Skip to main content

«  View All Posts

Finding a T-shirt Quilt Maker

Choosing the Right T-shirt Quilt Maker: Expertise Matters

February 16th, 2015

3 min. read

By Andrea Funk

Four Tiers of Expertise Among T-shirt Quilt Makers

  • The Novice Quilter
  • The Intermediate Quilter
  • The Advanced Quilter
  • The Expert Quilter

Anyone can try their hand at creating a T-shirt quilt,
but only a select few have the ability to craft true masterpieces.

They are your T-shirts and they are important to you. They tell an important story about you. Don’t just choose a T-shirt quilt maker without doing some research.

Quilters all have a first T-shirt quilt. I began making quilts when I was 5 years old. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making a quilt. Some quilters begin making quilts when their children are born or when the kids leave home. And quilting is a great pastime at which to work.

The Question Is, How Skilled Do You Want Your Quilt Maker to Be?

Here Are Four Tiers of Quilt Making Expertise

The Novice Quilter

A very poorly made T-shirt Quilt - one made without directionsA novice quilter’s experience making quilts of any type is limited. They may have gained their knowledge by taking a class, reading a book or watching a video.  A novice is expected to need help and guidance making a quilt. Their focus is learning the basics of quilt making.

The Intermediate Quilter

The intermediate quilter knows the basics and can usually make a quilt independently. Advice and help from an expert is still needed from time to time. Their focus is on learning more of the basics and improving their knowledge and skills.

The Advanced Quilter

The advanced quilter can make a quilt without assistance. They have made enough quilts that they can apply theory to unique problems that arise. The advanced quilter focuses on teaching and developing new styles and applications.

The Expert Quilter

Stained-glass T-shirt quilt made by Too Cool T-shirt Quilts - very well designed and crafted. The expert quilter is known as an expert in their specific area of quilting. They have been making quilts for years and has encountered and solved just about every conceivable issue that arises. They can provide guidance, troubleshooting and answers to questions related to their area of expertise.

If they were my T-shirts, I would want an advanced or expert quilter to work on them. This is especially true if there are any unique items or special issues with the group of T-shirts you want made into a quilt. 


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

10 Questions to Ask To Determine How Skilled Your Quilt Maker Is:

  1. How many T-shirt quilts have you made?
    The more the better! Anything less than 500 is not very many.

  2. How many years have you been making T-shirt quilts?
    Although some people have been making T-shirt Quilts for years, they still might not be very good. But the longer someone has been at it, the better chance they know what they are doing. Anything less than 5 years is not very long. 

  3. An experienced quilt maker at Too Cool T-shirt QuiltsIs quilting your full time job or a hobby?
    This is such an important question! Someone making T-shirt quilts as a hobby does not have a lot of skin in the game. If something goes wrong, there is no professional reputation to be concerned about. Whereas someone making quilts as a full time job has a lot to lose if something goes wrong. 

  4. Can I see a T-shirt quilt you have made?
    This article, How to Tell the Quality of a T-shirt Quilt from a Photograph has great information about how to look at photographs of T-shirt quilts to understand what you are looking for. 

  5. What quality of materials do you use?
    The more skilled the quilter, the better quality materials they will use. We have an article about the types and quality of materials T-shirt quilt makers use.  Read more about quality materials here.

  6. Converse high top in a T-shirt quilt... that takes talent to do!What types of special items can you use?
    If you want a special item used, ask to see a photograph of another quilt with a similar item used.

  7. Is your shop or home smoke free?
    Smoking = stinky quilt. Smoking also increases the risk of fire. 

  8. How many quilts do you have going at any one time? And how do you insure that my T-shirts won’t get mixed up with another quilts? 

    Boxes help Too Cool T-shirt Quilts keep their work flow put together.The more experienced the T-shirt quilt maker, the more likely they have figured out how to keep their quilts segregated from one another.  Here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts, we have a very stick protocol that we use to keep quilts segregated. Even with over 50 quilts in house at any one time, we stick to the rules and don't have any issues. 

  9. Do you make the entire quilt from beginning to finish?
    Some quilters will only make part of the quilt and then send the quilt to another company to be finished.  Think about the care, control and custody of your T-shirts. You know nothing about the people your quilt is sent to to be quilted. It could be a disaster. You want your quilt to stay with your quilt maker for the entire process. 

  10. Longarmers quiltngDo you have a long-arm quilting machine? If not, how do you quilt your quilts? 
    If a quilt maker doesn't have a long-arm quilting machine, it means one of two things. First it could mean that they are not actually making a quilt. Rather they are making a blanket which doesn't have quilting. Read more about the difference between a quilt and a blanket here. 

    The other thing not having a long-arm quilting machine could mean is that they send their quilts to someone else for the quilt. See question 9 for an explanation.


There is more to making a T-shirt quilt than you might think. If your T-shirts are important to you, put consideration into your choice of T-shirt quilt makers.  Strive to find the most experienced quilter you can to make your quilt.


Want to learn more about T-shirt quilts? Visit our Learning Center.
We have over 200 articles about all aspects of T-shirt quilts.

A runner's T-shirt quilt by Too Cool T-shirt Quilts


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.