You’ve seen the advertisements for T-shirt quilts that all look similar, typically arranged in 12” blocks in rows and columns. But what if your shirts have graphics larger than 12 inches, or so small that they get lost in a 12" block?

When you take a stack of T-shirts with a variety of graphics, you’ll see that shirts have different sizes of graphics. You may have some with very large graphics. Concert and musical show t-shirts are notorious for large graphics on both sides of the shirt. On the other hand, you may have shirts with just a small logo or graphic.

And what about wording or graphics that run down a sleeve – how can you fit that long sleeve graphic onto your quilt if the sleeve doesn’t fit into the 12” cookie cutter? To add another variable, T-shirt manufacturers often scale the graphic to fit the shirt size. So you can have 2 shirts with the exact same graphic in different sizes.

Why Goldilocks Likes Her Quilts “Just Right”

When looking for a t-shirt quilt maker, it’s important to look at the manufacturing process. Are your shirts stamped with a die cutter that doesn’t center your shirts? Or are they hand cut with your shirts centered and square? Knowing how your shirts will be handled is important when trusting someone to make your memory quilt. It’s important to look at the size of the block that your quilt maker cuts. If your graphics are large, your shirt may have a portion cut off and that compromises the quilt. Let’s take a look at Mr. “Garf Brooks” below.

T-Shirt Quilt Block Properly Sized for Graphic

The graphics on this shirt are pretty large. In fact, it’s currently cut to a 16” block. Much larger than the industry standard 12”. If we had to cut this shirt to 12”, poor Garf would be completely squeezed and would look like this:

Graphics Too Large For T-Shirt Quilt Block

This is a 12.5” Plexiglas template. We use this so that we can see where the cutting will appear on your T-shirts. The black line that you see is the seam allowance marker so we can see how the seams will affect your graphics. If the shirt was cut to this size, you would lose Garfield’s shoes and a portion of the name “Garf” would be caught in the seam allowance.

Even if we used a 14” template, the shirt would look like this:

Same T-shirt graphic using a 14-inch template for quilt

Again, we lose the “Brooks” at the bottom of the shirt although there is more room at the top for Garf. You are still losing much of the graphics of this shirt. If this was your favorite shirt, would you want the graphics to be compromised?

Different Blocks for Larger Tees

We know that your tees are important to you so we cut the shirts to fit the graphic. We can customize a quilt for you with different sized blocks to properly feature each shirt. For larger graphics, we cut larger blocks. For small graphics, the blocks are cut to fit.

Take a look at this finished quilt below. The following shirts were too large for 12” blocks: the Taylor Swift shirt with guitars, the Imagine Dragons concert shirt and the Pi-Lingual black shirt at the bottom. Also, the blue John Hopkins shirt and the two horse shirts had very small graphics that would have been lost on a 12” block. By cutting each shirt to properly feature each graphic we created a beautiful and visually stunning quilt for this young lady.

T-Shirt Quilt Featuring Properly Sized Blocks for Graphics

Learn More - Get Our Free Quilt Buyer’s Guide!

If you’d like to know more about the quilt making process, please download my free T-Shirt Quilt Buyer’s Guide. Or contact me at