T Shirt Yarn – Guide To This Yarn Material & Best Uses

By Jodie Morgan

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Looking for a sustainable, colorful yarn? T Shirt fibers might be the perfect choice for you. I explore what tshirt yarn is, and ways to use it for knitting.

T-Shirt Yarn Feat Img

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I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on May 13, 2023.

Table Of Contents

What Is T Shirt Yarn?

T Shirt yarn is a plant/synthetic fiber sold at moderate prices. This fiber isn’t popular because it’s hard to find, however, it’s sustainable, colorful, thrifty, and textured. They’re fun to knit with and great for knitting and crochet projects. It’s available in all colors (colours) of the rainbow.

Where It Comes From

T-shirt yarn is made from recycled materials, like plarn yarn. It can be made of cotton, polyester, bamboo, hemp, strips of velvet or linen.

How To Make T-Shirt Yarn

If you want to make your own t-shirt yarn, all you need is an old t-shirt and a pair of scissors.

How To Cut T Shirt Yarn

To cut t-shirt yarn, you first need to find an old t-shirt. Once you have your t-shirt, lay it flat on a cutting surface. Use a rotary cutter or scissors to cut the shirt into 1-2″ strips. Cut those continuous loops so they become single strands.

How To Join T Shirt Yarn

T-shirt yarn is easy to join. You either knot the pieces together or use an invisible joining method to join them.

Here’s a video showing an invisible joining method by Christine’s Crafts.

The information in this video on the method will be a great help!

Here’s a free tutorial showing a knotting method by Needlepointers.

This helpful guide will walk you through the process.

Types Of T-Shirt Yarn

In fabric construction, there’s three types used for T-shirts.

These are jersey knit, interlock, and rib knit.

  • Jersey Knit – The most popular type. It’s a single knit fabric with a smooth surface on one side and a textured loops on the back
  • Interlock – Two layers of threads that are interlocked together. It’s a strong, durable fabric with a little stretch
  • Rib Knit – Vertical stripes on the front and back

Only use an old shirt with a jersey knit pattern for tshirt yarn. You also need to consider the fiber content of your old tee, too. Here’s a list of what you might find.

  • 100% Cotton – Perfect
  • 50% Polyester/50% Cotton – Good
  • 70% Cotton/30% Viscose – Not Great
  • 95% Cotton/5% Elastane/Spandex – Not Great

Next is to check whether the t-shirt has side seams. This is important because they make the t-shirt yarn harder to work with because they don’t make as much yarn. Plus, you have join the strips many more times.

What Weight Is T Shirt Yarn?

T-shirt yarn is a DK weight, but can also be chunky. The thickness of the yarn depends on how wide you cut your strips, and how heavy the weave of the fabric is.

How To Wash T Shirt Yarn

Here are the care instructions for t shirt fibers.

  • Cotton – Machine wash on gentle with cool water and tumble dry on low or lay flat to dry
  • Polyester – Machine wash on gentle with cool water and tumble dry on low or lay flat to dry
  • Bamboo – Hand wash in cool water and lay flat to dry
  • Hemp – Machine wash on gentle with cool water and tumble dry on low or lay flat to dry
  • Linen – Machine wash on gentle with cool water and tumble dry on low or lay flat to dry

Always check the yarn label for instructions specific to the yarn you’re using.

Does It Shrink When Washed?

This depends on the fiber the tshirt is made from, but to be on the safe side, avoid exposing it to heat.

How To Soften T Shirt Yarn

Washing it after you’ve finished knitting always helps!

Pin For Later

T Shirt Yarn Pin

What Do You Use It For?

Wondering whether you should use it to make a project? Here’s why this fiber from old t shirts is used to make yarn.

It’s often used for projects and things like amigurumi, a bag/bags (like a handbag or tote bag), a basket (like a hanging basket or laundry basket), a blanket, clothing, baskets, accessories like a necklace or bracelets, rag rugs, a dishcloth, or a purse(1).

Also, a rug is a great project to create, as is home decor objects, a throw, cute and stylish necklaces, a hat, a headband, jewelry, slippers, a tassel decoration, a dog toy, a keychain, or a placemat. You can use it for almost anything you’d make with regular yarn.

It’s difficult to wind with a tool, opt to create balls by hand instead. Suitable uses of a swift winder is covered in my article here.

Look on Ravelry for some t-shirt yarn patterns (both knit and crochet patterns are available on the site.) You could also use it for crochet, weaving, or macrame. Some people find it easier to make super quick crocheted items with thicker yarn and a large crochet hook. Or you could try finger crochet. (No crochet hook needed!)

There’s great ideas for handmade objects on Pinterest. For inspiration, check out my board here.

Where To Find It

Here’s where to buy t shirt yarn: at a yarn store or craft stores in your area, at big box stores like Michaels, Walmart and Joann, or online brand shops. Here are brands or manufacturers of t shirt yarns to try: Knity, Hoooked, Hobbii, Somerstash, and Ministry Of Yarn.

Does Hobby Lobby Sell T Shirt Yarn? Yes, they have a good selection!

What’s The Price Like? The price of t shirt yarn varies depending on the brand, but the price is usually midrange.

FAQS About T-Shirt Yarn

Is T Shirt Yarn Safe For Babies?

Yes, it’s safe for babies because it’s made with materials suitable for sensitive skin.

Is T Shirt Yarn Ethical & Eco-Friendly?

It upcycles old clothes into something new, and reduces textile waste.

What Can I Make With Leftover T Shirt Yarn?

You can make t shirt yarn projects like a basket, or a bag.

Is T Shirt Yarn Itchy?

No, it’s not itchy because it’s made with soft materials.

Is T Shirt Yarn Good For Clothes?

Yes, it’s good for clothes because it’s made with natural fibers that are absorbent and breathable.

Is T Shirt Yarn Good For Winter? 

No, it’s not good for winter because it’s not warm.

Is T Shirt Yarn Good For Summer?

Yes, it’s good for summer because it’s breathable.

Do T Shirt Yarns Pill?

No, they don’t pill.

Can You Dye T Shirt Yarns?

Yes, you can.

Is T Shirt Yarn Stretchy?

Yes, it’s sometimes stretchy if it has elastane fiber in it.

What’s A Substitute For T-Shirt Yarn?

If you can’t find t-shirt yarn, or if you want to use a different material, try one of these substitutes: ribbon yarn or fabric strips.

Is T Shirt Yarn Durable?

Yes, it’s durable, and it’ll last longer if you take good care of it.

How To Make T Shirt Yarn From Sheets?

To make t shirt yarn from sheets, cut the fabric into strips, and join them together.

Ribbon Yarn Vs T Shirt Yarn

Ribbon yarn is a flat yarn made with synthetic fibers. It doesn’t have the same stretchiness, and it’s not as durable. T shirt yarn is thicker, and it’s made with natural fibers. It has some stretch to it, and it’s more durable.


Happy crocheting or knitting! Hope you enjoyed this article. Do you have questions? Please leave them below!


  1. Lebrun, Sandra. 2014. T-Shirt Yarn: Projects to Crochet and Knit. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books.

About The Author

Jodie Morgan From Knit Like Granny

Jodie Morgan (Author & Founder)

jodie@knitlikegranny.com | Lives In: Regional Australia

Author: Jodie Morgan is a passionate knitter and blogger with 40+ years of experience currently living in regional Australia. Taught by her mother and wonderful grandmother “Mama”, she fell in love with crafting from a young age. When she’s not knitting, you’ll find her enjoying a cup of coffee with cream, or sharing helpful resources and tips with the online knitting community. Get to know Jodie and the team on our meet the team page.

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