I love to wear t-shirts. They are so comfortable that I wear them often. But when they become worn out, I hate to just throw them away. If you are like me and try to use every item to it’s fullest then you’ll love this easy way to transform an old t-shirt into yarn to use in your craft projects.
You can take your old t-shirts and recycle them into yarn for knitting and crocheting projects. It is fairly easy and you can get one good-sized ball of yarn out of each t-shirt. Plus as a bonus, you can cut the top portion of the t-shirt, that can’t be used for yarn, into rags. None of those old t-shirts need to go to waste.
Because I’ve had a few readers ask questions about cutting the t-shirt into yarn, I decided to make a quick video. I know sometimes having written instructions and photos just isn’t enough to get a clear picture of how to do a task.
I’m a visual learner and I understand that sometimes you just need to see how it is done. If you prefer to learn by video, watch this quick, less than 5 minutes, video to see how. If you prefer to learn by reading or photos just scroll on down to see the photo tutorial.
How to turn Your Worn Out T-shirts into a Ball of Yarn
Start by laying your t-shirt out on the floor and smooth it out. Be sure to match up the hem at the end.
Cut the shirt at the armpits from one armpit to the other across the front of the shirt. I keep the upper part of the t-shirt and cut it into 6 rags for cleaning. They work really well for cleaning up spills and messes.
Once the top of the shirt is cut off, you’ll want to cut off the hem on the bottom of the shirt. The hem is thicker than the rest of the material and won’t work very well in a project.
Once the bottom hem is off, you’ll have a tube of fabric in front of you. The next step is to fold one of the uncut sides up so only 1/4 to 1/3 of the underside fabric is showing. See the photo below.
Now it’s time to cut the strips. I cut the fabric in 1 to 1.5 inch wide strips. I usually use my thumb as a guide to gauge the thickness I want. But you can adjust the thickness as needed for different projects.
Cut from the folded side to the other edge but stop short of cutting all the way through. If you cut all the way through you’ll have rings instead of a long continuous strand of yarn. See my photo below.
You’ll want to leave a little strip at the top uncut so the fabric stays together but has strips cut almost to the top.
All of these strips will be held together at the top. Now it’s time to cut them into one continuous strip of fabric, which can be a little tricky. To do this, slide the fabric onto your arm by opening the uncut side and slide your arm inside.
In this photo, you can see how I hold the fabric on my arm to make it easier to cut. When you start to cut you want to cut at an angle. If you cut straight across you will have rings of fabric instead of one continuous piece of yarn.
For the first cut, I cut a narrow cut from the edge of the fabric to one of the first strands or slits. Then just cut from one slit to the other slit across from it at an angle from there on. See photo below. If this step isn’t quite clear, scroll up to the video above and go to 2:30 to get right spot on the video for how to cut the fabric into a continuous length of fabric yarn.
The photo above shows how to cut at an angle. Keep cutting across at an angle until you get all the way to the end and then you will have one continuous strand of t-shirt yarn.
I roll the t-shirt yarn up into a ball for easy storage until I am ready to use it in a project.
I’ve used this yarn to make bath mats and throw rugs. The rugs turn out very soft and like a cushion under your feet.
That is how you can recycle an old t-shirt into yarn. I hope the photo and video tutorial was helpful in showing you how to make yarn for an old t-shirt.
If you have any questions or something isn’t quite clear, just leave me a comment and I will answer any questions.
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