Did you know you can make jewelry from old T shirts? Yup, the very height of sustainable fashion! There are a ton of tutorials on this online so I’m not going to focus too much on it (google “How to make T Shirt yarn”)- you basically cut the T-shirt into a long length of thick “thread”. Instead, I’m going to show you what you can do with the T shirt yarn once you’ve made it!


If you’re lazy, there are companies that now SELL T shirt yarn. It sort of sounds counterintuitive, because isn’t T shirt yarn meant to be upcycling, recycling, re using/ basically sustainable? No worries, these companies are using the leftovers from the fabric industry so they’re also good for the environment πŸ™‚ And it’s easier to get longer lengths of yarn from them (1 T shirt, after all, only produces a limited length of yarn and most people don’t have more than 1 of the same T shirt! If you do, and you make both into T shirt yarn, simply tie the ends together to make a looooong length)


So what’s cool about T Shirt yarn jewelry (besides the green/ environmental factor)? Well, it’s machine washable- so if you spill anything on it- just pop it into the wash! Or if you have kids, it’s not that painful if they pull on it so you get to be a good Mummy and still fashionable. There aren’t any small parts so it’s pretty child safe- but I’m a) not a mother b) not a child safety expert so don’t take my word for it πŸ™‚
Anyway back to where I am (slightly) more of an expert- the necklace DIY tutorial!


What you need:

3 x 8-10m of T-shirt yarn

A good way to measure is to use your arm span- the distance between the 2 tips of your middle fingers, when you extend your arms to your side, is your height. So if you are 1.5m tall, you will need to measure out yarn 6 times the length of your armspan to give you an approximate 9m.


Note: the number of T shirt yarn strands is entirely up to you- if you prefer a chunkier look, go for more strands. For yarn of average thickness, however, I’d say 3 is the minimum- it looks threadbare with less than that! (The yarn below is unusually thick so using 3 lengths is going to give me a nice eye catching necklace)


Step 1

Fold 1 length of yarn into 2, each side being of equal lengths. Repeat with the other 2 lengths of yarn.


Look at how much material there is in just 1 length!!


Step 2

Bunch up all 3 lengths of yarn such that they all fold at the same spot (i.e. the halfway point of each yarn, where the “fold” occurs, overlap – see where my finger is below)

Note that your lengths will probably have some differences in their total length as there is usually some given in T-shirt yarn and when measuring out such long lengths, it’s easy to add/subtract a little. (or quite a lot, sometimes! Remember to err on the side of more- you can snip off exccess but you can’t add extra length in that easily!)


Keeping your finger on the fold, tie knot in the yarn. The loop that you have now formed (on the left of the photo) is going to serve as part of the clasp of the necklace .


Step 3

Now tie another knot in the yarn. Make sure that you push the knot against the first knot you made. Continue knotting away- you want the knots to look like they almost overlap so there isn’t empty space in between to create a chunky effect.


Knot, knot, knot away. It’s therapeutic and doesn’t need much concentration- do it whilst you’re watching Netflix or something and before you know it, you’ll have a nice new necklace!
Mix up the colours of the yarn or the lengths of the thread- choker or long necklace- to create some variation! Β In short, have fun! Show me what you made with #notmadebygranny


Written by Zen



Thank you, glad you like it! I have a few more t shirt yarn tutorials up my sleeve πŸ™‚


Let's chat! :)