What do you do with T-shirts that you love but you don’t (or can’t) wear anymore? Introducing… T-shirt Quilts! I am not sure when I first heard about such a wonderful invention, maybe a few years ago, but I thought it sounded like such a great idea! At first, I considered finding a tutorial online in order to make it myself. I have a sewing machine and I know how to use it, though I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. I decided it would be preferable to have it made by someone who had done it before. I heard about a local quilter and got a quote from her. She makes gorgeous quilts and understandably her price was not in my budget. Then I heard about Project Repat, probably from a Facebook ad, and I signed up on their list to receive a discount. I ended up taking advantage of a great sale (I think it was half off gift cards); I purchased a “full” quilt (30 squares) and the total ended up about $15 under my budget. Win!

My husband, Chris, and I are both music lovers—we met when we were both working in the music industry. Admittedly, we tend to love different kinds of music, but there is some crossover. Plus, we both love concerts. We had set aside a variety of T-shirts to use in our T-shirt quilts—we had planned initially to each get one. But once I started looking through the collection, I thought it would be fun to get one quilt made with music-related shirts from both of us.

Here is the final product! We are really happy with it—it’s soft, cozy, and full of sweet memories. Keep scrolling for details about the T-shirts. And use this link to get 20% off your own T-shirt quilt from Project Repat!

Alright, we’re gonna start at the top left and end at the bottom right…

Row 1: DC Talk – Free at Last (Jess)

This is actually a promotional shirt for the Free at Last movie that was supposed to be released in theaters but never was. It was eventually released on DVD even though it never got a final edit. I ended up with the shirt after exploring the merch closet at the office one day (True Artist Management represents both TobyMac and DC Talk). I never really wore it because it had a musty smell that would not go away and it wasn’t very soft.

The E.C. Project – Gas Mask (Chris)

The infamous gas mask T-shirt. So, I was in this band towards the end of college and a bit after called The E.C. Project. We played a lot locally in Nashville and Murfreesboro and, while we got asked all the time, we didn’t have an album or any merch. Our buddy Andy, who had become a big fan, offered to bankroll a run of merch–stickers, T-shirts, buttons–for the band providing that we paid him back out of sales. We said yes. Yes, please. One of the frontmen (did I mention that it was a hip-hop band?) sketched out this crazy, maimed smiley face wearing a gas mask (a thing sometimes used by taggers to avoid huffing spray paint fumes) and we used it everywhere. The gas mask shirts actually sold really well and we got asked for them after they were gone.

Jars of Clay – If I Left the Zoo (Jess)

I wish I could remember how I got this shirt. It’s possible I purchased it at a concert, but this album, Jars of Clay’s third, was released in 1999 which is the year I started working in Nashville (I was a graphic designer at Release and 7 Ball magazines). So, I think it’s safe to assume I acquired it through work. I don’t think I wore it much—I like the colors but not the image.

DC Talk – Since 1987 (Jess)

I purchased this one at a concert on the Free At Last tour and wore it quite a bit. I love the dark green color and the fact that it says “Since 1987.” I learned about DC Talk in the fall of 1990 when I saw the music video for “Heavenbound” on a TV show called Videosyncrasy. I remember it vividly!

Gotee Records – Icon Shirt (Jess)

I met with DC Talk’s managers and the Gotee Records peeps pretty soon after moving to Nashville, to discuss website needs. I was invited to check out Gotee’s offices—I got a full tour (this is when they were located off Seaboard Lane, many years ago, probably 1999) and was offered my choice of shirts, stickers, and CDs. I got this gray shirt as well as a black one but the design of the black one was too large for the 12×12 squares used to build the quilt. This is the front of the shirt; the logo is on the back (as seen in the second row).

Row 2: Living Sacrifice – multiple designs (Chris)

Living Sacrifice. There’s a reason they’re on this quilt FOUR TIMES. I cannot overstate the influence that this band had on me. For most of my 20s, I was an angry young man. Living Sacrifice (and other Christian hardcore metal bands) gave me an outlet for my energy that was God-focused but still felt authentic to my experience at the time. There was something about Living Sacrifice in particular though… the mathematical precision powered by industrial-strength drums and a deep, guttural vocal delivery… it left me focused and lighter after just a few moments listening. Part of this, I believe, is Bruce’s honesty and openness when it comes to lyrics and delivery. I vividly remember watching Bruce soundcheck before a show and screamgrowling into his mic while smiling and waving at his very young (maybe 2?) daughter, a totally smitten father thrilled to do his ministry while his family supported him in the audience. I know a lot of folks say they can’t understand what hardcore vocalists are saying but, once you get used to it, you can (and if you can’t, there’s always liner notes, y’all). Bruce always delivered lyrics that were God-focused but which revealed unvarnished, raw truthfulness. So good. Still one of my top 5 bands.

DC Talk – Jesus Freak (Jess)

I am pretty sure I purchased this shirt at a stop on the Welcome to the Freakshow tour. I saw it in Irvine and L.A. in the spring of 1996. The back lists all the cities on the tour (as seen in row 5). The college student who bought this shirt had no idea that she would eventually get to know these guys and play a small part in their story. Amazing.

