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DIY Fashion: Beginner T-shirt Weaving

Updated on December 12, 2014


Before you start this, you'll need to gather a few things. Luckily, this is a pretty simple DIY project. All you'll need is a t-shirt and some scissors! Possibly a safety pin or two, but we'll discuss that later.

Be wary of what material your t-shirt is, as it may fray. Try to stick to cotton and polyester... Microsuede doesn't fray either, but you probably don't have many microsuede shirts.

Step 1: Cut Strips

Before you can even think about weaving, you need to cut some strips. Basically, make parallel cuts about an inch apart from each other down the side of the shirt. I suggest making the cuts horizontally, for optimal fabric curl-age. Diagonal and vertical cuts tend to just lay flat and act weird.

You can make the cuts all the same width, or vary widths (as pictured below). Once you've cut your desired amount of strips, stretch that junk out so the fabric starts to curl. This will make the edges look more uniform and clean.

Vary the widths of your strips as you see fit! Get creative.
Vary the widths of your strips as you see fit! Get creative. | Source
A basic ladder.
A basic ladder. | Source

Step 2: Weaving Patterns

The awesome thing about weaving is that it looks like it's really complicated and takes an immense amount of talent... The reality is, any old bum with two fingers could do it. Once you learn the pattern, whatever pattern you choose, you just keep repeating it down your strips.

Ladder Weaving

Ladder weaving is probably the most common type of weaving, and it's really quite easy to do. Although it is easy, if I tried to explain it in words it would be too confusing. Here's a masterpiece I created on paint detailing the basic ladder weaving pattern:

Ladder Weaving


Chain Weaving

This next method is strikingly similar to ladder weaving, with one added step. When you get to part 3 of the infographic above, twist the bottom of the "blue" strip to create a loop. Then, when you get to part 4, pull the "red" strip through the loop of the "blue" strip. Repeat!

In case that was ridiculously confusing, let's go back to my killer paint skills to illustrate the magic of the chain.

Pull it. Twist it. Bop it.
Pull it. Twist it. Bop it. | Source

Step 3: Tie it Off

You've got to secure the last strip so that your hard work doesn't unravel before your eyes. In order to do this, cut the last loop/strip in half, and then tie each end to the strip above. Double knots are your friends!

If you don't want to cut the strip, you could also just safety pin it down, or tie the last two strips together with a ribbon.

Combine Weaving Methods

If you want to jazz up your t-shirt even more, try combining weaving methods! Cut your strips extra wide, and use the ladder weaving method. Then, you can come back through and use the chain weaving method. It'll end up looking something like this:


Even the most complex-looking woven t-shirts are quite simple to make. Just by combining the two styles of weaving, or even repeating one style, you can end up with some awesome designs. The example to the right utilizes only ladder weaving, repeated four times.

So, grab some t-shirts! Get creative and start weaving. It really is that simple - cut, stretch, weave, secure!

More Fashion DIYs

I'm frequently cutting up and remaking my clothes. If you're into the same sort of thing, check out some of my other DIY articles!

Spider Web Cut Shirt
Twisted Crop Top
How to Take In a T-Shirt
How to Stud Clothing
Victorian Boots


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