T-Shirt Yarn | Made From Upcycled T-Shirts

T-Shirt Yarn youmakeitsimple.com

In this post, I’m going to show you how to make t-shirt yarn from upcycled t-shirts. As some of you know, upcycling is one of my passions and I get a little excited about recycling items of clothing, and t-shirts are one of them.

In a previous post, I have shared some different ideas of how to use upcycled t-shirts. and you can find them here. But for now, let me show you how to make t-shirt yarn.

What can you do with T-Shirt Yarn?

Oh, baby, this stretchy yarn is the best! I have been making it for years, and it comes in handy for so many things. You can use it just like you would yarn and twine.

  • Gift Wrapping
  • Face Mask Ties
  • Crochet it (rugs, bags, etc.)
  • Bracelets
  • Rugs (wrap method-STAY TUNED FOR A FUN TUTORIAL
  • Shoelaces
  • Colorful Decoration (place them in a cute basket for display)

How to Choose the Right T-Shirt for T-shirt Yarn

The best scenario is to find a t-shirt that doesn’t have side seams and is just one continuous piece of fabric. That is ideal, but they’re not as easy to find, but don’t worry because I’m going to show you a really slick way to join the seams and how to cut off that bulky side and make it flow a lot nicer if you have to use a shirt with seams.

I like to find t-shirts that have a little bit of synthetic content and stretch to them. T-shirts that are 100% cotton tend to fray and don’t stretch as well. (It all depends on what you’re using the yarn for).

Don’t limit yourself to just t-shirts. You can use knit dresses and skirts too. Check out this post where I give some helpful tips on upcycling t-shirts.

Materials & Items Needed

  • Scissors
  • Rotary Cutter/Ruler (optional but recommended)
  • Sewing Machine/Needle & Thread (optional)

Using Printed T-Shirt Fabric

TAKE NOTE: If you have a t-shirt that has a cute print that you want to be shown, you’ll need to cut the fabric differently. If you cut the strips horizontally, what happens when you pull the strips to stretch the yarn it is going to curl with the wrong side of the fabric showing on the outside. This is fine if you are using a plain color fabric. But if you want the print exposed, you’ll need to cut the fabric strips vertically.

Most people don’t know this and I don’t want you to be all bummed when you go to pull your strips and the cute print is not visible, just something to consider.

Follow the cutting instructions for printed fabric below. If the t-shirt you are using has a logo or screen print, you’ll want to cut around that as well.  

How big should you cut the strips?

You can cut the strips in different sizes, just depends on what you’re going to use them for. I recommend cutting different size strips on a sleeve and then pulling the strips to see what they look like. Try 1, 1 ½, and 2-inch strips. All fabrics will react a little differently.

Cutting Strips with NO SIDE SEAM T-Shirts

Remove the bottom hem. I really like using a rotary cutter because you get a very straight edge!

Flatten your t-shirt out and fold it in half lengthwise, but leave it unfolded two inches. *Something to consider, if the shirt has a logo on it, you don’t want this in your strips, so cut around it.

Cut from armpit to armpit as shown here. Cut the desired width of strips horizontally, BUT DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY ACROSS! Stop cutting just past the fold of the top layer. Continue cutting strips all the way up the shirt.

 

On the last strip cut it all the way off and remove the top of the shirt. As you can see there’s a section that’s not cut and this is where the magic happens! Slide your arm between the layers and adjust it so the uncut area is accessible over your arm. This makes it easier to cut than cutting on a table.

As indicated on the drawing, start cutting through the single layer of fabric on the bottom strip at an angle to the end of the cut edge. On the next layer cut from one end to the other ON A DIAGANOL!  Follow that same pattern until you’ve cut all strips.

 

Cutting Strips on T-Shirts with SIDE SEAMS

You can follow the same procedure if you don’t mind bulky seams in your yarn. This may be fine for some craft projects, but if you’re crocheting something, this seam will be very bulky. I will show you below how to join the pieces without all the bulk.

If you want to cut strips and sew them together, cut off the side seams and then cut strips to the size you want. Follow the instructions below on how to piece strips together.

Cutting Strips of PRINTED FABRIC

Remove the bottom hem and remove the sleeves. Instead of folding the t-shirt over vertically, fold the bottom edge up to the neckband. Cut off side seams and then cut vertical strips to your desired width. You will need to piece strips together.

 

How to Piece Strips Together

Before sewing strips together, pull the strip ends that you are going to sew together to see which side curls in. Put the curling sides facing down flatten it out and take the other strip that you’re joining together and place it on top of the strip with the curling side facing up.

Place them at right angles overlapping just about a 1/4 inch at the top and on the side. It doesn’t really matter if it’s more, but it needs to be at least a quarter inch. Sew from notch to notch at an angle using a ¼ inch seam allowance.

Clip fabric and leave a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Clip away the two little ear tags. When you open up the seam it’s at a diagonal and when you pull it, the seam will be tucked inside. You may be wondering why you can’t just sew it at a straight angle. Doing it this way distributes the seam at an angle so it’s tucked inside and less bulky. Pretty cool huh?

So if you can’t find t-shirts without seams, you can join them this way and it works really well. If you really needed to, you could do this by using a needle and thread as well

Pulling Strips to Make T-Shirt Yarn

To finish the strips into yarn, simply pull the strips. When you pull the strips, they’ll curl onto themselves making a nice yarn. Wrap strips into a ball and place them in a cute basket.

Who would have thought that you can make yarn from an upcycled t-shirts! This is such a fun thing and it’s easy to do.