House of Heroes (Jess)

I purchased this at a House of Heroes show in Nashville. I saw them live at least 10 times, probably more. I never understood why they didn’t get more popular. They’re not together anymore, but their albums are still some of my absolute favorites (especially Suburba and Cold Hard Want).

Row 3: Jars of Clay (Jess)

Man, I wore this shirt OUT! It was oversized and soft and I just loved the muted colors. I probably bought it at one of the two shows I saw in Southern California in 1997. That debut album was just brilliant.

Jesus Freak Cruise (Jess)

Chris and I both received one of these shirts prior to the first Jesus Freak Cruise in 2017. I remember wearing it to the gym and hoping someone would ask me about it. Such a fun idea to make these for people who were going on the cruise!

DC Talk – Freak (Jess)

This is the back… the front is on the bottom row in the center. (By the way, we didn’t choose the order, the people at Project Repat did. I think you can pay extra to specify the placement.) I bought it at a show and it’s easily my favorite DC Talk shirt of all time. I wore it on the cruise in fact!

Jesus Christ Superstar (Jess)

I like to say that DC Talk is my favorite group, but Extreme is my favorite band. Extreme’s lead singer, Gary, played Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar in Boston, April 1996. Guess what I did for Spring Break of my sophomore year of college? It was amazing! I was so stinkin’ thrilled to be there.

Sonicflood – Orange (Jess)

I think I designed this shirt. I was “Creative Services Manager” for Sonicflood for about 3 months in early 2000. I never wore it due to the bright orange color but I couldn’t bear to part with a shirt I actually got made! Also, I think it was just a test run, I don’t think they ever produced it to sell.

Row 4: TobyMac (Jess)

I got this for free since I worked for TobyMac … probably in 2004 since it has the same colors as the cover of Welcome to Diverse City. It was a little tight on me, so I never really wore it. Cool shirt though!

New Kids on the Block – Coca-Cola (Jess)

Yes, I was a big fan of NKOTB, when I was in middle school through 9th grade. I am not sure if this was a free shirt from Coca-Cola or if it was a tour shirt. I saw them live in ’90 and ’91.

The E.C. Project – Tag Logo (Chris)

These were from the second run. At this point, Andy had actually joined the band as the DJ and we had put out a rough EP. We had recorded it as our student projects in the school studios, burned one-hundred-plus copies on a computer that I built to burn four CDs at a time (remember CDs?!). The tag was inked by the same frontman who had drawn the gas-mask shirt. These didn’t sell as well but the EPs did. Shortly after these were made, we parted ways with that frontman and started planning for an actual album. Which we made. I’m still very proud of it. (Want to listen to it? It exists on the internet.)

PSW – Wagon (Jess)

Friends from college were (are) in a band called Pushstart Wagon. I got to hang out in the studio while they were recording. I LOVED their first album so, so much! I think I made their first website. Really talented guys. The lead singer, Steve, still makes awesome music. Chris and I made his website.

Row 5: The Prayer Chain (Jess)

I discovered The Prayer Chain at AtlantaFest one summer, probably the summer between high school and college. They’re not exactly the flavor of rock I typically prefer, but I was really into them. Their guitarist, Andy Prickett, produced the Pushstart Wagon album. Many years later, the lead singer, Tim Tabor, started a concert promotion company that promoted some of the TobyMac shows on the west coast. My inner teen got a little giddy every time I saw his name in an email.

ae – ardent-enthusiast.com (Jess)

I collaborated with a few other DC Talk fans to create the site ardent-enthusiast.com. This is the back of the shirt, the front can be seen in row 6. We stopped paying for the domain around 2004, but the last version of the site was restored in 2017 at dctalk.com/ae

Collective Soul – Dosage Tour (Jess)

SUCH a great live band! And Dosage is easily one of their best albums (okay it’s probably my favorite). They played the album front to back on this tour in 2012 which I saw in Nashville.

Row 6: Thrift Store Records (Chris)

Thrift Store Records was a short-lived record label that I started with two of the guys from E.C. Project. We only put out like two albums before a really bad experience with the second artist made us realize that this label thing was a pain in the rear and not worth the trouble at that point in our lives. Still proud of those albums and singles too, though: here’s one. This time period was also really formative for me. I remember the studio that we built in the basement of our townhouse (dubbed “East Memphis” because it was so far west of Nashville) and many MANY great nights recording, playing music, and just being creative.

Jesus Loves Me and My Tattoos (Jess)

I saw this shirt on someone and just had to have one for myself. It was merch from a band called Tree63. My friend Lisa, who lives in Ohio, was going to see them (possibly at a festival) and offered to pick up the shirt for me and mail it to me. I was thrilled! Thank you, Lisa!! And yes, I do have tattoos, three of them in fact.

What a fun walk down memory lane! Do you save your old T-shirts even if you no longer wear them? You can get 20% off at Project Repat – click here.