How to Make T-Shirt Yarn


I love t-shirts.


In my opinion, the older and more worn in, the better. But even I will admit that there comes a day when a t-shirt must retire from service. (We don’t need dozens of I’m-not-going-to-be-around-other-humans-this-weekend shirts filling up our closets. At least, I don’t.)

But when that time comes for a favorite t-shirt, it can be hard to let go. The material is too soft, the color is too perfect, there are too many memories of fun things done while wearing it…


My solution? Turn it into t-shirt yarn!


Because yarn makes everything better. 😉


What you’ll need:

  • T-shirts
  • Scissors
  • Rotary cutter and mat (Optional – I just had such a backlog of t-shirts to cut up that I borrowed one to save my scissor hand!)


Lay the shirt flat so that the front and back line up.


Cut off the bottom hem.

Cut across below the sleeves so that you have a big tube.


Cut across that tube in 1.5-2 inch strips, stopping a couple of inches from one edge.


Open the uncut edge so that it’s lying flat. Cut diagonally from one slice to the next. This will create one long spiral of fabric. Roll your new yarn into a ball.


If your shirt has long enough sleeves, follow the same process to create a spiral up the sleeve.


*Note* I personally don’t mind having seams in my yarn. If this bothers you, don’t use the sleeves, or you could try cutting them in vertical strips instead. I also don’t hold too firmly to what kind of fabric the shirt is. As you can see, the shirt in the pictures is a waffle-knit material, and I also have some really old sweatshirts in my pile to cut up. My theory is, if it’s soft and stretchy, it’ll do just fine.


To attach strips together, cut a small slit at the end of each strip, about ½ inch in from the end.


Pull the end of strip #2 through the slit of strip #1, just a couple of inches.


Then take the other end of strip #2 and pull it through the slit at the first end of strip #2.



Pull the two strips so that the knot is snug.

Repeat as often as necessary.


*Another Note* A t-shirt quilt is also a great way to save old favorites! I promised to make two a long time ago, one of my husband’s old shirts and one of my own. Then, of course, life got busy, and the shirts sat in a garbage bag in our attic and then in my craft closet for years! I’m finally getting around to cutting them up! But I really only need the fronts for the quilts, leaving some material for yarn, even if it takes more creativity to cut it up. Eventually maybe I’ll do a post on the quilt, when I finally get it made…

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