HOW TO make a macrame t-shirt throw
This throw is actually a piece I designed for Nate Berkus when he challenged me to decorate a living room. It started out as a bath mat. Obviously bath mats don’t belong in a living room, so I suggested a throw. The technique I used to make the bath mat couldn’t be used to make a throw, so I had to figure something else out.
Early this summer I had I splurged on a high-end throw from a company called Sefte. They make amazing pillows, throws, and bedding. I liked how the throw was finished with widely spaced knots. My boyfriend’s mom had also crocheted a blue striped blanket me. I thought it would be great to combine aspects of both to make an interesting textured throw. Let’s make it better!
1 cotton jersey t-shirts (To make this a true upcycling project use shirts that can’t be worn or donated to charity. You can start the throw with 1 t-shirt, but you can add more t-shirts as you acquire them to make the throw bigger.)
1 pair of scissors, rotary cutter, or X-Acto knife
thread and sewing needle (optional)
- Determine your color palette, striped pattern, and width of the throw.
- Lay a t-shirt flat on your work surface.
- Cut the bottom hem of the shirt off and set it aside.
- Cut 1 ½” wide strips horizontally from a t-shirt following the hem. Continue cutting strips all the way up to the sleeves. You will end up with cloth loops.
- Stretch the loops out. This will lengthen the loop and curl in the raw edges of the strips.
- Cut each loop to create strands.
- Cut the hem loop open. The hem strand should be at least as long as the desired width of the throw. If it isn’t then lengthen it by attaching another strip to it with an overhand knot.
- Using overhand knots, attach the strands to the hem strand, spacing each strand ½” – 1” apart until the strands span your desired width.
- Grasp the two left most strands.
- Using overhand an overhand knot time them together.
- Grasp the next two strands and tie those together, again using an overhand knot. Continue till you finish the tying all the strands. If you have a remaining odd strand, you can remove it or add another strand to the hem strand make an overhand knot.
- Starting from the left again, skip the first strand. Grasp the second and third strand and tie those together allowing ½” – 1” space between this knot and the previous row of knots. Continue knotting this row. There will be one odd strand at the both ends of this row.
- Starting from the left again. Grasp the first two strands and tie those together allowing ½” – 1” space between this knot and the first row of knots. Continue knotting this row.
- Repeat steps 12 and 13 until the stands are about 6” long. If you have more stands available simply overlap the stands and continue knotting. There will be loose tag ends. These can be cut off later.
- Repeat steps 12-14 until you use up all your strands or reach the desired length. You can remove the hem strand anytime after you’ve finished three row of knots but untying the strands from the hem strand.
- To finish the throw cut the ends of the strands to the same length forming a fringe.
Drape this throw anywhere that could use a bit of punchy texture.
- This throw is decorative. If you feel compelled to make this for warmth, make your t-shirt strips 1″-1/2″ wide to create smaller knots. Then minimize the amount of space between each knot as well.
- To create a softer throw, do not tighten the knots completely. Keep the knots looser.
- This is a time consuming project so if you want to make it as a gift, make sure to give yourself at least a week and half to work on a decent sized throw.
- You can also use the throw as wall hanging.
- Make the project skinnier to use it as a runner.
- Every 24″ of t-shirt yarn will yield about 8″-12″ in length after knotting. This is with 1″-3/4″ space between each knot with knots that are fairly tight.
- Check out the continuous t-shirt yarn tutorial to give your throw a higher level of finish.
Special thanks to:
Jackie, Joseph, Lita, Lisa, Marianne, Mickey, Norma, and Shari