Andrea Funk

By: Andrea Funk on May 27th, 2019

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You Need to Know Why Some T-shirt Quilt Are So Expensive

How Much Do T-shirt Quilts Cost

Colorful Too Cool T-shirt Quilt with a double borderSome people look at our quilt prices and say, “Are you kidding me? That’s way too expensive.”

Yes, our quilts are expensive. And yes, they are out of the price range of many people. But our quilts are not expensive because we want to charge a lot. They are expensive because they are complex, time consuming to make and use very high quality materials. 

Let’s breakdown the “that’s too way expensive”.

Too expensive compared to what?

You have many options when it comes to having a T-shirt quilt made. Your grandmother or mother or sister or aunt might make you one for free. Compared to free, our quilts do cost a lot. Let’s take family members out of the equation.

You can find T-shirt quilt or blanket makers on the Internet. Prices range from cheap to expensive. Styles differ. These and other factors make comparing and contrasting quilt makers difficult. Here are the features of a T-shirt quilt that will make it expensive. 

8 Features That Make a T-shirt Quilt Expensive

Cutting T-shirts for a quiltLet's begin by looking at what makes some quilts expensive. A quilt or blanket without these features will be less expensive.  Our quilts have all of these features. If you like our style,  these are the features you should be comparing. A quilt without this features, isn't comparable with our quilts and pricing.

1. All the blocks are cut to fit the image on the T-shirt. 

There are many styles of T-shirt quilts. We use the Too Cool style we invented over 25 years ago. We know T-shirt designs and graphics come in different shapes and sizes. One block size doesn't work. So, we make our quilts with different block sizes. This style of T-shirt quilts take so much longer to make. This time adds to the cost of a quilt. It takes longer to cut the blocks out and figure the size of the quilt.

A quilt with one block size takes less time to make. As a result, the quilt will cost less.

An example of a graphic cropped off in order to fit it into a smaller block.You need to understand quilts made with one size block will compromise your T-shirts. To fit all the designs from your T-shirts into a uniform size block, two things will happen. Graphics larger than the size block will be cropped off. Small graphics, such as a chest logo, will be cut off center. There isn't enough material to have this type of graphic centered on the block. Space is wasted with small graphics while larger graphics are cropped off. This is a poor solution for a T-shirt quilt. Read more about different quilt styles here.

In the photos here, you see Goofy cropped off. Below you see an example of a chest logo used in a traditional style quilt. Next is an example of how we cut a chest logo with the wasted space highlighted. The last photo here is an example of the difference between how we would cut a graphic (on the right) compared  with how Project Repat cut the same logo (right). You can see the wasted space in the Repat blanket. Read more about the difference between a Too Cool T-shirt quilt and Project Repat blanket here. 

block with too much space too much space 2little logo lost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. The blocks are puzzled together.

When blocks in a T-shirt quilt are puzzled together, there are no columns or rows. This makes for a great looking quilt. 

Quilts made with a puzzle method add time and cost to a quilt. It takes longer to design the quilt because you have to do the puzzle. It takes longer because someone has to assign each block a spot in the puzzle. Then, it takes longer to sew the quilt top.

compare project repat with too coolA traditional style quilt is designed in rows and columns. This layout is static and uninteresting. It won't hold your attention.

This photo here shows the difference. The exact same group of T-shirts were used in this blanket and quilt.

Find a T-shirt block in the left blanket. Then look for it in the quilt on the right. Next, find a different block in the quilt on the right. Then look for it in the blanket on the left. Which one of these two do you keep looking at? Which one is holding your interest? The quilt on the right, that's the expensive quilt. I hope you can see why.

3. Sashing is not used. 

What Style - Traditional with sashingSashing is fabric separating the rows and columns of a traditional style T-shirt quilt. Typically, sashing is 1 to 2 inches wide. Expensive T-shirt quilts are not made in a traditional style. Thus, if a T-shirt quilt uses sashing, it was made in the traditional style. 

The quilt here is made in the traditional style with blue sashing. The sashing here is a little over 1" wide. 

Sashing can jazz up a traditional style T-shirt quilt. But it is still a traditional style quilt and thus cost less. 

 


Learn more about T-shirt quilts by downloading our free T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide.
The guide dives deeper into the differences in style, type and quality differences between T-shirt quilts. 
Learn all you can about T-shirt quilts so that you can have the quilt of your dreams.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide


4. The quilt is actually a quilt and not a blanket. 

parts of a T-shirt quiltFirst, a quilt and a blanket are not the same product!  You can't compare a quilt to a blanket - they are just too different. You have to know the difference. Read more about the difference between a quilt and a blanket here. 

