Crocheting Blog

How to Create T-Shirt Yarn for the Comfiest Knitting & Crochet Projects

T-shirt yarn is a great option for making a variety of different items including baskets, coasters, vases, washcloths, rugs and more. It is sturdy and durable but still soft on the hands. Plus, making T-shirt yarn is a great way to use up old shirts in an eco-friendly way!

Here is the step-by-step information you need to make your own T-shirt yarn.

t-shirt yarn

Images by Kathryn Vercillo of Crochet Concupiscence

Note: I used a knit T-shirt for this tutorial. Most of the instructions are the same for a traditional cotton shirt, but there are a few minor differences, which I've included below using a second set of photos.

Step 1:

t-shirt

Lay your T-shirt out flat, face up.

Step 2:

t-shirt yarn

Cut the top of the T-shirt off by starting right under the armpit and one end and cutting straight across.

Step 3:

t-shirt yarn

If this were a typical cotton shirt, you would also need to cut off the bottom hem. The knit shirt I was using didn't have a bottom hem so it wasn't necessary here.

Step 4:

You should now have a rectangle of fabric held together by the two side seams of the shirt. Turn the shirt so that these seams are now at the top and bottom. Fold the shirt from the bottom up, leaving about half inch of the bottom part taller than the top part you're folding up.

Step 5:

cut t-shirt yarn

Start about half inch in from the left side and cut straight up to the top. Cut all the way through the top layer of the shirt and slightly up into the bottom shirt. Leave about half inch of the bottom T-shirt uncut at the top.

Step 6:

t-shirt yarn

Repeat this process all the way across, cutting strips from the bottom to the top of the T-shirt, about one half inch apart. (Note that you can cut the strips as thin or as wide as you want but 1/2" - 1" is standard.) When you are finished, you'll have what looks a little bit like a grass hula skirt.

Step 7:

t-shirt yarn

Open the shirt so that the uncut portion at the top is in the center and the cut portions fan out at the side. This will look a bit like a ribcage.

Step 8:

t-shirt yarn

Start at the bottom by making a cut in the center of the "ribcage" and working towards the left, cutting diagonally to the edge of your first cut. You'll see that this begins to create a strip of fabric that will eventually become your yarn.

Step 9:

tshirt yarn

Continue cutting the strips diagonally from right side to left side to make one continuous strip of fabric yarn.

Step 10:

t-shirt yarn

For my knit shirt, the process is then finished. Just roll the strip into a ball and use it. However, when you are using a traditional cotton T-shirt, you will want to stretch out the yarn before rolling it to create a thin yarn-like fabric instead of a thick fabric.

This is done by gently holding 4" - 6" portions of the yarn between your two hands and pulling apart. The yarn will stretch and curl in on itself to create a fabulous yarn that doesn't reveal the cut edges of the cotton. Stretch all the way across the fabric, piece by piece, then roll into a ball of T-shirt yarn.

t-shirt yarn bunny

T-shirt yarn bunny pattern from Craftsy member Kismono

Now you're ready to make something with your T-shirt yarn. Check out Ashley Little's "Tips and Patterns for Knitting and Crocheting with T-shirt Yarn".

What is your favorite project to crochet or knit using T-shirt yarn?

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17 Comments

Edita

I found information about T-shirt yarn very useful…

Reply
grosir kaos polos murah

Yes, there are many nice subjects I have found, however there’s something truly attractive about it one.

Reply
Cariad

I guess it will become apparent in the doing of it, but in just the reading and the photo provided in Step 9, I’m having trouble seeing how it becomes a continuous strip. Looks like fun and there are always plenty of t-shirts around!

Reply
marty

There are tutorials on YOU TUBE that show how to make it one continuous strip.

Reply
create Shirts

Asking questions are genuinely pleasant thing if you are not understanding anything fully, however this post gives nice understanding yet.

Reply
make your own t shirts

I like the helpful info you supply in your articles. I’ll bookmark your
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Reply
Jo-Ann Thornton

i have a queen size sheet made from t shirt fabric that I would like to use for yarn. Any tips on how to tackle it as it is much larger than your average t shirt.

Reply
Sharon Durant

ooo I like this idea!! using a tshirt fabric sheet!

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Sharon Durant

Could you suggest the approximate yardage one could expect from a large men’s tshirt when cut in 3/4″ strips?

Reply
tshirt making

It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful information with us.
Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

Reply
Vickie

The process can be done with plastic bags. You can then make reusable bags for shopping of many different sizes.

Reply
Becci

I’ve recently started making yarn from fabric for bulky bed blankets and lap blankets. You have to use a fabric that doesn’t fray. A polyester that is that’s the same on both sides works well. I had velveteen for old projects. I sewed strips and surged them together wrong sides together. I have an hand made pair of knitting needles, probably size 75. The end result is very cool. It helped me get my stash of fabric down, as I don’t see much anymore, and prevented me from investing in bulky yarn. I’m not into arm knitting, but I do like the look of the giant stitch. I bought the big needles at a local knit Shop intending on doing a piece of wall art for my knitting room, and they came in handy for these fabric yarn projects.

Reply
Lee

Hooray! I just finished my first ball of tarn! Thanks for this tutorial.

Reply

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