Care For T-Shirt Quilts

NOTE: The following information relates to quilts made by T-Shirt Quilts of Texas®  but applies to traditional  quilts as well.


Generally, you can wash your quilt in a washing machine using cold or tepid water. If the quilt is large... queen size or larger... you might want to wash it in a front loading machine or at a laundromat in a large front loading machine.

T-Shirt quilts should be durable. We have one that has been our store sample for over 10 years, and still looks like a new quilt. Those t-shirts have probably been washed a hundred times, so those are not going to shrink or fade further.

Color Fastness

TSQ-washWe only use quilt shop quality fabrics for the borders and backing for our quilts. The colors shouldn't 'run'. Solid fabrics and other cheap fabrics are more likely to have problems. If you are worried about colors fading, an old time remedy is to set the colors by soaking quilt in vinegar for about 24 (or vinegar and salt) hours.

ANY time you start washing in a commercial detergant like TIDE or GAIN, you are going to start the fading process with your quilt (or any other natural fiber). We suggest that you use T-Shirt Quilt Wash for this quilt (or any quilt). It is a non-detergent soap, and will not cause your quilt to fade. However, once you start using a commercial detergant, the quilt will start to fade.

NOTE: This is another reason we ask that all t-shirts be laundered before putting into your quilt.

NOTE: If you have shirts that have an odor (from being stored for a long time, sweat, smoke, etc.) put a couple of tablespoons of vinegar in the washing machine and wash as usual.


You should be able to use a dryer on low heat, or hang on clothesline. If you use T-Shirt Quilt Wash your quilt will come out soft and fresh smelling with no artificial scents.


Really? We stablilize the T-Shirts with a 100% cotton stabilizer. Depending on the condition of the shirt, the stabilizer should retard the degration of the shirt.

The companies that don't use a stabilizer and suggest you use a fray check product are cutting corners. We stablilize your shirts before quilting, and your quilt should last generations. Of course, if there was a hole there before we get it, it will still be there. Ask us about doing minor repairs.


Although we try very hard to make sure that we have removed all the loose threads from the quilt, you may notice when your quilt is new that we missed clipping a thread. Don’t worry, just clip the thread close to the top and the problem is solved. No charge for extra threads! :)

Storing Your Quilt

Well, hopefully you are actually using your quilt and not storing it. But, if you must store it, there are preferred ways to store your quilt. First of all, what NOT to do.
  • Don't store folded quilt directly on wood shelving or cedar chest.
  • Don't store in plastic bag
  • Don't display on a bed (or on a wall) in direct sunlight
If storing, use acid free tissue and specific storage boxes for vintage use. The BEST storage bag is a cotton pillowcase that has been laundered a gazillion times. Those ugly brown spots that you see on vintage linens occur from direct contact to the wood, hence the need for the acid free tissue, or the frequently laundered pillowcase.

I use OLD towels as a shelf liner to line storage areas. These towels have also been laundered (hundreds of times), and provide a nice layer against the wood or the cheap plastic shelf liner in your linen closet.

The jury is still out on whether using 'Space Bags" is OK. I have to confess that I have several freshly laundered (and completely dry) quilts stored in the space bags. I am waiting to see if there is any damage.

What I am actually finding is that the bags don't hold their 'vaccuum' and the quilts are actually just stored in plastic bags. Probably not good. However, I am pretty sure that any rogue mice or moths are not getting into quilts stored in the space bags.
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How to Choose A T-Shirt Quilt Border Style For Your T-Shirt Quilt

Border Styles

We have several styles of borders that you can choose  for your t-shirt quilt.   First a few definitions so we all know what we are talking about.

Binding is the finishing method that goes around the outside edge of the quilt.  It covers up the raw edges of fabrics and makes a nice finish.  This fabric is usually the same fabric as the outer border or backing of the quilt.

Borders are part of the quilt top and effect the finished size of the quilt.  There can be one or more of these, each adding to the interest of your quilt

Read more about the difference between borders and binding. Many quilt/(blanket) makers just sew the shirts together, and finish it in one of several methods.  The CHEAP blanket guys, just make the top (see Terms), sew it pillowcase style, then top-stitch around the outside edge.  (Note: that is finishing the edge, but is not binding)   

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Compare T-Shirt Quilt Makers - Please.

What?  We WANT you to compare tshirt quilt makers.    Yep.  We have found over the years that the more YOU know, the better decisions you make.

 We have put together a free file for you to download and print.  Just make notes about your comparisons when checking with different quilt makers.

There are several questions you should be asking ANY COMPANY that you are considering having making your treasured quilt.  We have filled in over 10 questions you should be asking before you send your shirts off to make a quilt [or blanket].               

Fist and foremost, you need to decide if you want a quilt or a blanket.  Read Difference Between a Quilt and a Blanket   for more on that.

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Is a Professional Making YOUR T-Shirt Quilt?

Not All T-Shirt Quilt Makers are Created The Same 

WHAT?  Some companies (or crafters) actually send their quilt projects  off-site  while their customers think that  their special tees will stay at the place they mailed them.  In many cases, the quilt-maker is sub-contracting some or part of the quilt process.  Maybe they are piecing the quilt top, then sending it to someone else to quilt it. This happens  because this place is NOT a professional business. 

A professional t-shirt quilt maker is making your quilt start to finish.  They have the equipment. They have the materials.  They have the employees.  They are not farming out any  work to someone else.   This happens for several reasons; see my post on Who Is Making Your T-Shirt Quilt.   Look for a company that will complete your quilt 'in house' and reduce the risk of sending your treasured tees to someone else.

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Thinking about having a T-Shirt quilt made? 

Download our Free Buying Guide

Before you have a T-Shirt quilt made, be sure to read our T-Shirt Quilt Buyers Guide so that you have the information you need to make an informed choice about what type of T-Shirt quilt you want to have made.

T-Shirt Buyers Guide