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How To Make A Rug With Homemade T-Shirt Yarn

61 Comments

How to make T-shirt yarn

I made a rare trip to Lidl the other day, just browsing and looking for nothing in particular.

I’m not a fan of Lidl because they only stock basics and I can never get everything on my list. I loathe the weekly Food Shop and am d*****d if I’m going to go to another shop as well to buy the rest. Once, I had a list of thirteen items and could only buy two of them in Lidl!!

Notwithstanding the above, they have a really good selection of non-food items, especially around Christmas and I’ve snapped up some great things in the past.

Anyway, on this occasion, I spotted some T-shirts on offer. A two-pack was reduced from £5.99 to £2.99 and, in true Lidl fashion, they were only stocking men’s size 4XXXL to fit 68-70″ chest so there was a huge pile of them left unsold!

I’ve fancied making my own T-shirt yarn for a while now but decided wisely that Hubby would be a bit peeved if he came home to find that I’d ‘recycled’ them without his knowledge, particularly as they are largely stain and hole free as yet. So these outsize bargains happened along at the right time and I snapped up a couple of packs.

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For best results, you need to choose logo-free, 100% cotton T-shirts without side seams. Mine had side seams – you just have to be extra careful not to rip them because they will be weakened after they have been cut through.

My new Olfa cutting mat and rotary cutter were about to have their inaugural outing – how have I lived my entire life without these?!

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You can, of course, use scissors – it is just easier and quicker with a rotary cutter.

Start by cutting away the main body of the T-shirt below the armholes.

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Fold together leaving about 1 1/2 inches between side seams (as shown below) and smooth out any creases.

Place the cut edge to the left of your cutting mat.

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Using the quilting square as a guide, cut 1″ wide strips through all layers.

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Finish cutting about an inch from the second side seam as shown below.

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Keep going until you reach the end of the fabric.

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When you get to the end, trim the hem off completely.

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Insert your hand into the T-shirt at the uncut side seam through all the loops.

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Slide your hand right through to the other end and let the strips dangle.

Next comes the vital bit.

To create one continuous strip of yarn, you need to cut diagonally from your lower last slit, to the edge of the fabric as shown by the dotted line.

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Keep cutting diagonally….

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…until you have a nice pool of T-shirt strips on the table!

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Now for the fun bit.

You need to stretch the strip between your fingers, holding a section and pulling it firmly until it curls, being very careful not to pull the weakened stitches apart at the seamlines.

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Can you see the difference?

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Your finished yarn will have increased in length by about 50%.

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Roll your new yarn into a ball.

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T-shirt yarn ball

Repeat with the other T-shirts.

T-shirt yarn balls

So now you have all this glorious new yarn, what to do with it?

I decided to crochet a bathmat and based it on this pattern here, using fewer stitches (10) in the first round and a smaller hook (12mm). This resulted in a slightly less dense texture which I love.

T-shirt yarn rug2

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T-shirt yarn rug detail

T-shirt yarn rug border

The rug is nice and cosy underfoot and very absorbant.

It can just be chucked in the washing machine and tumble-dried too – easy!

How to make T-shirt yarn

Here’s how it looks in our bathroom. I love the splash of colour it adds.

T-shirt yarn rug

So, if you fancy having a go at making your own T-shirt yarn – what will you make with it?

Author: sewchet

Sewing, Crochet and other loveliness!

