How to Make T-Shirt Yarn


Welcome to Tuesday’s Tips from SewVeryEasy,
my name is Laura. And I’ve just finished making a t-shirt quilt and, as with all sewing projects, it seems that the more we sew, the more leftover fabric we have. And I have a ton of leftover pieces of t-shirt from the t-shirt quilt, so what I’m going to do with it is make t-shirt yarn. And what is t-shirt yarn? Well, it’s just t-shirt fabric cut into long strips, and when it’s stretched, it sort of does this little curl, and you’re able to knit and crochet with this. Let me show you how easy it is to turn a t-shirt into yarn. And what you’re going to need is t-shirts. Now the t‑shirts that any print on them, you won’t be able to actually use this portion because it does not curl properly. No matter how much you stretch it, that paint that’s on the t-shirt will prevent it from curling into a yarn, so you will not be able to use a section that has a print on it. Which is fine, because you can always save this part for the quilt. So to start, you’re going to need a t-shirt. Cut the hem off. You can use a pair of scissors and cut the hem off, or you can take a rotary cutter and just cut all the way along that edge, removing the hem. For this t-shirt, I’m going to be able to use from this print all the way down to the hem. You want to maintain this circular shape that the t-shirt has. What you’re going to do is you need to cut 1″ strips, but you’re not going to cut it right off of the end. Fold the t-shirt so the hem is matching, but don’t fold it all the way to the edge. Leave about 1″ to 2″ along the one edge. So you have one fold here, and another fold along the top. Now you’re going to be able to cut, and you’re going to be able to cut the whole layer together. You can use a slotted ruler. The slotted ruler has these grooves in it. The rotary cutter blade actually fits in these grooves. Now, this one is called Stripology, and it has all different increments in it. This is a great ruler to use because you can follow the 1″ marks. The first thing you’re going to do straighten up your edge and put your first line along that one mark. Pull your ruler down so that you’re not able to come off and cut that edge off. This makes it very convenient because you can’t accidentally cut through that second fold. I’m going to put paper in-between the two layers so you can actually see it, but 𝘺𝘰𝘶 won’t be needing the paper. So when I have the ruler on, I am going to be able to cut through that first layer, but I’m not going to be able to cut off of the shirt. I’m going to put the blade of the rotary cutter into the first 1″ mark and I’m going to cut right up to the end, but that end is not going to allow me to cut right off—and that’s what I want. Then I’m going to be able to go over to the 2″ mark. And you’re going to be able to continue this all the way until you get to that print in the t-shirt. I’m going to be able to just cut that last line right off. I’m going to have all these long strips attached to one side. Then along the edge that you didn’t cut, put your arm through there. Now you’re going to be able to take scissors and cut them, but you need to cut them on an angle, and this is going to make one continuous strip. So you’re not going to continue to cut the lines as you cut. You’re going to take the first one, and cut to the second one. That’s the first; now I’m going to go over to the second and cut. Now the first one, you’re going to just it off on an angle. The rest are going to be easy to do. You’re going to be able to take the one cut, and cut it right to the next cut. So you’re cutting them all on an angle. And when you get near the end, you’re going to be able to cut one strip right into that last, then you won’t have another cut to go into. So you’re just going to take and cut it on a 45° angle. And now what’s happened, is you have made one very long, continuous t-shirt. When you stretch this, it’s going to stretch and go into a little rolled position, and you’re going to be able to stretch it and roll it into a ball. Let me show you how to cut it with just a regular ruler. I’m going to cut off the hem just like I did before, and I’m going to be able to cut this time right up into the armpit. You can use any ruler with 1″ marks. So my first one is going to be a 1″ cut and I’m going to stop so I’m not cutting through. Move the ruler to the 2″ mark and cut. Continue all the way, moving the ruler. And when I’ve come to the armpit, I’m going to cut right off. And there is a way that you can join these. So I have the ending piece, and the front piece, and it’s very easy to knot this. I’m going to join it to this red one. On all of the ends, you need to cut a little slit. So I have this hole on each end. I need to make that hole also in the last t-shirt. Take the one that you just finished, and put it through to the previous one. I’m going to put the t-shirt into that hole, and I’m going to be able to pull all of this right through that hole, and as I pull it through that hole, I’m going to stretch it and curl it as I go along. And when I come to the end, I have made a loop. And as you pull it, the ends are just going to lock together. Now you can continue winding. And the fun part is, I can just keep making a ball. And if you don’t want to make them continuous, you don’t have to. You can just make all these little individual balls and then knot them as you’re knitting or crocheting. I just like the idea of having the really big ball. Now, you do not need to cut that exactly 1″. You can cut that t-shirt to be 1¼”, 1″, a little less than 1″—it doesn’t have to be precise. Every t-shirt is going to curl to just slightly a different size because of the thickness of the jersey. And how are you going to use this, now that you’ve got it all done? Well, you’re going to use it just like you would a chunky wool. And you can follow many patterns that you’re going to need a chunky wool. What size needles are you going to need? Well, that’s going to depend on your wool so you need to find a needle that you’re going to feel comfortable with and start crocheting. This makes a great rug because it can be thrown in the wash and thrown in the dryer, just like a t-shirt. And if you’re not one to knit or crochet yourself, well, this might just make a nice gift. Thank you for joining me today on Tuesday’s Tips. Feel free to subscribe and, as always, come on back. Let’s see what we’re sewing next time
in the sewing room. Bye for now!

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