October 10, 2014

How to Make T-shirt Yarn with Side Seams

You may have noticed that most t-shirt yarn tutorials for making a continuous length of yarn from a single shirt, mine included, advise against using a shirt with side seams. It is much easier and faster to make yarn from t-shirts whose torsos feature a seamless tube of fabric. But, many women's t-shirts and most super large t-shirts do indeed have side seams. Here's my work around for making strong, continuous yarn from those seamed shirts.

1. Follow the steps to just before pulling the yarn into a tube in my How to Make T-shirt Yarn tutorial, found here.
2. You will now have a long ribbon of t-shirt with many, many seams like the one above.
This is what happens to the seams when you pull the ribbon into a tube of yarn. Not only does the seam not roll nicely, the stitches pull apart and create a weak spot in your yarn. So, to repeat, DO NOT PULL at this point.
3. Cut out the seam. (I do steps 3-5 for each seam individually. I treat the first seam with steps 3, 4 & 5, then treat the second seam with steps 3, 4 & 5, and so on ad infinitum.)
4. Overlap the pieces of ribbon about 1/2 inch and pin in place. IMPORTANT: It is imperative match the knit on each ribbon. Pin either with reverse stockinette both facing up (inside of t-shirt, as above) OR with stockinette both facing up (outside of t-shirt, as below)
5. Sew a tight zig-zag over each exposed edge of the overlapping ribbons. I sew a few small straight stitches back and forth at the beginning and end of each zig-zag run to anchor my stitches. I recommend  using a ball-point needle on your machine.
6. When all the seams have been treated in this way, before you pull your hair out from boredom and tedium, pull the ribbon of t-shirt to produce a rolled tube of yarn. The new seams you have created are strong and will roll like the rest of the yarn. There will be a little extra bulk at the seams, but when they are sewn with coordinating thread, like the bottom yarn, the joins are virtually undetectable. I use this same sewing method for color changes and to join multiple lengths of t-shirt yarn when knitting.

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