...Fashion, General ramblings

T-shirt yarn

So after making Plarn, for my ‘talking point’ Rubbish bag, I have now had a go at t-shirt yarn (I guess that should be called “Tarn”) too in my quest for ‘alternative’ materials to crochet with.

This is made in a very similar way to the Plarn:

  • Collect your pile of unloved t-shirts from the bottom of the wardrobe where they have been sat for months waiting for upcycling inspiration…


  • Get your cutting mat, rotary cutter/craft knife/scissors, and ruler 
  • Cut the top of the t-shirt off below the arm seams


and cut off the bottom hem


  • Then fold over your t-shirt in the same way as for the Plarn (fold side seam to side seam, but leave about 5cm at the top where there is no overlap), and start cutting into 3-5cm wide strips


  • Then open up the whole thing, and cut diagonally from the bottom of one ‘hoop’ to the top of the next, so that you get a long line of t-shirt (this will make sense as you do it. I hope)
  • If all that makes no sense at all, then watch this very much better video..!

Then, all you have to do is stretch your line of material, so that it folds in on itself like this


Tarn07From the body of the t-shirt, I got a ball this big (note that this is not a real life size scarecrow… This is, as you all know, Spud, from the Bob the Builder…)

Tarn08And then, being super thrifty, I decided to see if I could make more ‘Tarn’ from the sleeves, by doing exactly the same thing…

Tarn09And you can!

So, from one long-sleeved t-shirt, I got this much ‘Tarn’


Again, please note that these are not life-sized figures…

Now, I just need some ideas for the remaining piece…


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  • Reply Zero Waste Week Day 3 | My Make Do and Mend Year September 3, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    […] upcycle-this time into shorts11. And if your t-shirts really are beyond salvaging-make them into Tarn (t-shirt yarn) and use them for crochet or knitting12. My woolly jumper to cardi upcycle13. Another t-shirt […]

  • Reply A little yarn…. | My Make Do and Mend Year January 5, 2014 at 8:12 am

    […] of the t-shirt yarn I made last year. I would still like to make something with it, but white is such a rubbish looking […]

  • Reply Ruth Bosman October 5, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I LOVE this idea! This week I went to Hobbycraft and bought some of their Boodles textile yarn – if I’d seen this first I could have saved myself £12! Got bagfuls of old tshirts so definitely going to give this a go :o)

    • Reply Jen October 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      Yay! Give it a go and let me know how you get one!
      PS. £12!!!! Eeek!

  • Reply Back on track… | My Make Do and Mend Year June 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    […] ‘Rubbish’ crochet bag-made from things like T-shirt yarn, plastic bag yarn, and video tape. This is another project that is sat half-done on the coffee […]

  • Reply 30 ways to save £1 | PinAddicts Challenge May 2, 2013 at 7:03 am

    […] up old t-shirts to make t-shirt yarn to knit or crochet […]

  • Reply 30 Ways to Save £1 | My Make Do and Mend Year April 30, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    […] up old t-shirts to make t-shirt yarn to knit or crochet […]

  • Reply earthmomma82 April 21, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I would probably use the left over fabric for one of the many sewing projects I have planned or you could use left overs as stuffing for another project?

    • Reply Jen April 22, 2013 at 8:54 am

      I think stuffing or cleaning cloths (as long as I not then obligated to actually clean…)

  • Reply manchesterflickchick April 20, 2013 at 12:26 am

    You could get a few different coloured Tarns and crochet a new bottom for your left over top. Or just a new T-shirt altogether. My Ma cut old cotton clothes into squares as hankies for colds and just put them in the wash.

    • Reply Jen April 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      I think it may well end up being cleaning cloths! Like the idea of using more old t-shirts to make a new one though!

  • Reply momoftwosalums April 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    What about making a dress? Add some lovely fabric to the bottom of it?

    • Reply Jen April 19, 2013 at 9:13 pm

      Great idea, thankyou!

  • Reply Anna April 19, 2013 at 7:04 am

    How about an outfit for a bear? My kids love clothes for their beloved teddies. Or handkercheifs for small snotty noses? I admire all the families reusing bottom wipes, that is dedication!!

    • Reply Jen April 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      Dedication indeed! It may weel end up being a hanky, or a duster I think!

  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo April 19, 2013 at 6:59 am

    You could always add some funky fabric to the bottom of it and then youve got a wearable t-shirt again. :0)

    • Reply Jen April 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      Good idea Jo 🙂

  • Reply thepolishedbutton April 18, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Oh I keep meaning to do this too. I don’t have any idea what I would do with it either though…

    • Reply Jen April 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      Give it a go! Surprisingly easy 🙂

  • Reply fivegoblogging April 18, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I cut some Tarn last week and started to crochet a bath mat. I have crocheted a piece 20cm x 50cm after two t-shirts. I figure I’m going to need a few more tshirts or a much smaller bathroom!

    • Reply Jen April 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      Crikey! Apparently some charity shops will let you have their ‘rag bags’ for a small donation-might be worth a try 🙂

  • Reply helen April 18, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    the piece that is left would make great family cloth xxx

    • Reply Hazel April 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      Absolutely 😉

    • Reply Jen April 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      Not sure I am quite ready to make the leap..!

      • Reply Hazel April 19, 2013 at 5:51 am

        Honestly, there’s no leap!
        A few squares of t-shirt fabric, some thing to put them in- plastic tub or I use an old waterproof nappy sack because I’m never going to keep fiddling around with lids- and that’s all you need.
        Use, put in the bag/tub, wash, dry, reuse…
        I/most people only use them for wee, so husband didn’t have to get involved at all(!) and they’re dead easy to wash. They’re so small they make no difference to a load of washing. If you use reusable sanpro, you can do this!!

        Go on! (Sorry, channeling my inner Mrs Doyle now.) 😉

        • Reply helen April 19, 2013 at 8:13 am

          I wouldn’t be without my family cloth now.its so easy and adds nothing to your washing x

          • Jen April 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm

            Thanks Helen

        • Reply Jen April 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm

          Arrrggghhh-under pressure!!

  • Reply carla April 18, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    wow! that’s such a cool idea!!!!
    you could use the left overs as cloths for cleaning 🙂

    • Reply Jen April 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      But then I would have to actually DO some cleaning..!!

  • Reply Leah April 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    You could cut it up into loo-paper sized pieces and make reusable ass-wipes…
    Haven’t tried it myself yet, but I know others have – and they swear by it.

    • Reply Jen April 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      Ahhh, everyone keeps suggesting this. I am feeling under pressure. Not sure I can make the leap…

      • Reply Leah April 19, 2013 at 6:31 pm

        I’m not sure I could bring myself to do that either. You’re certainly not alone, Jen.

        • Reply Jen April 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm


  • Reply Nora April 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Give up ‘tarn’ing it and use it as a duster!

    Second thoughts…bad idea…means doing housework instead of crafting! 😉


    • Reply Jen April 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      I HATE housework..!!

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