Waggons West Etsy Shop

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

T-shirt Scarf: The Rest of the Story

Tabby Scarf
So you have finished cutting off the bottom of your t-shirt to upcycle it into a lovely scarf. You've amputated the hem and cut loop after loop all the way up to the arm pit. Your scarf is lovely. It is just the right touch to bring a spot of color up near your face.

You make three more. And then you realize you are left with a stack of half shirts. You could wear them, but you are upcycling because you don't wear these t-shirts anymore. Besides, that half shirt look should probably just stay in the eighties. Definitely a case of if you could wear it the first time around you ought not the second!

But what are you going to do with the rest of that fabric. Throwing half a shirt in the landfill isn't all that much better than throwing away the whole thing. So it is time to salvage the rest

Start by cutting up the sleeves. Cut off the hem and set it aside. cut the rest of the sleeve into strips.

You don't need to worry about uniform lengths here so just keep cutting and square it off when you run into the shoulder seam.

Now you can even up the top of the shirt. Just cut away the seam and square up the edge a bit. Don't worry about being too particular here. You are just going to keep cutting and stretching.

Cut your strips all the way up to the bottom of the neck hole.

If you open it out you see that there are still a few more strips of fabric to be mined here. Cut them up as well.

You can even salvage some little strips from the top of the shoulder.

You will likely notice that all of those strips from the sleeves have a seam on the end. The seam doesn't pull into thread very nicely so you will want to cut those off.
Just flip it inside out and give it a snip. You can do this with those unfortunate thrifted finds that have side seams. You thought you couldn't do much with them but this version works. Just snip out those seams.

You should now have a bit pile of strips of t-shirt fabric. You will likely have chopped up the screen-printed logo. Don't worry. It will just give your project character. Start pulling. Stretch each strip until is rolls up.

Finally you are ready to make your lovely new tabby scarf.

Grab two pieces of 'yarn' and tie them together. You know the routine. Right over left, left over right and under....

Pull those knots nice and tight. Leave the tabs on them. Keep going for about a mile or so. Ok, it only seems like a mile but you want to use most of the shirt scraps. You will get a really long pile of knotted yarn. Start coiling it up and looping it around until it looks about right. You want 12 or more loops to make a nice full scarf. Be careful with your loops. This ginormous string will tangle. If it gets too bad, you can just cut it, untangle it and then re-tie it! Yep. It's been done before!

Remember that sleeve hem you set aside earlier? You can use it to tie a slip knot around the top of the scarf. This keeps it neat and tidy and long (there is a limit to the number of times you can cut out the tangles).
Ta Da! A beautiful tabby scarf.
Or you can get crazy and mix up all your scraps. That is what I did to make this Valentines version.

Next up, what to do with all those teeny tiny pieces you cut from the sleeve and shoulder...


  1. I love it! And to combine different fabrics to make the different colors, wow! Thank you. I'm going to save this. Thank you.