After being trapped inside for like three weeks, I started to clean out my closet… but then I got distracted making t-shirt yarn with the old shirts I had in the trash pile. And then I crocheted two color-blocked potholders. Sooo, my closet isn’t clean, but y’all are getting two shiny new posts! That’s a win, right?
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links, you will pay the same prices as always, but You Should Craft will receive a small commission that helps us provide free crochet patterns.
I originally posted a tutorial for how to upcycle shirts to make t-shirt yarn on my old blog (Thrifty Below), back in 2014. Since Thrifty Below is no more, I’m re-posting this t-shirt yarn tutorial with some new pictures.
- Old t-shirts
Note: In a normal world, you could totally buy cheap tees at the thrift store, but the goal of this post is to help you social distance by upcycling shirts you already have. Now go! Look through your drawers and dig out those college bar crawl shirts or those undershirts with the weird armpit stains.
T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial:
Step 1: Lay out your tee and cut off the bottom hem of the shirt.
Step 2: Next, cut straight across the chest, right under the armpit seam. If your t-shirt has weird deodorant stains, cut a little bit below the armpit seam in order to avoid stains in your t-shirt yarn. You should now have a tube.
Step 3: Fold one closed side of the tube (previously the side of the shirt) almost to the other side, but leave a gap of ~ 1 inch. You should have a rectangle, with the open edges on the left and right sides.
Step 4: Begin cutting 1-inch vertical strips in your shirt. You will cut through the closed edge on the top layer, but not the bottom layer.
Step 5: Keep cutting strips, leaving ~1 inch of uncut fabric at the top. The 1-inch strips should still be connected to the t-shirt.
Step 6: Open up your t-shirt tube, which should look a little bit like a ribcage. Begin cutting diagonally across the joined portion, from one strip to the other. This will give you one continuous piece of yarn per t-shirt.
Step 7: Finish off your t-shirt yarn by gently pulling it. This will help to roll in the sides and make it look less like fabric strips and more like yarn. I rolled mine into a ball, but you can store your t-shirt yarn however you choose.
If you’re making yarn for a small project, you’re done! If you’d like to make a large amount of one color of yarn, keep reading to learn how to join your t-shirt yarn.
Joining T-Shirt Yarn:
Note: it’s easier to join a new piece of yarn if it isn’t wound into a ball yet.
First, cut a small slit (~1/2 inch long) in each piece of t-shirt yarn. Push the slit end of the new piece through the slit on the original yarn.
Push the end of the new yarn through the slit in the new yarn. Finally, pull the whole piece of yarn through the slit and pull the knot tight.
That’s it! Super easy, right? Now you can go forth and craft whatever you want! I crocheted two color-blocked potholders with my t-shirt yarn and used it for the straps on my homemade face masks.
Comment on this post or tag me on Instagram (@youshouldcraft) and let me know what you’re making with your new yarn!