It’s a common problem: dressers stuffed to capacity with keepsake T-shirts from teams, alma maters, and epic rock shows that are 2 Cool + 2 Be = 4 Gotten. Sure, they’re all great reminders of ragers gone by, but how many of these shmatas do those who hoard them actually wear?
The answer is most assuredly, “not many.” Which is why a T-shirt quilt is such a great gift idea. When the logos from all those old shirts are removed and stitched together with a comfy backing, the result is like a cozy repurposed scrap book your pal can cuddle up under while dreaming about how to fill all her newly freed-up drawers.
For the craftily inclined, there are plenty of online T-shirt quilt tutorials that’ll have you stitching up a storm in no time. But for Secret Santas and Hanukah Harrys like me who would rather buy than DIY, there’s Project Repat—a service that will take as many T-shirts as you can dish out and will do all the cutting, arranging, and sewing for you. Prices range from $69.99 for a 12-shirt lap blanket to $249.99 for a gigant-o 8x8 king-size masterpiece made from 64 shirts.
And for those who think it would be the perfect gift but don’t want the ultimate responsibility of deciding which of their beloved’s threads are destined for greatness, they’ve got The Repat Quilt In a Box. It’s like a gift certificate, but includes a large pre-paid envelope the recipient can use to ship out up to 30 shirts. That was the option I was offered when I ran into the Repat folks at a holiday gift show in N.Y.C. and they invited me to try their service out. I took home the envelope, filled it with goth-y wonders from the collections of both my boyfriend and myself, and quick as a whistle they sent me back the most evil bedspread to ever grace an Ikea mattress. (See photo evidence of our Hot Topic-style malevolence above.)
Do you have a similarly genius gift idea that repurposes something old into something surprisingly new? Then leave your master plan in the comments!
Emily Rems is a feminist writer, editor, rock star, playwright, and occasional plus-size model living in New York’s East Village. Best known as managing editor of BUST magazine, Emily is also a music and film commentator for New York’s NPR affiliate WNYC, and is the drummer for the horror-punk band the Grasshoppers. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in the anthologies Cassette from my Ex and Zinester’s Guide to NYC, and her short stories have been published in Rum Punch Press, Lumen, Prose ‘N Cons Mystery Magazine, Writing Raw, and PoemMemoirStory. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for fiction in 2015 and is working on a novel. Follow her on Twitter @emilyrems.