Andrea Funk

By: Andrea Funk on November 5th, 2015

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Who Exactly Is Making Your T-shirt Quilt?

Finding a T-shirt Quilt Maker

Did you know that not all T-shirt quilt companies make their own T-shirt quilts?

Some companies will send the entire project or part of the project to someone else to make!

Why does this happen?

Sewing a T-shirt QuiltThis goes back to why someone enters the T-shirt quilt business. Some people enter the business because they made one quilt and someone sees it and asks if they will make them one.  Most of the time, these are quilters or sewers who have quilting experience and know and can do all the steps of the quilting process.

Other people have entered the business as part of a MBA program or because they see it as a way to get into business.  These companies are not started by quilters or sewers, but by businesspeople. They could be in any industry, but they chose the quilting industry.  The problem is that they have the business skills but not the sewing skills.

When in the process does it happen?

Longarm_Quilting a baby clothes quiltThere are some companies that will farm out your box of T-shirts when it arrives at their doorstep. The business is set up so that one person is running the business, handling the website, calls, payment and the like. When a box of T-shirts arrives, they are assigned to subcontractors to do the actual work.  But you, the customer, only deal with the middle-person.   

Other situations of work being sent out involve the use of expensive equipment. If a T-shirt quilt is long-arm quilted – which it should be – the quilt maker you hire might not have a long-arm quilting machine. They are very expensive and take up a lot of space. So they will send the quilt tops they make quilt to a long-arm quilter to be quilted.

Other people only like to make the quilt top and don’t want to bother doing the more complex and difficult work, so they will send the quilt top off to be quilted and bound and finished by someone else.


What does it mean for you?

crushed_boxIt means that your quilter is not actually making your entire quilt. This means a number of things.

  1. The person you think has care, custody and control of your T-shirts, gives that to someone else. This means that the quilt top or T-shirts are leaving their shop or home.

  2. Are you certain that subcontracted company care what they are doing to your T-shirts? After all, it’s not their name that will go on the product.

  3. Will the subcontractor call and ask you questions if need be?

  4. Is the subcontractor’s location smoke and pet free?

  5. Is that location insured?

What should be asking your T-shirt quilt company?

  1. Do you make my quilt entirely in your shop? If no:
    •  What work is done off site?
    •  Where is off site?
    •  Who are you sending the work to?
    • What is their quilting experience?

  2. Is the quilt ever sent off site?

  3. Do you use subcontracts or employees? Employees are better than subcontractors because when employees do the work, it is done on site, with the company’s equipment and under supervision. Whereas a subcontractor is responsible for his or her own work, not the company to which you sent your T-shirt.

Read more about what to ask a quilt maker here. 

Should you send your T-shirts to a quilt company that sends your work off site and/or uses subcontractors? 

Ask yourself why your quilt should be sent off site… if it is because of a lack of quilting skills, I would say no. There are better options to choose from.

If it is being sent off site because the quilter does not have the right equipment, I would suggest you be hesitant. You should know when, where and to whom your T-shirts are being sent.  

Here at Too Cool T-shirt Quilts we make all our quilts in house. If for any reason, we would need to transfer your T-shirts from one location to another, we would contact you first to get your permission.

Your T-shirts are so important. Make sure you know what will happen to them once they arrive at a T-shirt quilt company.

If you are ready to have a quilt made from your T-shirts, here are the steps you need to take. If you have any questions we are more than happy to help out. 

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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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