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How to Make T-Shirt Yarn using the Whole Shirt!

We were quite keen to try our hand at working with t-shirt yarn. Although we found a few great tutorials on how to make your own t shirt yarn online, most only used the main torso part of the t-shirt. Below we describe how we cut up and use almost the whole t shirt to make the yarn.

Make your own t-shirt yarn using the whole shirt! Check out the detailed pictorial to use up an entire t-shirt including the sleeves. SUSTAIN MY CRAFT HABIT

Tips for How to Make T Shirt Yarn

Before starting, here are a few tips for selecting the t-shirt:

  • try and use the largest t-shirts you can find as you’ll obviously get the most yarn out of them;
  • pick t-shirts that don’t have seams along the sides if possible (but not necessary);
  • t-shirts that are made from heavier cotton make a nicer yarn than thinner cotton.

Materials for DIY T-Shirt Yarn

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Other than the t-shirt at minimum you’ll need a good pair of scissors* for cutting fabric. It can be surprisingly difficult to cut through the layers of the shirt if you don’t have a good pair of scissors. Alternatively, you could use a utility knife or a rotary fabric cutter* with the help of a metal ruler. Finally, a good quality seam ripper* is helpful in taking apart the seams if you choose to do so.


Steps to make your own t-shirt yarn using the whole shirt:

Steps to make your own t-shirt yarn using the whole shirt. Video tutorial included.

You can see in the left image below that the yarn made from the main torso part of the shirt (right side) doesn’t have the bumps that the yarn made from the sleeve and upper torso parts does (left side). However, these bumps can be hidden into the piece as you work, and/or trimmed a bit if needed. In the end though, you end up with almost two times the t-shirt yarn to work with!

UPDATE: We’ve recently created a video of how to make the tshirt yarn with the whole shirt! We’d love for you to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more DIY tutorials.

When you’re done, you will have at minimum about 6 pieces of yarn of various sizes. There are several options for joining the ends together including hand-stitching, or cutting slits. Mainly for speed, we prefer a double knot as shown. Just make sure the tails end on opposite, rather than the same sides.

We’d love for you to join us in creativity! Join our Craft Habit Social where we can craft and share together.

Do you have any other tips for making your own t-shirt yarn?

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Earth Day Projects-Knit and Crochet Projects from Recycled Materials - Marly Bird

Sunday 18th of April 2021

[…] will follow the steps that you did to make plarn. I found a really great photo tutorial of how to make your own t-shirt yarn if you want to get […]

Ann harper

Tuesday 7th of April 2020

Great ideas! I am of a knitter or crochet perzon. I do use the yarn to braid yarn for rugs and headbands.Your left over scraps can be used for stuffing other craft projects like stuffed animals , pincusions, pumpkins, etc. Not as nice as guerrilla but cheap and good for earth.

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Sunday 1st of March 2020

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Saturday 15th of February 2020

I tried this with a tie dyed t shirt. But the yarn turned in on itself and all you could see was the inside in stead of the bright tie dyed colors. Any suggestions for showing the right side of the yarn?

Jane and Sonja

Thursday 20th of February 2020

That is a good point, Joanne. Because of the nature of jersey knit, the edges will curl inward on the "knit" side vs the "purl" side. For this reason it is best to use yarn dyed t-shirts. Is the tie-dye not visible on the reverse side of the tshirt? ...I'll have to take a look at some of my daughter's tie-dyed shirts!

Beverly York

Thursday 31st of October 2019

I can't wait to try this. I have so many tee shirts that are no longer wearable..

I do have another question..I have several pair of flees lined leggings that again are no longer wearable. can I make yarn out of them and if so how would I do it?

Sincerely Beverly

Jane and Sonja

Friday 1st of November 2019

Hi Beverly, We're so happy you like this tutorial. It does open up all new crafting possibilities! We haven't tried the fleece lined leggings and my instinct is that they wouldn't curl up to make the yarn like the knit cotton does. However, maybe give one a try- just don't cut along the "grain" of the fabric, but rather perpendicular. Does that make sense? Let us know how it goes! Jane

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