T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial

posted in: DIY, Posts by Alex, The Hump Day How-To | 3
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T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

Sometimes ideas for saving money can get a little crazy, and when it comes to old clothes, I’m a bit of a hoarder. I save old jeans with holes in the crotch, t-shirts with pit stains, and anything with accidental bleach spots — all with the hope that I can one day repurpose them. Here’s my collection of worn out t-shirts from the last couple years:

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

So far, all I’ve done is cut some shirts into cleaning rags which is the least creative use possible. I kept seeing cute projects made with t-shirt yarn or “tarn,” so I wanted to make my own and put those dingy old shirts to good use! This week’s Hump Day How-To is for the tutorial for making your own t-shirt yarn (so easy!), but be sure to come back next week and see what I made with my tarn!

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

Supplies:
Old t-shirts (without side seams)
Scissors

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

Lay your t-shirt flat on the ground or a table. Using your scissors, cut off the bottom hem and cut a straight line from armpit to armpit. You should now have a tube. Since I’m a fabric hoarder I saved the top part and the hem, but it’s totally not necessary.

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

Arrange your t-shirt tube so the cut ends are on the sides. Fold the bottom of the tube up, leaving about a 1 inch margin.

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

Begin cutting 1 inch strips from the fabric. You will cut through the folded over part, but leave space at the top edge. All of your strips should still be connected.

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

You can open it up when you’re done cutting your strips.

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

This step is really important because it’s what will give you a continuous strand of t-shirt yarn. Open the tube up at the center (the part where a thick piece of fabric connects all of your strips) and cut on the diagonal, connecting every other cut line. Hopefully this high quality drawing I made in MS Paint will help make it more clear (cut along the red lines):

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

Sidebar: If you want to see some more fantastic MS Paint diagrams (who wouldn’t?!), check out my Pillowcase Apron Tutorial!

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

Now you should have one long, continuous strip of t-shirt fabric.

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

To make it more round and yarn-like, go through the whole strand and pull each section. This will roll up the edges.

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

You’ll still have a big long strand, so just roll it up into a ball to keep it from tangling itself.

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

If you’re making a small project, you’re done! But what if you want to make a big ball of one color tarn? Or if you want to connect the yarn for bigger projects? Keep reading!

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

When you want to join two strands of t-shirt yarn, take the ends that will be connecting and fold over about an inch on each one.

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

Cut a small slit at the center of the fold.

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

The edges you want to join should each have a slit.

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

Thread one of the ends through the slit on the other. If one of your strands is rolled into a ball or part of a project already (strand 1), you’ll want to use thread the other strand through it (we’ll call this strand 2).

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

Thread the opposite end of strand 2 through the slit on strand 2. This will essentially make a large loop.

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

Gently pull strand 2 all the way through the slit, being careful not to rip the fabric more.

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

Pull it tight and you’ll have a teeny knot joining your two strands. Perfect!

T-Shirt Yarn Tutorial | Thrifty Below

Come back next week to see what I make with my t-shirt yarn! Have you ever made tarn before? What did you use it for? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 Responses

  1. […] the colors of my scarf.  You need to start by making the shirts into yarn.  You can do this using Alex’s T-shirt Yarn Tutorial. I cut up about three black shirts and four gray ones.  I didn’t worry about connecting them […]

  2. love this tutorial and the ms paint drawing! it’s the best i’ve seen on making t-shirt yarn. i was wondering if you could tell me which way the yarn curls when you pull it? it curls so the inside of the shirt is on the inside of the yarn, correct? i was wondering if turning the t-shirt inside out first would affect this, or whether the fabric curls the same way no matter what? sorry for the strange question- thought you might be able to answer it though. this is such a great, in-depth tutorial! thank you for sharing :)

    • Thank you so much, Hannah! I’ve only tried making t-shirt yarn with the shirt right-side-out, so I’m not sure if the yarn would curl the opposite direction if you began with the shirt inside-out. If you try it, you’ll have to come back and let me know the result! So sorry I can’t be more helpful!

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