How to Make - Tee shirt "yarn"

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another frugal and worthy project from our home to yours. Today I have another project that is a little different for us to offer, but I think you will like it...

One of my goals has been to return to crafting. I also wanted to combine this with frugality and re-purposing of already used items or something about to be discarded. Like clothing, sometimes clothes are faded, have "pilling" or are stained and they are not as usable as you might need them to be. But the fabric content is too good to simply cut up into rags.

Tee shirts hit the spot for now. I asked the family to go through their closets and only give what would have been cast away or cut into rags. I made "yarn" and learned a lot in the process.

Smooth out the tee-shirt (or in this case a tee shirt nightgown) and cut it in two pieces. You will make the first cut just below the sleeve. At this point, you have 2 pieces from the tee-shirt.

The upper part of the tee-shirt that includes the sleeves, can be cut into rags. For the "yarn" you will use the bottom part of the shirt that is a tube of material. Lay it flat and cut off the bottom hem section. Then begin cutting into 3/4 inch strips as shown below.

You will cut from one side to within 1 inch of the other side.  If you want a softer less rustic yarn, you will cut into strips that are about 1/2 inch in width, but still maintain the 1 inch border on the opposite side. . 

Very important: do not cut through the other side. 

With the cutting complete, now it is time to make a continuous piece of "yarn".


This is rather difficult to explain. Cutting is done right to left, and diagonal, bottom to top. I have made a drawing to show the cutting pattern and help explain it. 

Crude as this drawing appears this will help you understand the cutting pattern that you must maintain to achieve one continuous piece of "yarn". The center white area represents the uncut edge, now open and flat. You will need to connect diagonally by cutting, as shown.

Once you have made your final cuts, you are ready to decide if you want a flat ribbon type of "yarn" or tug on the strip as you roll it into a ball to make a round shape to your finished product.


You may use the yarn to crochet into what you need or want. I prefer the rustic feel of a wide flat ribbon-style yarn crocheted into rugs. There is no right or wrong way to do this, you may use a rectangle pattern or the old fashion classic oval. The choice is yours. I use a very large crochet hook, in my favorite color of red!

Shown here beside a standard size pencil for scale. 

Here are some of the rugs I have made from tee shirts.

This is the first one, made for my granddaughter.

This is a step out bath-mat, for the shower in the main bathroom. 

This red one is my favorite! I have since added a few additional rows to make it fit snug up against the toe kick under the cabinet. 

Have fun with this frugal craft material, what will you make?

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  1. I love this idea! My mother would get bags of tee shirts from Good will and make those round rugs that are so Americana. This makes me wish I had learned how she did it! Thanks for linking up to Simple Lives Thursday.

  2. How clever you are! How long does it take to make one of those pretty rugs?

    1. Rocquie,
      The crochet goes fast, cutting the "yarn" goes fairly fast. What takes time is saving up enough shirts of the same color, like I did for the red kitchen rug.

      I never had success with crochet before, the rugs are a simple double crochet, worked into only one of the loops on each return row. That sets up a little ridge
      and adds to the rustic texture that I like.

  3. I love this idea, too! My goodness, it is fantastic! I can't wait to show my daughters. We have lots of t-shirts. I think I understand the cutting even-- it was great you added that picture.

    Thanks for linking up in Simple Lives Thursday!

    P.S. Could you delete my previous comment, I entered jibber jabber by accident - fingers on the wrong keys and no visual check. :)


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