Since I found out how easy it really is to make t-shirt yarn, I've been keeping an eye out for t-shirts at the flea markets. I scored some for 50 cents recently, and had a chance to get them made into yarn today. I decided to share the steps with you! This is not an original tutorial by far, in fact numerous t-shirt yarn tutorials exist online, but I thought I'd give you my take on it!
You'll need old t-shirts and fabric scissors. The t-shirts need to be the kind without side seams, where the body of the shirt is made from a tube. That's how you can get a continuous strip of yarn. You should also avoid t-shirts that have text or a pattern on the front or back area below the sleeves. It depends on what you want to use the yarn for though.
Ready? Let's go!
Spread your t-shirt out on your cutting surface - a table or even the floor - and smooth it out so there are as few wrinkles or parts of the fabric bunching up as possible. In other words, not like shown in this photo. Also make sure that the hemline is lined up properly, front and back. Again, this photo shows you how NOT to do that :)
Cut the hem off
Cut across the body of the shirt as close as possible to the sleeves
Now grab one edge and fold it over to the other, leaving about one inch of space between them, like so. In the photo above I folded the edge closest to us in the photo over to the furthest edge.
Get your scissors and starting at the fold closest to us in the photo, cut strips at least one inch apart. Stop cutting just as you cut through the edge at the top, leaving that inch border uncut. (Note: in the photo below I turned the fabric 90 degrees before starting to cut).
Now unfold and loosen up the strips
Time to make it into one looooong strip! Cut as shown along the uncut portion in the middle
Start at the edge and cut diagonally from the outside at the right (next to my thumb), to the first split at the left. Then from the next split on the right, to the second split on the left all the way through to the end. These are all separate cuts, not one long cut. I promise you when you're actually doing this it will make sense. This part is why it took me so long to even try this, because I couldn't visualise how this bit worked. So go ahead, cut!
You'll end up with a long strip of t-shirt fabric
To make it into yarn, all you have to do is pull that strip, and the knit fabric will just curl itself up!
Pull along the entire length, then roll into a ball.
One men's Size L t-shirt gives me about 20 yards of yarn. Two balls are enough to make a small basket like the one on the right below.
I also filmed myself doing this, and as soon as I can get my brain to wrap around video editing, I'll post a short video. Emphasis on short; it took me longer to write this blog post than it did to make the yarn. With practice, you can get one ball done in under five minutes!
Update: I finished the video! See it here.
Next week I'll share how to make a crochet basket with this yarn. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!