A quilt has three layers held together with quilting. Whereas a blanket has two unconnected layers.

The additional cost of a quilt are a result of the following:

  • Additional material for the batting and thread.
  • The time to quilt a quilt.
  • The machinery needed to do the quilting.
  • The space for the machine - it's big. 

A quilt will be more expensive than a blanket. And the difference between the two is huge. Here are two photos that can illustrate this better than I can write about it. 

This first photo shows how the back is not connected to the front of a blanket.This second photo shows the back of this same blanket on the left. There is nothing - just the fabric. On the right in the photo is the back of a quilt. This is cool! Read more about quilting here. 

The two layers of a blanket are not attached to one another. compare back of a T-shirt quilt with the back of a blanket

5. The quilt is long-arm machine quilted with a unique pattern for each block. 

Bad quilting compared with awesome quilting on a T-shirt quilt. Expensive T-shirt quilts have a unique quilting pattern in for each block. Less expensive quilts have an over all quilting pattern. And even less expensive quilts are tied. Read more about the different quilting methods here. 

The photo here shows two examples of quilting on the back of a T-shirt quilt. The quilt on the left is quilted in an over all pattern of loops. There is barely enough quilting to keep the batting from wadding up when the quilt is washed. The quilt on the right is a Too Cool T-shirt quilt. You can see how each block has its own design. This quilt has enough quilting to keep the batting in place. Read more about batting here.  

The quilt on the left probably took 15 minutes or less to quilt. The quilt on the right took over two hours to quilt. This adds up to a huge cost difference. It's a 1:8 time ratio. That is a lot of time!

6. A quilt is bound with a full binding. 

Types of Binding found on T-shirt quiltsA binding is used to finish off the raw edges of a quilt. Expensive quilts use a full or true binding. This is a separate piece of fabric sewn around the entire quilt. This is the best type of binding for a quilt. It is also the most expensive.

Less expensive quilts use a fold-over style binding. The backing material is simply folded over to the front of the quilt and sewn down. This is a lot less work than a full binding. 

A blanket does not have a binding.  

Our quilts are bound using a separate piece of material for a full binding.  Here is a full explanation of the different binding styles.

7. The backing material is 100% cotton.

100% cotton is the best fabric for the back of a T-shirt quiltBacking material should be made from 100% high quality cotton. Quality material is expensive. It cost even more if a quilter is not purchasing it wholesale. Many quilt maker will choose the least expensive material she can get away with. This helps keep her cost down and her profits up. She is banking on you not know the difference. 

Be careful when you are choosing a quilt maker. Ask if she is using high quality materials. You might ask to see the information from the end of the bolt of her fabric.  In the photo here, you see the end of a bolt of our fabric. We use Robert Kaufman Kona cotton. This is the good stuff!

If the material is not 100% cotton, the quilt probably will cost less and be a lower quality.  Read more about backing materials here.

8. The batting is industry standard thickness and material.

loft of batting has nothing to do with the quality of the batting. Expensive T-shirt quilts use one of two types of industry standard batting. The first is 100% cotton. You might think this is the best. But 100% cotton tends to rip easily.

We use batting that is  80% cotton/20% poly. It is needled punch. This means the batting is run through hot rollers with long needles. When the hot needles enter the batting, they melt the polyester.  When they are pulled out, the melted polyester is pulled through the cotton fiber. When cool, the cotton fibers are held together by the melted polyester. 

Cheaper quilts will be made with 100% polyester batting. This stuff is awful. But it's cheap. Note: the loft of batting has nothing to do with the quality of the batting. In the photo here, the good stuff is on the right.

Expensive T-shirt quilts use the good stuff. That's one reason they are more expensive!  Read more about batting here.

Do you always choose the least expensive product? 

A hell of an awesome Harley Davidson T-shirt quilt!There are times when the least expensive product makes sense to purchase. For example, when the item is exactly the same as the more expensive item. But there are times when cheap is crap, and you get what you pay for.

T-shirt quilts are like anything else. There are many different styles, options and quality levels.

There many reasons for having a quilt made. Your reason for having a quilt made should line-up with the type and quality of quilt you purchase. If you want an heirloom quality quilt, it will cost more. If your budget dictates a less expensive quilt, you will need to lower your expectations.

"Anyone can make a T-shirt quilt, but very few can do it well."


Learn more about T-shirt quilts by downloading our free T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide.
The guide dives deeper into the differences in style, type and quality differences between T-shirt quilts.
Learn all you can about T-shirt quilts so that you can have the quilt of your dreams.

T-shirt Quilt Buying Guide


Back to: Cost of a T-shirt Quilt 

This is not a cheap T-shirt quilt!

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.