61 thoughts on “How To Make A Rug With Homemade T-Shirt Yarn

  1. This is by far the best tutorial I have seen for making t-shirt yarn! Others have left me wondering about bits and bobs! Thank you for doing this 🙂 I may have to have a go at a rug one day too!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh cool!! I saw how to make yarn out of jeans the same way last month. Now that is true recycling! Your rug is super nice.. love the colors. I would just have trouble finding the right hook to use. I will ponder that for a bit and then give it a shot. I will send ya a pic to show you how I get on. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have been wanting to make this yarn for awhile so thank you for this post. I have to tell you I LOVE your bathroom! Gorgeous! The rug adds a special touch to it!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What a great upcycling project, and ditto the comments above, your instructions are beautifully clear. I’m only learning to crochet at the moment though, so will have to build up to this…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a great tutorial! I have often thought of making a rug for my kitchen floor, but not known how many t-shirts I would need or how to proceed – and here are all my questions answered 🙂 I will now begin the task of procuring very large t-shirts!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Your rug looks amazing! You’ve made me think we should have more things made like this, simple to clean and no ironing required 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love this. That rug is fantastic! If only I could crochet.
    Oh and how on Earth have you survived without a rotary cutter? Even I have one! Before Christmas I only had an A3 mat but then got a nice big one and I couldn’t live without it! We had to explain to my grandma what it was though. Back in the day you used scissors or scissors!
    Anyway, fab tutorial and I am pinning it! So clever!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Beth – I kind of associated rotary cutters with patchwork quilts and I don’t have room for any more. I made all mine back in the eighties when it was scissors or scissors, but this would have been so much more accurate, not to mention quicker! If you don’t crochet you can still use your old T-shirt for yarn, then plait, coil and stitch them for a rug. Perhaps I’ll do a tutorial on that….:)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a good idea! I have been tossing old t-shirts out for years. I too will be pinning so I don’t forget.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Fabulous! Added to the “so-wish-to-make-list” – thanks for a great tutorial! Marianne xx

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This is a brilliant post for making your own t-shirt yarn, I must pop this on Pinterest. Your bath mat looks fab! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I LOVE this, the bath mat looks FAB!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Emma – the T-shirts are still in Lidl in various colours:)

      Like

      • I have bought some – hoorah!! As I am unable to crochet as yet, I have been inspired via Pinterest to create a braided rag rug, in order to cosy up our family bell tent – very excited 😉
        Thanks soooooooo much for the inspiration, you are a marvel – I don’t know many people who could get quite so inspired just walking into their local Lidl!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You just never know what they’re going to sell next so it’s worth popping in occasionally, otherwise I can’t bear the place! Glad to inspire you and would be happy to teach you how to crochet:)

        Like

  12. What a fabulous idea to use cheap new T shirts! I’ve always fancied doing this but never had the discarded T shirts to cut up. And you get to choose the colours!
    Looks great btw.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve always wondered how to do this – as I could never figure out in my head how to get it into one continuous string (so to speak)!! Thank you for detailing the process so well!
    I have a few old t-shirts that I was planning on getting rid of already, I think I may have to give this a go – we need a new bathmat anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yay! Don’t forget to show us your pics of the finished thing:)

    Like

  15. Oh that looks so easy. I might have to pop to Lidl tomorrow to see if they have any super duper large T-shirts. I really need to make a rug for our bathroom. Thank you for making it look so simple x

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow love it. Thanks for explaining the process so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Love this! I need to start hunting for those XXXXL shirts now! When we get moved into our new place, you have inspired me to finally finish my rag rug! (I made fabric yarn out of an old couch slip cover that my cats ruined the corners of) Darned cats! 😉 Wonderful work, and great tutorial!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ace! I’ve been fancying making some t shirt yarn but not got my head round the continuous thingy! Great tutorial! How many t shirts were needed for your mat?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hello!
    I found you via your comment on did you make that’s blog, it was the Hansons recommendation that caught my eye! I am a dorset girl!
    We seem to have very similar tastes so i am glad to be following along…
    bestest
    Daisy jones

    Like

  20. Reblogged this on DaniellaJoe's Blog and commented:
    Great Tutorial!!! TARN is Fab!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What a great tutorial – thanks so much! I keep seeing loads of great projects that use t-shirt yarn but just cant bring myself to buy the stuff!
    H.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thanks so much for a great tutorial, I have printed the instructions off already!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. This is just FAB! I love it. I think I am tempted to try. Thanks so much for this wonderful step by step tutorial

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Wow, how fab is that?!

    Liked by 1 person

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  28. Was it easy to work with a rotary cutter on stretchy cotton? I thought it would be easier to use tailor shears instead of a rotary cutter (imagined a lot of snagging), but it was tiring on the hands!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Pingback: Tarn, Scrap Yarn and Bargains! | Creativity and Family

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