Fashion Consumption


teacher's notes

4.3 Recycle Textile Waste into new material

> Grade: 7th to 9th


> Subjects

  • Technology
  • Craft
  • Sustainability

Upcycling is a creative way of using unwanted materials to turn them into products of higher value.

In this workshop we will upcycle some unwanted textiles and clothing items into yarn. Then the yarn can be used for knitting, crocheting or weaving your own garments or accessories.


Recycling textile waste into new material

Materials Needed

learning outcome

knowledge needed


Old fabric (could be old T-shirts, sheets, Curtains, pants, anything, Scissors

Sewing machine for a nicer finish

Textile knowledge, recycling, upcycling, downcycling


➤  Technology

➤  Material Knowledge

➤  Math

➤  Innovation

➤  Crafts


The class should be equipped with

➤ old fabric (could be old T-shirts, sheets, curtains, anything...


➤sewing machine for a nicer finish

➤knitting needles or crochet needle




T-shirt yarn Collect old T-shirts. For this project to be sustainable, make sure to find T-shirts that no one wants to wear, maybe even with holes or spots. Fold the T-shirt evenly, so you have four layers of fabric, leaving out about 2 cm on the bottom half. Cut the fabric horizontally in straight lines with about 2 cm distance, leaving out the last 2 cm. To make a long piece of yarn, now cut one layer of fabric diagonally across. Jersey is a knitted fabric and it is therefore stretchy. If you pull on the yarn it curls up, which makes the fabric rounded. Watch this video if you have any doubt about cutting your t-shirt.

Sheet yarn


Making yarn out of pieces of fabric is similar to The T-shirt yarn.

With at pair of scissors you cut rows of about 2 cm. Don’t cut through the edges as we will have to reattach all the rows. Instead leave out 2 cm on each end.




Attaching yarn to make a longer piece


No matter what textile you are working with, you might need a longer yarn to work with further.

Simply knot the two ends together, creating a rough look, or use a sewing machine to connect them.



Decide what you want to do with the yarn


Check this Pinterest board to find nice projects you can do with your t-shirt yarn.

Now you've learned about fast fashion!