Interweave Yarn Hacks: DIY T-Shirt Yarn

Jersey yarn is a lot of fun! The material is perfect for sturdy projects that need strength to hold up to wear and tear. It’s not a super common yarn though, and it can’t be found at every LYS. Fortunately you can make your own to knit or crochet, using T-shirts and a pretty simple process.

Upcycling old T-shirts you don’t wear anymore is a great option for this project. Getting different shirt colors and prints in the mix can help you create a unique piece with a one-of-a-kind colorway. If you don’t have old T-shirts you are okay with cutting up, you can get inexpensive plain cotton tees, like the one in the video, in a plethora of colors at most craft shops. All the sizes are usually the same price, so you get the most bang for your buck when you buy the biggest one you can find. This particular shirt from Michaels was about $4.

Let’s Break It Down

To make T-shirt yarn, first fold the shirt in half lengthwise, maneuvering it to leave about an inch exposed on the bottom layer edge. Using strong scissors, fabric scissors if you have them, cut off the bottom hem. Next, cut from the folded edge to the open edge, only don’t cut completely through the bottom layer. (You will be cutting totally through the top layer, but you want to leave that extra inch on the bottom intact so you get a continuous string of fiber.) Keep cutting in this way across the entire body of the T-shirt, until you get to the neck, and just cut off the whole top part of the shirt—you don’t need it.

Next, open the shirt so you can see the joins where you left that bottom layer intact. Cut these strips diagonally, from the first strip on the left to the next one up on the right. This allows the yarn to be one long piece. Make these diagonal cuts between strips all the way up. Then, starting at one end, stretch the yarn! This curls the edges of the fabric and creates a nice round string to work with, versus the flat fabric you had pre-stretching. Wind it all up into a ball and you’re ready to knit or crochet with some chunky needles or a fat hook! Make a basket, a bag, or a funky open lacework tank top—get creative with it!

What would you make with your DIY T-shirt yarn?

Happy hacking,


Try Projects with T-Shirt Yarn


One Comment

  1. Morgana C at 4:43 pm July 13, 2017

    some people would like to see this in normal speed especially since it is hard to see details when you can see the hands or the scissors but not the fabric being cut. TOO FAST!!!!! The instructions weren’t clear enough to dispense with the video so the video can’t be at superman speed. Or better yet, make it so that people who need snail speed can select that while speed demons can choose that.

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