Thick T-shirt Yarn: Photo Tutorial and Video Tutorial

T-shirt yarn is fun to work with and makes a project work up super fast, but my Super Thick T-shirt yarn takes it to the next level. Below I will show you how to create this thick t-shirt yarn as well as standard-sized t-shirt yarn and provide you with some ideas to put it to use. It is a great way to use up old T-shirts.

Thick t-shirt yarn compared to regular t-shirt yarn.
Top: Store-bought t-shirt yarn.
Bottom: Homemade thick t-shirt yarn.

What to do with T-shirt Yarn

This is the yarn used in my Recycle T-shirt Crochet Basket. The thickness of this t-shirt yarn helps make yarn baskets sturdier and rugs cushier. Not to mention you finish your projects faster! I will be coming out with a whole bunch of patterns using this yarn this month.

Picking the Right Shirts

Before we get started, I have just a few tips for you.

  1. When selecting your T-shirts, look for ones that do not have any side seams.
  2. If you have white shirts and want to dye them, I recommend dying them before you cut them into yarn.

I was lucky to receive a big batch of misprinted white T-shirts.  Being the crafter I am, I saved them all. I cut a number of them into yarn and dyed them. It was not fun detangling yards and yards of t-shirt yarn after washing out the dye. So if you plan to do this, dye the t-shirt before making them into yarn.

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standard-sized t-shirt yarn
Standard-sized t-shirt yarn.

Pros and Cons of T-shirt Yarn

T-shirt yarn is fantastic for certain types of projects. They make great rugs, purses, and baskets because it makes a very sturdy material. It is also very thick and is good for hot pads and coasters.

The big con to t-shirt yarn is that it is tough on the crocheter. The yarn will make your wrists and hands sore. When working with T-shirt yarn, make sure to take breaks and rest your hands.

Let’s get started with our tutorial.

T-shirt Yarn Materials:

Old T-shirts with no side seams
Sharp Scissors or Rotary Cutter
Self-healing mat (if using a Rotary cutter)
Pencil or pen
Ruler
Fabric Glue (optional)

Use this photo tutorial to make a super thick T-shirt yarn great for crochet and knit projects.

When making t-shirt yarn from just the main tube part of the t-shirt, I reaped 23-24 yards of standard-sized yarn from an X-large shirt and 3-4 yards from extra thick yarn.

Video Tutorial

Check out the video tutorial and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more fun crochet video tutorials.

Photo Tutorial:

Note: The photos show me making the thick yarn. The video tutorial shows how to make the standard-sized yarn. The main difference is that the thick yarn is cut 4 inches wide and the standard-sized yarn is only cut 1 inch wide.

Step 1: Cut the shirt across the chest and remove the collar and sleeves. Also, remove the seam at the bottom of the shirt. Fold the shirt over leaving about 1-2″ between the side folds.

shirt with sleeves and collar cut off

Step 2: Use a ruler and measure the height of the shirt piece. I like to cut my strips roughly 4 inches wide for super thick yarn and 1 inch wide for standard-sized t-shirt yarn. I do not like wasting any material. So measure your shirt in inches and divide that measurement by 1 or 4. This will give you how many inches wide you will make your cuts. For the shirt shown I used 3.75 inches just to keep from wasting any material. You want your measurement to be close to 4 inches to get a nice thick yarn or close to 1 inch for standard-sized yarn. If your shirt height is only 12 inches tall you will want to make 3 strips instead of 4. Once you find your width, use your ruler to mark where you will cut.

Use this photo tutorial to make a super thick T-shirt yarn great for crochet and knit projects.

Step 3: Cut along the line you created.  A rotary cutter makes this really easy, but mine needs a new blade. A sharp pair of scissors get the job done too. Cut where there is 4 layers of material. Do not cut the last 2 inches.

Use this photo tutorial to make a super thick T-shirt yarn great for crochet and knit projects.

Step 4: Unfold the T-shirt. Lay the shirt out so the 2-inch uncut section is flat and does not have anything underneath it. You are going to draw a line from the bottom edge up diagonally to the first cut. Working parallel to the line you just made, draw a line from the first cut to the second cut, and so on. The picture below will show this better.

Use this photo tutorial to make a super thick T-shirt yarn great for crochet and knit projects.

