Thursday, 4 August 2016

How to make continous t-shirt yarn - Tutorial

After my posting about knitting with t-shirt yarn last week, a few people asked me how I make yarn from t-shirts, so I thought I'd post a short tutorial. It's really simple!

First of all, obviously, get a t-shirt - one without side seams, so you will get yarn without seams. Old, well-washed shirts work best, so raid the closet or visit the thrift shop. Avoid shirts with large prints as the printed area usually does not curl up well (the print on the shirt in the photo below had almost disappeared and did not pose any problems). Also, make sure the shirts are made from single-knit jersey, as this fabric stretches easily and will curl when it is cut. Double-knit or interlock jersey will not curl, so will not yield the typical t-shirt yarn. (Ask me how I know)

Next, trim off the bottom hem and the top part of the shirt from armpit to armpit. To do this, I fold the shirt in half as shown in the photo below, leaving about 2'' (5 cm) uncovered:

... and, being a quilter, use my rotary cutter and ruler to cut off these parts. Of course you could also use a pair of fabric scissors.

Discard the bottom hem and the top part of the shirt. You now have a seamless tube of fabric with one side folded towards the other. Make sure you leave about 2'' (5 cm) uncovered. Cut the tube into strips that are 1-1.5'' (2.5 - 4 cm) wide, but stop cutting about 1'' (2.5 cm) before the end (where I have added the dotted line):

Now you need to unfold the tube and cut diagonally from one strip to the next to make continuous yarn. To do this, I find it easiest to hang the tube over one arm:

... and cut across as indicated in the photo below:

Cut the first strip to the edge of the tube to make the beginning of the yarn:

Let this strip drop and cut the next strip to the first one at the back, as shown below:

Continue like this until you have cut all strips

Now stretch the yarn to make it curl up:

... and roll it into a ball, ready to use for knitting, crochet or braiding. This medium-sized men's shirt yielded almost 20 yards (18m) of yarn!

Questions? I'm happy to help! Leave a comment (but don't forget to enter your email address so I can reply - it won't be visible to others) or shoot me an email at

1 comment:

Robbie said...

Cool!!! Thanks for the tutorial!!!!