With the Fashion Revolution going strong this month, it’s the perfect time of year to think about sustainability and give some zero waste projects a try.
While there's an increasing interest in living a more sustainable life, fashion manufacturing still remains one of the most non eco-friendly industry on the planet. However, by being conscious of this problem and trying to find solutions for it, we’re taking a step in the right direction. Finding a new life for your used clothes by upcylcing them or giving them away to charity are always great recycling options. However, there’s also a few other thing you can do to give them a new life!
If you enjoy knitting, chances are you’re always on the look out for some new yarn so how about recycling your old t-shirts into yarn? Fast, easy and fun to do, you’ll be making yarn in no time. Plus who can resist a good recycling project?
Time to make some yarn then!
Choosing a T-shirt
For this project, you’ll want to find a few old t-shirt that won’t mind being cut into pieces.
Make sure the t-shirts you choose don’t have any side seams. Because if it has, the seam parts won't roll into yarn like the rest of the fabric and the result will be uneven.
As we'll only use the fabric between the bottom hem and the armpit, you can use any garment that hasn't got embellishments on this part. And remember, the bigger the t-shirt, the more yarn you'll make!
Once you’ve found the perfect t-shirt, fold it in half lengthwise, making sure one side edge is about 1 cm (about 3/8") below the other.
Then, using a quilting ruler and a rotary cutter, remove the bottom hem. Of course, it's entirely possible to use fabric scissors instead, but cutting with the cutter will give neater results.
If you have a gridded cutting mat, align the cut edge with it. This will help you making consistant strips. If you don't have one, don't worry! It's also possible to measure the width with a ruler.
Now it's time to cut your fabric! However watch out, don't cut it off entirely! You want to cut just past the top layer's edge. Don't cut the bottom one, otherwise you won't end up with a continuous strip of fabric.
Here you can see 2.5 cm ( 1") wide strips using the grid on the mat. You can also choose to make wider or thinner strips. Just know that the smaller the strips, the finer the yarn but the more yarn you'll get out of your t-shirt.
Continue in this manner until you reach the beginning of the sleeves. There you can cut across.
Cutting to form a continuous stripe
Now unfold the t-shirt. You should have just one side still connected to loops of fabric. Find your fabric scissors and start cutting the strips appart, that's when the magic starts!
First cut in diagonal from the edge to the first cut.
Then cut in diagonal from one cut to the opposite one above it. Do this until you've cut all the loops.
You now have a very long, continuous strip of fabric.
To form the yarn, just stretch it out. The fabric will roll itself into yarn like magic. Plus it’s quite fun to do!
That's it! Admire your new yarn, you did a great job!
Now, the one question remaining is to find out what this yarn is going to become! Think about pairing it with a lovely fantasy cotton to knit a bathroom mat or use it to create braided bracelets, the possibilities are endless.
Did you give this technique a try? We would love to hear from you if you did!