Easy T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial

Easy T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial

After decluttering my closet, I had a lot of t-shirts that weren’t really worthy of sending to a thrift store. I considered making rags out of them, but I have enough cleaning rags. Instead, I decided on t-shirt yarn! You can make a myriad of things with t-shirt yarn and I have an addiction to crochet, so it is the perfect choice. My heart is set on making a t-shirt yarn rug, like the ones my grandma had scattered around her house. She braided and sewed her rugs together but I am going to attempt to crochet mine. They will give my house the homey and crafty feel that my grandma’s house had when I visited.

You can buy t-shirt yarn at Michaels but there is no need. T-shirt yarn is ridiculously easy to make. I also love that this is a way to reduce waste- Re-using is my fave. Even if you don’t have any t-shirts hanging around, you can go to a thrift store and get some plain XXL t-shirts on the cheap. Choose wisely! Cotton and plain is the best choice. Anything with a logo or too much spandex will not stretch right and will fall apart when you try to use it.

Let me show you:

  1.  First, grab a t-shirt. I picked one that had a little bit of paint on it, knowing that, if it shows up in the rug, it will add a splash of character. You can pick any shirt you won’t wear again. 
  2. Next, mentally or physically mark just underneath the sleeves and just above the bottom seam. You can iron the t-shirt first if the shirt won’t lay flat enough for the seams to match up. This shirt had a pocket, so I made the marks just below it. You will want to do the same if your shirt has a pocket or small iron-on logo on the front. 
  3. Cut along the lines. 
  4. Now you are left with a middle, top and bottom. Keep the middle where it is and set aside the cut apart top and bottom of the shirt. 
  5. The middle of the shirt now needs to be folded up. Open parts will be at the sides, while the closed seams of the shirt will be at the top and the bottom. Fold the shirt up, leaving about an inch at  the top. 
  6. Now, we get ready to cut! I like my yarn to be a bit thin, so I cut strips 1 inch thick, although you could cut as thick as 2 inches if you like. You can estimate or mark where you will cut. 
  7. Time to cut the yarn! Try to be as straight as possible. Cut from the bottom at every inch, up past that first folded seam and into that one inch space but NOT ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP. Just cut over that first fold and leave that inch of space nearly untouched. 
  8. Unfold the fabric to expose the “beam” of fabric in the middle. This is where we complete our strips. Cutting diagonally, we will create a continuous string of yarn. The first cut will be from the first slit to off of the edge to create the yarn end. The strips after that will be cut diagonally across to continue the yarn. Be careful to straighten out the strips as you go so you aren’t accidentally cutting pieces underneath.

    This is why you left the space at the top untouched, to create this solid “beam” of fabric.

    Cut across to create the yarn end.




    Then cut diagonally from the bottom slit to the top slit to create a continuous strip.

    9. Once we have made all of the cuts, we have to make the mismatched strips of t-shirt into an even strip of yarn. We do this by starting at the end and pulling it through our fingers tightly, until we reach the end. 

    10. Wrap it up and -Voila!- you’re done! See how easy that was?? And it’s good stress relief to pull all those t-shirts and make yarn out of them. Easy T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial on the Babbling Panda Blog

Now that you have your yarn…well, now what??

There are a million tutorials and patterns on the web nowadays so all you have to do is a quick search. Ravelry is my favourite pattern website, especially for this sort of thing, but you can search anywhere. I promise to post my rug tutorial once I am finished. In the meantime, check out these cute patterns that I have found:

Have fun! I will have some patterns up once I am done making some things with my t-shirt yarn. First on my list? A GIANT crocheted rag rug!! I’m excited to get started.

Let me know if you have any success making the yarn or try any of the other blogger’s patterns! 

Remember the top part of the shirt (with the sleeves) that we cut off? Any ideas? I was thinking mini pillows or sewn doll dresses, baby blankets or rags. What are your ideas?? Let me know in the comments section. <3

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  • Isabel February 1, 2017 at 11:22

    oh my gosh I just donated so many shirts I could’ve done this with!! Darn. I think my husband has a lot of old shirts I could use for this though! I also love the idea of a tshirt yarn rug. So cool! Thanks for the tutorial!

    • Tianna Wynne February 16, 2017 at 11:31

      You should do it! t-shirt yarn is soooo strong….people make so many durable things with it.

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  • Diane Pretorius July 2, 2018 at 17:45

    Hi there
    I have bought tshirting yarn that is quite firm and about one inch wide. It is rolled up on both edges and very thick and difficult to crochet. My arms and hands are aching. Is there a way to cut these strips in half sort of evenly so the fabri doesn’t break when I’m using it. The balls are huge 500 grams each. I want to make a table runner for the centre of a very long table that seats ten.
    Your advice would be much appreciated.
    Best regards

    • Tianna Wynne July 2, 2018 at 18:19

      I’ve never bought pre-made t-shirt yarn, but I imagine it is. I find that with my own homemade t-shirt yarn, I try to make it quite thin OR use an extra big hook. I still find I can only do ten minutes at a time before my hands want to stop. It’s just very hard to use- the end result is super durable and will last forever, but is it worth it? I think the store-bought stuff would be easier to use with a cutting and it would be worth a try! PLEASE let me know if you’re successful. I’m so curious. I’m so sorry I couldn’t be more help.


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