Making T-Shirt Yarn

How to Make T-Shirt Yarn for Your Crafting Needs

How to make t-shirt yarn – Welcome to the colorful and eco-friendly world of t-shirt yarn! This versatile material, crafted from the humblest of beginnings—old t-shirts—has risen in popularity due to its sustainability and the creative burst it offers to crafters. T-shirt yarn is not just a fantastic way to recycle and repurpose, but it also opens up a world of crafting possibilities that are both fun and environmentally beneficial.

What is T-Shirt Yarn?

T-shirt yarn, also known as t-shirt yarns or yarn from t-shirts, is a type of bulky yarn made by cutting and stretching the fabric of old t-shirts. It’s an innovative way to recycle worn-out or unused t-shirts that might otherwise end up in landfills. Due to its thickness and elasticity, t-shirt yarn is particularly suitable for a wide range of t-shirt yarn projects, including t-shirt yarn crochet, knitting, and weaving. This type of yarn is perfect for crafting durable and aesthetically appealing items like rugs, baskets, bags, and accessories. The benefits of using t-shirt yarn are numerous, from reducing textile waste to creating heavy-duty items that are soft yet sturdy.

Materials Needed

To begin your journey into the world of t-shirt yarn projects, you’ll need the following:

  • Old t-shirts: Choose ones without side seams for the best yield. The fabric should be stretchy, preferably cotton or a mostly cotton blend.
  • Scissors or a rotary cutter: For clean and efficient cutting of the fabric.
  • Cutting mat: Protects your surfaces and helps ensure straight cuts.

Tips on selecting the right t-shirts for making t-shirt yarns:

  1. Fabric Content: 100% cotton or high-cotton blends are ideal as they offer the best stretch and roll when cut into yarn.
  2. Condition: T-shirts should be clean and ideally free from prints, embellishments, or heavy seams, as these can interrupt the yarn’s continuity.
  3. Color and Pattern: Think about the color scheme of your project; solid colors work well for most projects, while patterned t-shirts can add interesting visual detail to your creations.

By gathering the right materials and selecting suitable t-shirts, you’re well on your way to discovering the joys of crafting with t-shirt yarn—embracing sustainability without sacrificing creativity and functionality. Whether you’re a seasoned crafter or a curious beginner, the world of t-shirt yarn crochet and other crafts awaits with endless possibilities and the satisfaction of making an eco-conscious choice.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making T-Shirt Yarn

Creating your own t-shirt yarn is a rewarding process that’s both simple and sustainable. Here’s how you can turn your old t-shirts into versatile yarn for all sorts of craft projects.

Preparing the T-Shirt

Selecting Your T-Shirt:

Begin by selecting the right t-shirts for your yarn. Look for t-shirts without side seams, as they yield the most continuous strip of fabric. The best t-shirts are those made from 100% cotton or a high-cotton blend, as they provide the required stretch. Avoid t-shirts with heavy printing, as the inked areas won’t stretch well.


  1. Lay your t-shirt flat on a cutting surface.
  2. Cut off the hem of the t-shirt and discard it.
  3. Cut across the t-shirt just below the armholes to remove the top portion, leaving a rectangular tube of fabric.

Cutting the T-Shirt

The Cutting Process:

  1. Lay the tube flat, with one of the open sides facing you.
  2. Starting on the side closest to you, begin cutting the tube horizontally into strips. Do not cut all the way through; leave about an inch uncut at the far edge. This keeps the tube intact on one side.
  3. Once you have cut across, open the tube and lay it out with the uncut portion in the middle.
  4. Cut diagonally from the bottom of each slit to the top of the next slit, all the way across. This creates one continuous strip of fabric.

Width Recommendations:

  • For thicker, chunkier yarn, cut the strips about 1-1.5 inches wide.
  • For a finer yarn, aim for strips about 0.75-1 inch wide.
    Adjust the width based on the specific needs of your t-shirt yarn projects.

Stretching the Strips

Creating Yarn:

  1. Take the start of your continuous strip and begin to gently stretch it. As you stretch, the fabric will naturally curl in on itself, forming the “yarn.”
  2. Work your way through the entire strip, ensuring that it’s evenly stretched for a uniform look.

Finishing Touches:

  • Connecting Strips: If you need more yarn, you can connect another strip by making a small slit at each end of the strips to be joined, threading one end through the other, and pulling gently to secure.
  • Rolling Your T-Shirt Yarn into a Ball: Wind the stretchy yarn into a ball as you would with traditional yarn, keeping the tension even but not too tight.

And there you have it – your very own t-shirt yarn, ready to be turned into anything from rugs to baskets, bringing a personal touch and sustainability into your crafting projects.

Tips and Tricks for Working with T-Shirt Yarn

Working with t-shirt yarn can be a fulfilling endeavor, transforming discarded tees into cherished items. Here’s how to ensure your journey is as smooth as possible.

Choosing the Right Crochet Hook or Knitting Needles

  • Size Matters: Due to its bulkiness, t-shirt yarn works best with larger crochet hooks and knitting needles. A good starting point is to use a hook or needles sized 8mm to 12mm. The exact size might vary based on the thickness of your yarn and the desired tightness of your stitches.
  • Material Consideration: Wood or bamboo needles and hooks can provide grip and make handling the thick yarn easier, reducing the chance of the yarn slipping compared to metal tools.

Best Practices for Maintaining Tension and Achieving Even Stitches

  • Consistent Tension: T-shirt yarn has more stretch compared to traditional yarn. It’s important to keep a consistent tension; not too tight, as it might be challenging to insert your hook or needles for the next stitch, and not too loose, or your project may lack structure.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Before starting on a project, practice with a small swatch to find a comfortable tension and get accustomed to the feel of t-shirt yarn.
  • Handling Joins: If you need to join new yarn or connect strips, try to do so at the end of a row or in inconspicuous spots to maintain a neat appearance.


T-shirt yarn is a versatile and eco-friendly material that opens up a plethora of crafting possibilities. It allows crafters to repurpose old materials into something new and beautiful, contributing to sustainability in a creative way. Whether you’re a seasoned crafter or just beginning, t-shirt yarn can add a unique texture and look to your projects that traditional yarns simply cannot match.

The journey of working with t-shirt yarn is as rewarding as the final product. With the right tools and a bit of practice, you can achieve stunning results, from home decor to accessories. Remember, the key to success is experimentation and allowing yourself the freedom to explore different techniques and applications.

Encouragement to Explore and Experiment with T-Shirt Yarn in Various Projects

I encourage you to dive into the world of t-shirt yarn crafting. Experiment with different thicknesses, try out various crochet or knitting stitch patterns, and explore projects beyond the conventional. The beauty of working with t-shirt yarn lies in its simplicity and the personal touch it adds to every piece. Embrace the imperfections, learn from each challenge, and most importantly, enjoy the process of creating something by hand that’s both beautiful and environmentally conscious. Happy crafting!

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