quilt maker, the more expensive your quilt will be. 

It comes down to, “you get what you pay for.”

$200 will get you a small disappointing blanket and $1200 will get you a kick-ass quilt. You need to decide what you want for your T-shirts. If you can’t afford what you want, save up until you can.


To learn more about the different types, styles and qualities, check out our learning center
It’s a great place to begin your journey to learn more about T-shirt quilts.

beautiful border


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.