Introduction: Recycle Old T Shirts Into Yarn!

This is a great way to reuse unwanted T shirts that you have lurking!

Step 1: Supplies

Old T Shirts (light to medium weight jersey is better)

Masking tape Scissors

Step 2:

Firstly lets talk about side seams. Some T's have 'em. Some don't.... This one doesn't and will make smoother/better yarn because of it...

Step 3:

This one does so the yarn I make from it will have little slices of side seam in it every 12-20", depending on the width of the Tee. We can reduce that bulk a little but it will be there nonetheless. The moral is, if this sort of thing is likely to bug you, pick a tee where the body has no side seams and is one continuous tube of fabric

Step 4:

Other things to avoid are too thick jersey (like sweatshirt or ponte thick) and anything with print/transfer or embroidery below the chest area as this prevents the jersey from curling effectively. So now you've got the right kind of Tee this is how you do it...

Step 1: Cut the hem band neatly off the tee. Keep as straight and even a cut as possible...

Step 5:

Cut straight across the tee under the arms. Again keep it straight and at right angles to the side seams.

Step 6:

Remove any care labels in the side seams as close to the stitching as possible without cutting the stitching itself

Step 7:

Now this may prove controversial, but the full bulk of an overlocked seam in my first ball of nice jersey yarn, bugged me. So this time, I trimmed some of it off. Just the bulky edge, about a mm a way from the double row of straight stitch. Note the double row of stitching as I think this could be key. Not all overlocked seams are formed in the same way. If your overlocked seam looks in any way loose or you see only one row of straight stitch, personally I wouldn't trim it down. It worked great on this tee and the pink one...but the yellow one (they're all pictured at the bottom of this post) had a slightly different overlock and unravelled and pulled apart in places so I ended up with several lengths instead of one continuous use your best judgment and if in doubt, cut a strip off the bottom & test first...

Step 8:

Now fold the tee body almost in half but leaving about 1-2" extra of the bottom layer poking out along the top...

Step 9:

Cut strips at least 1" wide (or marginally wider) up from the folded edge. I used masking tape as a cutting guide to keep my widths even (more uses for masking tape here!). Cut straight up, through all layers, at right angles to the folded edge, and cut through the first overlocked edge but NOT the second. Stop 1-2" before and leave that part uncut...

Step 10:

You'll end up with one overlocked edge and a bunch of jersey loops hanging from it

Step 11:

Slide the uncut edge over an ironing board. Start with a tapered, diagonal cut from the outer edge to the first slit. Then from the base of the next slit cut diagonally across to the next top slit. ( Not straight across to the one opposite). You can see the first 2 cuts I made, and the next 3 are marked with dotted lines. Do this all the way along...diagonally from the bottom slit across to the top slit...

Step 12:

...and you'll end up with a continuous strip like this...

Step 13:

Working in approx 18" lengths, stretch it out and it will roll in on itself to form a skinny tube like this. I found that holding the little bits of side seam, one in my left and one in my right hand, and stretching out just one section at a time, avoided putting undue pressure on the seams.

Step 14:

Roll it up!

Step 15:

I nipped to the local charity shop this morning and bought each of these t shirts for 50p each so a super thrifty and eco friendly project. (I've kept the leftovers for another project) If you've got some lurking in your wardrobe even better!