Are you confused by the different T-Shirt Quilt websites and the disparity in prices? You’re not the only one, and I hope I can eliminate some of the confusion for you. The old saying that you get what you pay for definitely holds true when shopping for someone to make a T-Shirt quilt for you.
First, let’s consider the materials used. Anyone who makes quilts knows that the fabrics one can buy in a quilt shop are of a superior quality to fabrics found in the so-called big box fabric stores. If quilters can afford it, they will always choose 100% cotton fabric from a quilt shop. As a legitimate business, we are able to buy fabric from the same suppliers that quilt shops use to buy fabric. This is what we use in our T-Shirt quilts. Some T-Shirt quilts can end up stiff when the maker uses a heavy stabilizer on the back of your T-Shirts. Others use no stabilizer at all which can leave your T-Shirts stretchy. In our studio, we use a lightweight stabilizer that will keep your T-Shirts from stretching out of shape as they are pieced into your quilt. The lightweight stabilizer does its job while still leaving your T-Shirts soft and pliable so you end up with a cuddly quilt. As well as a lightweight stabilizer, we use a soft cotton blend batting inside your quilt so that it will drape well.
The next big difference to look for when shopping for a T-Shirt quilt maker is how the three layers (the quilt top, batting and quilt backing) are held together. Some quilters “hand tie” the quilts, meaning that they use a heavy thread at the corners of each T-Shirt square to pull the three layers together. Others “stitch in the ditch” with a sewing machine around each T-Shirt block. The problem with either of these methods is that the T-Shirt quilt top does not lie flat and will not wash well. To avoid these problems and make our T-Shirt quilts stand up to a lot of use and numerous washings, we “quilt” the three layers together with an attractive swirl pattern using a longarm quilting machine.
So before you choose the quilter to entrust with your treasured T-Shirts, read the fine print and look at close-ups of the quilts shown on the websites. You will be much happier if you pay a little more to get a well-made quilt that you can treasure for a lifetime.