So go through your closets and find some cute colors of t-shirts and make yarn!

Print the FREE PDF infographic below.

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DIY NO SEW Face Mask – Upcycled T Shirt – 5 Minutes

With the latest recommendation to wear masks when we go out and about, there has been a need to acquire a mask. As you know, most of us just go to the store and purchase one. A few weeks ago I posted a tutorial on how to sew a DIY face mask. However, not everyone knows how to sew or has access to a sewing machine.

I have been getting a lot of requests for “no-sew” masks, so I started doing some research and experimenting. I tried folding the bandanna thing and several other ways, but I had a hard time finding a method that was easy to understand and that wasn’t bulky and awkward to wear.

One of my customers, Suzette Gardner, clued me in on a technique she was using to make masks out of upcycled t-shirts. Now we’re talking. This is my territory. You all know how I love using upcycled t-shirts! So I gave it a whirl and loved how the knit felt on your face and how quick they were to make.

So here you have it, a tutorial on how to make a DIY no sew face mask, using an upcycled t-shirt that you can make in only 5 minutes. If the shirt is long-sleeved, you can make two more masks using the sleeves! I’ll walk you through that at the end of the post.

Materials and Items Needed

  • Upcycled T-Shirt (the larger the better)
  • If you have a long sleeve shirt, you can make a mask with each sleeve.
  • The t-shirt needs to be at least 16 inches wide. Cotton t-shirts are the best.
  • Rotary Cutter and Ruler (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Flannel Scrap (for the additional filter, optional) Cut to approximately 4 x 6 inches

DIY No Sew Face Mask Instructions

Trim off the hem of the shirt.

Cut two, 1 inch strips the width of the shirt

Cut off the seams on both sides

Take the strips and pull the fabric to CURL the fabric for the mask ties.

They need to be at least 16 inches long, more if you have the fabric

Measure from the bottom of the shirt and cut

  • 8 inches for an ADULT MASK
  • 7 inches for TEEN
  • 6 inches for CHILD

Take one of those pieces and place the wrong side of the fabric facing up.

If you want more layers you can double the fabric.

Place the ties vertically 4 inches from the edge.

Fold the sides over the strap so the tie is against the fold.

They should overlap in the center, making the width of the mask around 8 inches for adults, 7 teens,s and 6 for children.

Take the ends of the ties and make a knot as close to the end as you can.

This will be the top of the mask.

 

Take the mask and place it over your nose rim.

Hold it in place while you pull the bottom ties to cinch in the mask.

Keep adjusting and pulling the ties until you get the fit that you like.

Tuck in the fabric that may be sticking out.

Want additional filter capabilities?

Cut a piece of flannel about 4×6 inches and place inside before folding the mask.

No Sew Face Mask using the t-shirt sleeves

Cut off sleeve and measure 16 inches.

Follow the same folding instructions as before.

Slightly gather the wider side and tuck into the sleeve opening. 

The sleeve version will give more layers and more filterability.

I love how these masks feel when you have them on! So comfortable! 

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BAM! This will only take you 5 minutes or less. 

No excuses now. Get you and your loved ones a mask made.

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Check out this reputable source

Take care of yourselves, my friends. Keep smiling and finding the good in your day.

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Upcycled T Shirts – Ideas and Tips

Do you have a t shirt that you love, but it doesn’t fit anymore or has gone out of style?  Give it a second life by making something else out of it. Here are some great upcycled t shirts ideas and tips.

Knits are “sew” fun to work with and there are so many fun things you can make with them, especially children’s clothing. Although, now days, little kids t shirts are usually cheaper just to buy already made, than to purchase a pattern and fabric (not to mention the time involved). However, if you already have an existing shirt to use for fabric, and an EASY pattern, then making something can be quite fun and save you a lot of money!

Have you priced good quality interlock knits lately?  They are not cheap and the selection is usually poor.

This piece of knit with 5 % spandex was $12.99 yard.

So if you have a shirt that has good quality fabric, good colors and design, and you don’t wear it anymore, MAKE SOMETHING COOL WITH IT!

Here are a few ideas of what to do with upcycled t shirts:

Here are a few before and after photos

 

polka dot knit shirt upcycled t shirts

I used this polka dot shirt to make a skirt……..

……….. and this shirt to make a comfy double fold yoga waistband for the skirt.

Ta dah!  I added a cute green pom pom trim on the bottom and look what a cute whimsy skirt these upcycled shirts made.

You can get the pattern for this skirt HERE.

Felted wool sweater strips make up this cute skirt. (pattern can be purchased in my Shop).

I used this shirt for the waistband.

This purple turtle neck wasn’t the most attractive shirt to wear, however, it was good fabric and worked really nicely for the yoga waistband on this simple fleece skirt. So instead of going in the trash, or to the thrift store, this shirt came in real handy!

I love cutting strips of t-shirts and winding them up into a ball. Not only do they look cute sitting in a basket, but there are a lot of fun things to make with strips of knit shirts. Here is a link to a video tutorial on how to cut up the shirt into t shirt yarn.

Go to Pinterest and type in the search ” t shirt strips” and you’ll find all kinds of fun things to make.

If you haven’t seen my post on how to make these adorable baby beanies from upcycled t-shirts, you can find it HERE.

In a previous post I show and give some tips on how to cut out t shirts to get them ready for projects and how to use the fabric for other things.

So, that was a mouth full. I hope you find it inspiring and gives you a few ideas.

Have fun sewing my friends!

 

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