In partnership with Project Repat.
I swear I’m not a hoarder, but the boxes of t-shirts stacked up in my garage might tell a different story. I suppose you could call them a collection of sorts: pinnies from my high school field hockey days, spirit week attire, an assortment of fraternity and sorority rush outfits belonging to my husband and I respectively. Call me nostalgic, I guess, but these shirts will never get thrown away. But they’re no good collecting dust either, and that’s where Project Repat comes in.
Rooted in the concepts of recycling and reducing waste, Project Repat takes your old t-shirts and turns them into a high-quality, affordable quilt (from $75) with minimal carbon impact. It’s quite literally the perfect solution for people like me who want a way to honor a lifetime of memories without hoarding boxes of stuff. You’re helping the environment too – extending the life of a shirt by 3 years reduces the carbon impact of the shirt by almost 100%.
Custom quilts to honor your most cherished memories
“Custom” often translates to “complicated,” but that’s not the case with Project Repat. The process isn’t zero effort, but it’s about as simple as it can be. First, gather all your shirts (tbh, depending on your tidiness, this is probably the hardest part). Then, head to their website and start customizing — choose your ideal size (ranging from throw blankets to twin, queen, or king-sized quilts) and your fleece backing color. There’s even an option to upload your preferred design to their site, a slick touch on a well thought out system to make a quilt exactly how you want.
From there, it’s time to start cutting. It sounds wild, but it’s oddly cathartic. Basically, you’ll use this guide and a pair of scissors to cut “t-shirt sides,” or panels that you want included in your quilt. Throw them all in a box, print one of their auto-generated shipping labels, schedule a USPS pickup and you’re all set. Soon, you’ll be the proud owner of your very own quilt.
The perfect gift for someone special
While I grabbed a few of my husband’s favorite t-shirts, along with some of my own, to create a keepsake quilt for us to showcase at home, Project Repat’s quilts would make an equally special gift. I can imagine creating one to honor a high school graduation, passing down a quilt to a sorority “little sis,” or stitching together shirts as tribute for a college athlete. And with optional add-ons, like designing your own layout, upgrading to bigger panels, adding a photo square, or writing a personal message, you can customize your quilt so it’s exactly what you envisioned. Check out a few gorgeous examples here (and my personal favorite - custom embroidery.)
Reducing waste, one quilt at a time
Let’s start with some stats, shall we? According to Project Repat, 5% of trash on Earth is made up of used textiles, with the average American trashing 65 pounds of clothing per year. And did you know that because Goodwill can’t resell most t-shirts, they get shipped overseas, doing nothing but adding to the carbon footprint? Pretty staggering stats, right?
It takes over 700 gallons of water just to make one shirt, so there’s a pretty good case for upcycling t-shirts in a way that makes more sense. Project Repat can’t change all of this, but they're certainly doing their part - to date, they’ve diverted over 25 million shirts from landfills and recycled over 3 million pounds of scraps. By turning your shirts into a quilt with Repat, you can do your part too.
Don’t just take our word for it
With 31,000 5-star customer reviews and countless testimonials, Project Repat has become quite a name in the (albeit niche) upcycled t-shirt space. What’s cool, though, is that in addition to making high-quality products, the company shows equal prowess is in the charity space. Perhaps Fast Company said it best when they shared that “Project Repat has already made enough money from selling [their quilts] to help five girls through school in Tanzania, and build a solar-powered computer lab in Kenya.” The good press doesn’t stop there - this feature in CNN is a great watch, and of course, landing on PopSugar’s list of best graduation gifts isn’t too shabby either.
So, what are you waiting for? Dust off that box of old t-shirts and order yourself a quilt! Plus, Project Repat is offering TQE readers a 20% off discount to sweeten the deal.
Five More Reasons to Love Project Repat
- You only need 8 t-shirts for the smallest lap size, so you don't need a massive stockpile.
- Why not wear your memories? While quilts steal the spotlight, you can also turn your t-shirts into a pretty sweet pair of joggers.
- Inspired by co-founder Ross Lohr’s time in Kenya, Project Repat’s story is quite remarkable — built off the idea of “repatriating” clothing back to the United States and raising money for non-profits working in East Africa.
- Made in America! The company has created over 60 new textile jobs at a worker-owned textile factory in North Carolina.
- Check out thousands of examples at #projectrepat on IG. They've also got a blog worth checking out for some killer inspiration and tips.