How to Prepare Your Tshirts for Quilting

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Hey there quilt fans! T-shirt quilts are one of my most popular quilt requests.  If you’re interested in having a t-shirt quilt made, here are tips and advice for planning and preparing.

Size of Tshirt Quilt

What size quilt would you like?  You can refer to the chart on my t-shirt quilt page.  I do have amounts listed for the number of shirts, but this is a guideline. You can decide how much you’d like to spend and how big of a quilt you’d like.  (Don’t worry if you don’t think you have enough shirts, we can handle that).

This tshirt quilt is in the Queen size range and used 26 shirts.

Gather Your Shirts

Now, dig out your shirts! Go into the dresser, the closet, the bags at the back of the attic and that storage box in the garage. Dump ’em out on the bed or the floor.

Are you going for a theme? My page mentions WordPress quilts, but we can do any kind of t-shirts you want – concerts, sports teams, colleges and universities, any related hobbies or really anything at all. It’s YOUR choice.

Some shirts are special, and we get that. Many clients of mine have sent shirts with a note pinned on, and those ones we take extra care with. We usually place these in the middle of the quilt, where they are most visible.

Make Your Picks

Now count up those shirts! Are you within the range on the chart? Awesome! No worries there at all. If you’re shy a few shirts for the size you want, that’s not a problem either. What we will do is use some of the plain backs and add in extra blocks around the edges, where they won’t be seen as often. The added bonus is for these plain blocks we usually go a little crazy and do some extra special quilting designs that relate to the themes in the shirts.

On one quilt, I used a blank block to stitch in their twitter handle. On another, we had a small amount of shirts but a large size to build out, so we made a large border and quilted a feathered wreath around the whole thing!

If you have too many shirts, you can consider getting two quilts made, or some accessories like pillow covers or tote bags. We use as much of the shirts as we can so even logos on the back or sleeves are incorporated into the quilt itself.

Some people have mentioned to me they have shirts they still like wearing but would also love to see in their quilt. There are a couple of options here: you can contact the conference organizer to see if they have any spares, or you can check with me to see if I might have one on hand. Once people hear I make WordCamp t-shirt quilts, they donate shirts they do not want or have a use for. So I do have a few on hand for fillers.

Prep Your Shirts

With your shirts all picked out, give them a look over. Are there holes or rips? Any paint stains? As long as any damage is not in the logo areas or around the margins of the logos, we can still use it. While we do some incredible work, we cannot remove paint or stains from the logos themselves. Some things cannot be hidden with stitching. Small holes we can reinforce.  Make sure all shirts are clean. If you do need to wash them first, skip the fabric softener.

Ship ‘Em Out

This is the hard part for me – find a box to ship them in. You can really pack those shirts in tight and they don’t have to be folded neatly. Stuff ’em in real good! They will weigh the same but if you can squeeze things into a slightly smaller box you can save a bit on shipping. It might be tempting to save on weight, but we ask that you do not cut the shirts up. You can leave that to us.

Shipping to Canada

I’m located in beautiful northeastern Canada and receive many shipment from US clients.  If at all possible, please ship internationally via United States Postal Service.

Do not ship by UPS or FedEx. While  faster by a day or two, these services create complications with import fees, duties, and taxes. They will ask for a value of what is in the box. $100 coverage is fine – you are not listing a value of the finished quilt, only the shirts in the box. Anything more than that, we get charged fees and we will charge them back to you. Do not use the commercial form – that is for me buying shirts from you, which is not what we’re doing.

So wrap up that box, mail it off to the address you get when you submit the form, send your payment and I’ll get an email knowing your shirts are on the way!

I know it sounds cheesy, but I do get excited to see people’s t-shirt collections. Every box that has been sent to me has a unique collection of shirts, and even when I see some shirts I’ve seen before, I love coming up with new ways of stitching the same WordPress shirts for a new client.