Andrea Funk

By: Andrea Funk on February 24th, 2014

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What can you include in a Swimmer's T-shirt Quilt?

Styles & Types of T-shirt Quilts  |  Athletic Quilts

Milie SwimmingSitting through the 1000 at my daughter’s swimming meet the other day was torture. My daughter Milie is a sprinter and in 4 events, she only swam 300 yards. I had to keep myself entertained while I sat through the long events to make it to the sprint events.

So, I decided to catalog every item that swimmers have that could be used in a T-shirt quilt. I also compiled a list of things that cannot be used in a quilt. Here is that list.

That's Milie in the photograph.

 Items That Can be Used in a T-shirt Quilt

  • Swim WSU JacketT-shirts
  • Warm-ups
  • Sweatshirts and Sweatpants
  • Towels 
    Some swimmers have favorite towels that they use at every meet. At the swimming meet, one young woman was wearing an Elmo towel type cape. I could tell it was special and loved. This type of item can be used in a T-shirt quilt. And as a side note, her mother should have taken that towel away after the fifth grade! Not appropriate to wear as a college senior at a college level competition.
  • Bags & Backpacks 
    We can use the team logo or name off backpacks and bags. I know that I have gone through a number of Speedo backpacks having the zipper fail long before the bag! If there is a name or a team logo on it, we can use it.

Items That Can be Used With Caution

  • googles in T-shirt quiltGoggles 
    We have used goggles in our T-shirt quilts. We add them in a way that the strap is gone and the goggles themselves are removable. This way the quilt can be washed without the goggles. The issue with goggles is that the silicone or foam around the eye socket will deteriorate over time. But since we make the goggles removable, in the future, the goggles could be removed or replace.
  • Swimsuits 
    As a swimmer or a parent of a swimmer, you know that swimming suits deteriorate from the chlorine. We can use a swimming suit in a T-shirt quilt, but if it is roached from the chlorine, it will continue its decline in a T-shirt quilt. Most swimsuits that we use are competition suits with team logos that were not worn on a daily basis.

    ISwim WSU Swim Suitt’s important to wash any swimsuit you plan to use so all the chlorine is removed. We also put another piece of material behind a swimming suit so, if in the future, the swimming suit deteriorates there is not a hole through to the batting in the quilt.
  • Medals 
    We can make places for you to attach medals to your quilt. They would not be permanently attached to the quilt. This way they can be removed for washing. But carefully consider if you want your medals on your quilt. They would not be too much fun to sleep with. But if you plan to hang your quilt on the wall, then this might be a good place for a few medals.
  • Flip-Flops 
    We have used the three prong flip-flops in our quilts. They can be a lot of fun! We don’t use the sole, just the upper part. If you want more information about how we would use a flip-flop in your quilt, let us know.

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


More About: Athletic T-shirt Quilts

Items That Cannot be Used in a T-shirt Quilt

  • Andrea Funk SwimmingKick-boards
  • Flippers
  • Hand Paddles
  • Pull Buoys
  • Latex Swimming Caps 
    Swimming caps will deteriorate. And they cannot be sewn because the sewing machine’s needle gets sticky and the stitch tension can’t be held. They would also rip. 
  • Ribbons 
    Ribbons are made out of fabric called acetate. When washed, this fabric shrinks and bleeds. It would ruin your quilt.

To preserve these and other similar types of items, consider making a shadow box display. That's me streamlining in the photograph above.

As you are getting your or your child’s T-shirts ready for a T-shirt quilt, think beyond the T-shirt. Look at all the items that tell the story of the miles swam.

Be sure you know everything you can about T-shirt quilts before you have one made. Since you only have one chance to have your T-shirt quilt made, make sure it’s made how you want it made. Your quilt should last you a lifetime, therefore make sure your quilter does quality workmanship and uses quality materials.


To learn more about having an athletic T-shirt quilt made we have written an athletic T-shirt quilt buyers guide. 

Athletic T-shirt Quilt Guide


Swimmers T-shirt quilt
Back to: Athletic 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.