How to make t-shirt yarn

Green Lifestyle online

The perfect use for those t-shirts that have seen better days – making a soft chunky yarn for a huge range of crochet and knitting projects.


Credit: Louise Lister

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This feature is the DIY from the current June/July issue of Green Lifestyle magazine. Click through the pics on the right for step-by-step guidance.

What you’ll need

- Old t-shirts (any except for those with a hard print will work)
- Scissors

How to

1. Lay the t-shirt flat on a table or the ground so that it’s sitting sideways in front of you. Cut directly from beneath one sleeve to the other. You should be left with the bottom rectangle of the shirt, minus the sleeves, chest and neckline. Keep it positioned so that the two side seams are running horizontally. Cut off the bottom hemline.
2. From the seam closest to you, fold shirt in half upwards so that the seams are almost meeting. Leave a one inch margin on bottom part of fold.
3. From the fold nearest you, to the seam of the top part, cut into 1.5-2cm strips. Your cut should go all the way up to the top fold’s seam, but the bottom fold’s seam should have an inch uncut. Keep cutting into strips til you reach the end.
4. Unfold. Lay the uncut margin section of the shirt along your arm of leg. Here you need to cut diagonally from one cut to the next, which will create one long continuous string. From the end of the uncut section, cut diagonally across to the top first cut. Then from the bottom first cut, cut diagonally across to the second top cut. And so on. Once you get to the end you should have one long strip.
5. From one end pull the string between your hands as though you’re trying to stretch it. This will cause it to curl up into itself. Do all the way along, and you have your t-shirt yarn!

Note: This works best with t-shirts that don’t have actual sewn seams – however we had some shirts perfect for the project that had seams and it still works so long as you don’t mind joins – just be careful when you’re stretching it out to not pull too hard near the sewn sections.

Check out the current June/July issue for more great practical tips and useful ideas to stay warm this winter!