Tutorial: Adding Crochet Trim to a T-shirt

crochet trim edging on shirt

We all have them… those boring t-shirts that languish in the back of our drawers or closets, never to be worn.  What if you could transform items like these into something cute and wearable? With this tutorial, you can easily add crocheted edging to any shirt and spice up your wardrobe! 

What you need: (If you make a purchase from one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you)

  • DK or worsted weight yarn (shop here) 
  • Size E/4 (3.5 mm) crochet hook (shop here)
  • Large needle or awl for poking holes (shop here)
  • Scissors 

Abbreviations used: 

ch = chain
sl st = slip stitch
sc = single crochet 
hdc = half double crochet
dc = double crochet 
st(s) = stitch(es)


To start, make any adjustments you want to the shirt.  Mine had some itchy tulle flower trim on it before, so I used a stitch ripper to remove it.  If you have a full-length t-shirt and want to make it cropped, now would be the time to cut off some of the bottom. 

With the large needle/awl, poke holes about 1/2 inch apart around the bottom of the shirt and around the sleeves.  If you have trouble getting the crochet hook through them later on, you can use a smaller size hook to widen the holes a bit.   

Attach the yarn (at the armpit for the sleeves, or the back for the hem) and begin working around.  Work one sc in each hole and ch 2 between each sc.  You want this row to be loose enough that it doesn’t cinch up the fabric, but not too loose or it will look “ripply” later on.  Join with a sl st in the first sc.  For the next row, ch 1 or 2 and work in sc, hdc, or dc, depending on how wide you want this row to be (I used dc).  Skip over each sc, and work 2 sts in each ch space around, then join with a sl st in the first st.  

Now, you can leave the border as is or add a fancier edging of your choice.  I used the “open shells” trim from this website: https://knitted-patterns.com/crochet-stitches/120-crochet-stitches/3810-crochet-edgings-and-trims, but any trim you like will work.  You can also decide whether you want to leave the sleeves plain like mine or add trim to them too.  The possibilities are endless!  Weave in all the ends once you are finished, and block lightly if necessary to open up the stitch pattern. 

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial, and that you can finally get some use out of those old t-shirts! If you’re on Instagram, I would love to see your finished project! You can use #yarnhasmyheart to share your creations, and tag @yarn_has_my_heart in your photos ♥︎ 

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