Sunday, January 21, 2007

Too Many T-shirts? Make a quilt!

If you're like me, you've got enough race shwag in the attic to outfit a small town. T-shirts, sweatshirts, and jerseys galore - you don't wear them, but they have too much sentimental value for you to part with them. What to do?

This holiday season, I got a gift that solved this dilemma in very cozy way. Using the services from, we had a king-size quilt made of most of my race t-shirts (7 x 7 = 49 shirts). Now we have a cozy blanket that brings back all kinds of memories!

(My "race quilt" - recognize any of these shirts?)

The process was fairly painless, although it took longer than expected (about five weeks end to end, vs the advertised 2-3 weeks). They take a deposit of $100 and send you a kit where you plot the layout of the quilt, choose fabrics and borders, and let them know of any special needs. You send in the shirts, and about three weeks later, a quilt comes back in the mail.

I was very pleased with the end product. They had a good eye for the best way to cut the 14" x 14" squares, including taking the sleeve pattern from the Boston Marathon shirts and getting them in the square. The blanket is actually "quilted", meaning there is a sewn pattern of loops across all the shirts, so it doesn't feel like it was cheaply tacked together.

(If you look close, you can see the quilting pattern on the shirts)

The whole thing set us back about $420, which to a sewing novice like me, feels like a bargain. But best of all, I now have a way to "use" those shirts. I bet it would be a great way to assemble concert t-shirts, fraternity/sorority party shirts, or even corporate t-shirts. Ross Common Quilts and a few others have similar services (and ironically they all seem to be in the same area of Kentucky), so depending on your needs, you may want to look around.

(Sophie loves snoozing with the new blankie)

Do you have other creative uses for your race t-shirts? I know some of you could probably make a hot air balloon with the 100's you have amassed. If you have some ideas, let us know!

Thanks, SD


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    One of the bloggers who recently registered is “warriorwomen” from the United Kingdom, and I saw a link to your blog from there, which is how I came to read your blog and contact you.

    I would be grateful if you would register a link to your running blog with my web site for our members to read (it only takes about 2-3 minutes to complete the online form). From the home page, under "Free Features" in the lefthand column, just click on "Link your running blog".

    If you would like more information on my running background and involvement in the running community, click on “Meet Robert” from the main menu, or “Faithful Soles in the news” from the Weekly Features section in the lefthand column.

    Thanks and continued good luck in your training.

  2. hi Scott- Eagerly awaiting write up on Pacifica 50k- I just checked and WOW you came in 3rd- you are amazing- tell us about it! Congrats!!!

  3. Scott, we have one of those vacuum food sealer things and I just vac the shirt and save them for when my kids get older. Instant classic T-Shirts. They would have to wear the "finisher" shirts inside out until they finished said race.

  4. Such a cute picture of your little one under the racing blanket :). I just wanted to come back and say 'thanks' for the advice you gave me in regards to choosing my first 50k. After seeing the current layout for the 2007 PCTR schedule, I think I'm going to go ahead and do the Woodside 50k. Your RR made it look quite beautiful, and the elevation gain is a bit more mild than other races in the later fall. I'll be at woodside the weekend after next for my first trail run/race to do the 17k, so I'll get a little taste of it. Thanks again for being so helpful! Can't wait to read your Pacifica report :)

    Adelyn Bonner-Lyon

  5. Getting 49 race t-shirts sounds pretty hard going to me.

  6. How funny, I made a quilt out of all my race t-shirts way back in high school. If only I had known I could have made a business out of it! Now days if the shirt is cotton, I usually check the box on the entry form that says 'no shirt.' Although, cotton shirts are good for waxing the car.

  7. Great idea!!!

  8. Hi Scott...thanks for posting on my blog. Your blog is my favorite running blog. The interviews and pictures are awesome! Keep it up.

  9. Will - You have three now, but just will be surprised how fast they can add up!

    I love the idea of sealing them up too. I haven't seen too many RD's giving the "no shirt" option - does that make the entry fee cheaper?

    Angela - Look closely at the shirts and you'll see a few 5k's in there; not as hard as one would think. My wife, Christi, did point out that it's a $3000 quilt if you count all the entry fees. Yikes! That explains my bank account balance.

    Adelyn - I will be volunteering at Woodside, so I'll see you there!

    Pacifica 50k write up is on its way...


  10. You have a Bulldog 50k shirt!!! I'm glad you put that one in the middle.


  11. I've always wanted to make a quilt out of the t-shirts. It looks great. Cute picture too! As always...I love your blog. I always learn something new.

  12. The picture of your baby under it is priceless:)

    BTW, I registered for Cool and didn't see your name on it. Beware, only 30 runners. You turned me to it, I'd like to see you there:)

  13. And congratulation on a great start of the year! Neat time!

  14. Nice quilt, and I like the prominent Sunsweet logo on two of the photos! Alan's mom did that for us a few years ago. She made two beautiful quilts with adventure race shirts, including some numbered jerseys actually worn during races like eco-Challenge Borneo (I'm not quite sure how she got the funky 9 day race smell out of it). We still have to get up the nerve to ask her for an ultra run quilt, but some day. It is a great idea! I hope you'll be able to come up to Red Bluff for the Sunsweet Wildflowers 50k in April this year.

  15. What a great idea! Instead of sending my t-shirts off to who knows where, I can keep 'em all and stay warm too! :)

  16. I have been running for years (slowly) but have been sewing for much longer. Other runners have asked me about making them t shirt quilts. Yours looks very nice so maybe I'll try it. Stretchy fabric is tricky to work with. Making a quilt is a lot like training for marathon.

  17. Great idea about the quilt. Even though it seems like a lot of money I recommend anyone to just do it, because it will be one of your most prized items that you will pass down! Very interesting that your wife figured out the "real" price. I've just started tracking what I spend on the sport and easily top the 2,000 mark. I'm trying to be more frugal, so if there are any race directors out there help us out and offer a cheaper version without the "goodie bag/shirt" most of us have enough. Or if that doesn't work can you offer shorts or socks? You could still get a few adds on them, right?


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