Monday, July 9, 2012

For my next trick...T-shirt Yarn

You may have seen this around, but too bad, I'm making my own tutorial.  In case you haven't heard of T-shirt yarn, you're probably thinking, huh?  Here's the basics:

homemade T-shirt yarn



  • You take an old T-shirt
  • Cut it in a certain way
  • Makes one continuous long piece of T-shirt material
  • When stretched, it becomes a cord
  • Easy and fun, t-shirt yarn can be knit, crocheted, woven, knotted, and whatever your little mind can devise.
I also recently learned to tie decorative knots, my favorite being the Cobra knot (or Solomon Bar or Portuguese Sinnet).  See my post on how to tie this easy knot - coming soon.  So I've been knotting T-shirt yarn around everything in sight.

cobra knot

What you'll need:


1. Lay your T-shirt out.

2. Cut the top half and the bottom seam off.  I like to save the top half for a quilt I'll one day make of all my old T-shirts, and the bottom seam is good for a knot tying cord.


how to make T-shirt yarn

3.  With your remaining torso section, fold your fabric over twice toward one of the existing side folds leaving about an inch or so at the top.

how to make T-shirt yarn
 Top View

homemade T-shirt yarn
 Side View - It should be 6 layers thick

4. With a rotary cutter on a mat, or with scissors, cut all layers up to the 1 inch mark.  

homemade T-shirt yarn

The top two layers will be cut all the way up leaving the bottom layer inch at the end intact.

homemade T-shirt yarn

5.  Continue cutting down the line.  Each section is about an inch wide.  When you're more familiar with how it comes out, you can change this to suit your needs.

homemade T-shirt yarn

The rotary cutter was a little hard to use through all the thicknesses.  My hefty scissors did the job though.  You don't have to fold it twice, it's just faster that way.  In case your scissors are not up to the task, just lay it flat and leave the inch on the end in tact.

homemade T-shirt yarn

You can pre-measure your strips, or just eyeball it, it's T-shirt yarn after all.

6.  Here's where it gets a little tricky.  This is also how you make it one continuous piece. Especially for your first time, and even after that.  Mark, with your trusty washable fabric marker, a diagonal line from the top of one slit to the bottom of the next slit over.

homemade T-shirt yarn

7.  Cut along those marked lines.

homemade T-shirt yarn

8.  Your T-shirt will now be in one continuous strip.  I forgot to take a picture, but the next step is to stretch out your strip.

9.  Go outside or to a well ventilated area you don't mind getting messy.  Before you stretch it, your strip will give off lots of little lint pieces which get everywhere including your nose.  It's best to stand outside in the wind and stretch it.

10.  Make a ball out of your new T-shirt yarn (see my  How to Roll a Ball of Yarn post)

T-shirt yarn - It's addictive!


T-shirt yarn

I give it 5 buttons up
5 buttons up

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