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T-shirt Quilts: A Buyer's Guide

Feb 9, 2008
A t-shirt quilt is a wonderful keepsake. It can last a lifetime when the best materials are used, and it is made correctly. Inexpensive, custom t-shirt quilts are sold by many online companies. Inexpensive isn't bad, necessarily. Your quilt will break down over time if cheap materials are used or the technique it poor. Before you buy, however, it is important that you ask your t-shirt quilt provider these questions. The questions you should ask are:

Q. Will my quilt be custom-made?

Online you can find decent t-shirt quilts that are reasonably priced but that aren't necessarily "custom." The colors, patterns, and arrangement are usually the same. Since you are having a t-shirt quilt created as an heirloom, it is important that it really is custom-made.

Q. Will polyester or cotton batting be used?

Cotton batting is superior to polyester. Polyester batting doesn't breathe and will degrade substantially over a long period of time. Cotton batting is more expensive but also more comfortable for everyday use and will last much longer. When cotton batting is used, the quilt will hang flatter and more beautifully against a wall. Sometimes quilts are not made with any batting. In this case, the quilts cannot really be considered quilts at all.

Q. Do you separate my t-shirts with sashing?

A ribbon of fabric, or sashing, is used between t-shirt squares to separate them. It is important that your quilter use sashing. This will enhance the design, as well as help your t-shirt quilt last longer.

Q. How is the quilt built? Do you bind you or "flip and quilt"?

The "flip and quilt" or "flip and sew" method is older and less time-consuming. Although it is less expensive, the quilt usually won't hang or lay completely flat. If the more time-consuming bind method is used, the finished product will lay or hang flatter and will look better.

Q. What are the thread weight and the thread count of the fabric that will be used?

A quilt should last decades if the best fabrics are used. The thread count of the best type of fabric is 75, and the thread weight should be 30-34. Check with your quilter about the thread count and thread weight of the fabric they use. The last thing you should check, if you can, is the sharpness of the printing on the fabric. Inexpensive fabric has printing that is inconsistent and blurry, and it will degrade over time.
About the Author
About the author: Sara Musfeldt has been a fan of quilting art for many years. Sara has reviewed the creations of Moonlight Quilts, including their t-shirt quilts.
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