How to: T-Shirt Yarn

Jun 12, 2020 | Tutorial, Upcycling

Tshirt yarn is really easy to make and it means those old holey t-shirts that don’t belong in the charity bin can find a new life.

Cut up t-shirts make great cleaning cloths but the cloth from t-shirts can also be repurposed into many things if it is made into yarn. I’m not much of a knitter or crocheter but I can do the basics and that is enough to make a few things for around the house such as knitted dish scrubbers. Here’s how to make t-shirt yarn.

T-shirt Yarn

Equipment and Materials

  • old t-shirts
  • sharp scissors
T-Shirt Yarn Materials and Equipment


1. Lay the shirt out flat on your cutting surface with the side seams straight. Hold the shirt at the underarms and tug and shake it straight.

2. Trim off and discard (100% cotton can be composted) the bottom hem. I didn’t do this when I took these photos but discarded it later because the thick pieces don’t work well in the yarn.

3. Make cuts from the bottom of the shirt, about 10-15mm apart, from one side seam straight across the shirt to about 2 cm from the other side seam. Do this until you reach the underarms of the shirt. Cut right across at this point to detach the soon-to-be yarn from the top and sleeves of the t-shirt.

T-Shirt Yarn Step 1

If there are holes in the t-shirt, it doesn’t matter. It just means you’ll have some shorter strands, rather than one long continuous piece. Just work around the holes or use just the pieces of the t-shirt above and below the holes.

T-Shirt Yarn Step 2

4. Flatten out the side seam that you did not cut through and now continue the cuts diagonally across the seam to connect with the cut above. This will give you a continuous strip of t-shirt to create your t-shirt yarn.

T-Shirt Yarn Step 3

5. Find the end of the yarn and roll it into a ball. You’ll probably want to secure the ball with an elastic band to stop it unraveling before you use it.

T-Shirt Yarn Step 4

And, ta-da! Now you have yarn to knit or crochet into pet toys, rugs, baskets, bags – even jewellery! Try it out with my instructions for a knitted dish scrubber.

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How to make T-shirt yarn pinterest image