Tag Archives: reuse fabric


Nina With Freckles - T-shirt yarn 2015-11-03

If you’re following me on Instagram (@ninawithfreckles), you may have seen the t-shirt yarn, or tarn, I made yesterday. After cutting up those eight t-shirts, I added another one straight from the drying rack.

Currently, I’m deep cleaning my walk-in closet and since among others my cleaning gear is in there, I stumbled upon a stack of old t-shirts destined to be reused as something else. It’s not often that I clean my bike for instance, so despite a modest stack of items demoted to cleaning, I haven’t worked my way through these particular t-shirts in various dirty jobs around the house.

Being the frugal person I am, the thought of simply throwing out ‘good cleaning materials’ is positively mind-boggling, but I do want to declutter Stuff and so Pinterest has been my friend once again.

(A side note: I realise I haven’t updated my info here after having changed username. Very sorry about that! It’s @ninakmartin now.)

Back to t-shirt tutorials. I’ve pinned a few of them, but the one I liked best turned out to have a video as part of it. Here it is, made by Bao of Relevé Design:

Since many t-shirts have side seams, his tips shared in another blog post include scissors. I’ve treated some of the more protruding seams as he suggests.

And now my own comments on his tutorials. First of all, I like my rotary cutter. A lot. To a quilter, using an x-acto knife seems almost painful. In the next step, when cutting the final seams by hand, after a couple of t-shirts I got bored and wanted the job done quickly. Enter rotary cutter once more.

What you want to do is keep the t-shirt going through a face lift on the cutting mat. Spread out like a spider with a bazillion legs the part to be cut, then cut fabric. Slide to the right (if you’re cutting from the right side as in this tutorial; some start from the left side) the chopped off piece of yarn, and spread out the spider legs once more. Chop off yarn, spread out spider, repeat. See how I can’t chop off spider legs… I’m a delicate flower, sorry.

In some other tutorials I’ve looked at, the strips are cut much closer to the t-shirt edge (where the side seam is on some of them), but this causes a zigzag to form in the produced yarn. My recommendation is to stop at a greater distance, like in this tutorial by Bao, and that way you create a less curvy strip. If you intend to use a rotary cutter, the final diagonal snip will be swift anyway, so that part isn’t slowed down at all.

I’m sure I could think of more to share, but I’m trying to restrain the babbling a bit. As for future projects on my mind, I’ve pinned some basket tutorials to the crochet board, so check it out! There’s even a project involving ‘plarn’, not just ‘tarn’, and recycling plastic bags into yarn seems a great idea. Someone has made a laundry basket and it looks fantastic, although I may have forgotten to pin it, oops.

Have you reused t-shirts or plastic bags like this? My bee buddy Synnøve mentioned using a 12-millimetre crochet hook on spaghetti yarn (there’s a z in there somewhere but I no google now), which is a size I don’t have yet. T-shirts, however, are like Swiss train, always arriving and usually on time, so that size might be clever to invest in.