Step 5: Cut along the diagonal lines you created. You will be left with a very long strip of t-shirt fabric.

Use this photo tutorial to make a super thick T-shirt yarn great for crochet and knit projects.

Step 6: Your yarn is almost done, but if you look at your strip you will see small points from where you cut the diagonal. Just use your scissors to make this more of a curve, than a point and it will stay hidden while you crochet with this yarn.

strips of fabric cut
strips of fabric cut

Step 7: This is the fun step. Just take your strip of fabric and hold one end in one hand and another piece about 18 inches down the strip in the other. Pull your hands apart. I would hold the fabric about shoulder-width apart and stretch it to elbows width. Grab the next 18-inch section and do the same thing. Continue this until you reach the end of the piece.

Use this photo tutorial to make a super thick T-shirt yarn great for crochet and knit projects.

I like to cut a few shirts up, then stretch them while watching a little TV. I ended up with a 20-foot piece of thick t-shirt yarn once it was stretched out. For the standard-sized yarn, I ended up with 23 yards from an x-large shirt.

You can connect the pieces together by sewing them together or you can just weave in the ends when you have to start a new strand of yarn.

pulled yarn

Now you have a big pile of yarn ready to be used. You can use this yarn to make my Recycled Crochet Basket or any other project that requires super bulky yarn or t-shirt yarn. I will be working with this yarn to make up a few patterns to share. Let me know how you like this t-shirt yarn and the tutorial in the comments below.

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The written pattern is copyright Windingroadcrochet.com. Please do not reprint or repost this pattern as your own, but please feel free to share this link with others. You can find more information on sharing my work with others on the Terms and Conditions Page.

Learn to make super thick T-shirt yarn for knitting, crocheting or weaving. #tshirtyarn #upcycle #tshirtyarntutorial
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12 thoughts on “Thick T-shirt Yarn: Photo Tutorial and Video Tutorial”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing! I love making baskets and am getting ready to declutter my T-shirt drawer. Did I mention that I also love to upcycle things! So this idea is right up my alley!

    Reply
  2. Hi, wondering what crochet stitch you have used with the white Tshirt yarn and the purple hook. I want to make a blanket with tshirt yarn with this kind of pattern. Thanks in advance?

    Reply
    • The both examples are single crochet. The stitch is so big it really makes the shape of the stitch pronounced. I would love to see your blanket when it is done!

      Reply
      • Hi Lindsey,
        Thanks. There is a lovely woman who has a business called sheltered co who makes hand crocheted weighted blankets for people with autism and sensory processing disorders. I have contact d her but due to weight and size issues they can’t be shipped to Australia where I am. So, like all autism mothers I have decided to try make one myself. I have never crocheted before so your little pic seems to be the clos3st design to hers, so wish me luck. So it s just a basic single crochet? Through both loops or through front or back only? Thanks for your advice…. will be sure to show you f it works out.
        Thanks.
        Susan

        Reply
  3. Hi Lindsey
    Thanks for the tip. I am trying to crochet a sensory blanket for my son with autism; you can buy them in the US from the sheltered co. They are gorgeous but due to weight and size do not ship to Australia, so I am trying to copy something like hers. I feel bad tr6ing to copy her idea but I don’t have any other options fortunately. I have never crocheted before so wish me luck. So it’s a single crochet, is it through front or back stitch only or both.
    Thanks.
    Susan

    Reply
  4. If I want to use t-shirt yarn inside of crochet like in the green and white basket you made (not using the t-shirt yarn to do the crocheting) could I use shirts with a side seam?

    Reply
    • You can but you will find the areas that have the seam to be a bit bulky and sometimes the seam comes apart. If that is something you are willing to work with, then go ahead and use a shirt with the side seam.

      Reply
  5. Hi Lindsey,
    Do you have a recommendation on the composition of the t-shirt to use? I’ve tried to make t-shirt yarn a few times. First time was good. The next time, I used a t-shirt that seemed like it would work, but once I cut it, it didn’t have that stretch. Should I be using 100% cotton or a 50/50 shirt?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • I like to stick to 100% cotton. Polyester and nylon should be fine, but be conscious of what you will use the yarn for. If it is used for a hot pad then it will need to be 100% cotton.

      Reply

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