T-shirt Yarn Tutorial

T-shirt Yarn Tutorial
Free Upcycle Idea - T-shirt Yarn
Designed by
All Rights Reserved

Step 1: Your Supplies

Upcycle Your Old T-shirts into Yarn!

Creating t-shirt yarn is an inexpensive and efficient way to recycle all those old t-shirts jammed into a drawer or corner of the closet.  What else were you planning to do with them?  (Besides dust the furniture?)

An easy way to upcycle [recycle] clothing cluttering up your closets, your t-shirt yarn can be repurposed for various home accent pieces and other handy homemade projects, including items like: baskets, rugs, bath mats, coasters, bags and totes.

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: t-shirt, scissors or rotary cutter and mat, ruler or rotary grid



Step 2: Getting Started

1. Prep Your T-shirt

Select a t-shirt which doesn’t have side seams will create the smoothest yarn.  Avoid using t-shirts with large logos on the front, unless you just really like the color scheme.  (Logo’d t-shirt material typically doesn’t roll up on the edges well, but may be used to create projects if you don’t mind the color or working with stiff material.)


Choose the t-shirt you want to use.  Old, clean t-shirts work best.  You will need a sharp pair of scissors.  (A rotary cutter and mat work well if you own them.)  Lay your t-shirt out flat.  Trim off the bottom fold/seam and trim off the top under the arm holes (or at the bottom of a logo if you don’t want the logo colors to show).  You should now have a continuous piece of fabric or “tube.”


Step 3: The Next Step

2. Cut Your T-shirt

There are several different ways to cut a shirt to make t-shirt yarn.  However, I have found this one to be the quickest.  Leave your t-shirt lying flat after trimming the bottom seam and top portion, closed edges and open edges opposite of each other (a “tube” shape).  (See the photo.)

Cut you t-shirt into strips, a width of your choice, typically one inch wide.  You can cut them slightly more narrow or wider if you prefer.  (Cutting the strips any narrower than a half inch may cause the yarn to be unstable or unravel.)

*The Secret:  Do not cut all the way across the t-shirt.  Instead, leave about one inch at the top uncut, along the closed edge.  (See photo.)  You now have a fringed looking piece of material.


Step 4: Almost Done!

3. Begin Your T-shirt Yarn

Creating your t-shirt yarn requires a few more cuts.  An easy way to make the necessary cuts is to take the fringed piece and drape it over your arm, bottle or rolling pin.  Or simply lay it open flat on a hard surface/cutting mat.  Make a diagonal cut from the right side of the first slit to the right side of the second slit.  (See photo.)


Once started, continue making diagonal cuts across to the end.  Now, go back to the beginning and make one small cut to open the end circle.  (It’s less confusing this way.)  You now have one continuous piece of t-shirt yarn, like the photo.


Step 5: Finishing Up

4. Roll Your T-shirt Yarn

If you happen to make a wrong cut during the process that’s totally okay!  The yarn is still good in various lengths.  You’ll simply have to join it during a project or while rolling. You are ready to roll up your t-shirt yarn for storage and use, similar to any other yarn. 

Before you start, you may want to “help” the yarn roll along the edges by taking it up in sections (pulled between your hands) and gently tugging.  It’s okay if your yarn doesn’t look perfect.  Your project created from it will be!



About The Author

Tia Davis is a writer, wife and mother, living happily ever after with her handsome prince and two charming boys in Western Idaho. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Creative Writing and works from home as a content manager. When she isn't chasing little boys she is blogging about them at Mistress of Madness & Mayhem.