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How to Fold a T-Shirt

The Martha Stewart Show, September 2005

To learn how to fold T-shirts like an expert, download these illustrated directions. Then, lay a T-shirt horizontally and faceup in front of you with the neck on the right-hand side, and follow these easy steps.

1. Using both hands, pinch the shirt on the side opposite you at two points: (a) with one hand at the shoulder, midway between the sleeve and the neck and (b) with the other, halfway down the shirt, parallel to your other hand.

2. While holding the two points, cross your right hand over your left, bringing the shoulder down to meet the shirt's bottom hem, and grab the hem.

3. Lift the shirt so it hangs in front of you. Uncross your arms without letting go of the shirt, and pull the fold taut as you do so.

4. Place the hanging sleeve on the work surface, and neatly drape the folded portion over to finish.

Illustrated directions for folding a T-shirt


Comments (41)

  • vintagelove15 10 Jul, 2013

    It took me several try's, and seemed impossible. But after watching the video and THEN reading the instructions, it made perfect sense!! This is a brilliant idea, to save space and time, Thanks Martha!

  • Jnel28 23 Dec, 2010

    This was amazing. My parents and I just watched this video 3 times trying to figure out how you magically did that. Thanks for the cool tip! Nothing like bonding over t-shirt folding before Christmas!

  • m4mccarthy 26 Jul, 2010

    I had to watch it twice too. I was so busy watching Marsha that I forgot to watch Martha do it the right way. ;-)

  • Chaiya 15 Jul, 2010

    I will fold shirts like this for the rest of my life! it's brilliant. I had googled shirt folding and this did NOT come up. I'm already loving my membership to Martha's website!

  • inexcelsis 14 Jul, 2010

    Pretty neat trick, but I prefer the ultra-tidy look of folding in thirds. I don't know much about celebrities, so I can only imagine that the guest was an actress with special needs. Simple activities must seem like monumental tasks to her. Good job for trying! You keep at it!

  • Yankiwi 13 Jul, 2010

    This is very cool. I had to watch the video twice before I got it but it is very easy, even with long sleeves. (Just tuck the loose sleeve in at the end.) I'm glad Martha passed this method on, I don't think she said it was her idea, just a great technique she wanted to share, so thanks, Martha.

  • kaceey 12 Jul, 2010

    I'm so glad to see this. Just last month I was trying to remember how to do this. Thanks.

  • TheChort 11 Jul, 2010

    This guy shows how to fold a long sleeved t-shirt with the same method. (just skip to the last half of the video).

  • meebzilla 10 Jul, 2010

    You know, it never fails. On every single MS article, someone posts a slam against Martha. If you hate her so much, why even read these articles? Get a life and leave the helpful and interesting tips to the rest of us who enjoy them.

  • WestVillager 10 Jul, 2010

    Really like this method, esp in the summer when there's a lot of t-shirts to fold. Easy to get a rhythm going! Not tried but simply visualizing it, long sleeves need to be crossed over themselves, secured by the final fold to get the same look/shape. In this case that fold is done sooner, so the hanging sleeve will run across one side when laid back down to fold and be bunched/loose in the back I think?

  • TheChort 10 Jul, 2010

    Once again Martha does not reference the source of her idea. This Japanese t-shirt folding method has been around for ages.

  • scatkin 10 Jul, 2010

    This works!! I tried it when Martha first came back on air and demonstrated the simple procedure! I love it!!
    Sandra A., Pembroke Pines, Florida 33026

  • chaddly 9 Jul, 2010

    This method is quick, but I have two problems with it: it ends up with a fairly wide final product, AND you have to pick it up from the bottom to move it or it just falls apart--it's not as portable as a regular fold.

  • mahjongger 9 Jul, 2010

    I am new to MS. I always read all the comments posted and notice that MS STAFF never answers any of them. Too bad! The last comment #26 posted -(1-25-2008) - I too would love Martha to help us on long sleeve T's!

  • tess_of_st_paul 9 Jul, 2010

    I tried this whenI first saw it on TV but it isn't as effective on XL t-shirts. I lay my t-shirts front-side down, fold the sleeves in, fold the bottom up about 1/3, fold that up the last 1/3, fold the right side at about the 1/3 mark to the left, fold the left over that. I have a t-shirt folded into a nice neat square. I use it for my sweatshirts and camis, too. I can put them in my drawers vertically.

  • gmaduck 9 Jul, 2010

    Yes, but how do I fold long-sleeved shirts quickly in this style?

  • CheriP77 9 Jul, 2010

    The Japanese have been folding shirts like this for a LONG time (probably why it looks like origami, as another person commented). But good that it is passed on - just not as Martha's idea.

  • bpgilliland 9 Jul, 2010

    I began using this technique when I first saw it on the tv show. It is such a great way to fold a shirt.

  • sinz 9 Jul, 2010

    its complicated my style is better just keep the back of the shirt in front of you then fold the left side and do the same on the other side vertically then give two folds

  • Nonnakoz6 9 Jul, 2010

    Just hang them on hangers

  • redheaded1 9 Jul, 2010

    I am such a klutz I don't think I could get the hang of this. I fold mine in half lengthwise, tucking the sleeves under, and fold again to half the length, and stack it with the left front side up. Works for me.

  • sharonsnead 9 Jul, 2010

    seems like origami to me !!!! I still working on folding my fitted sheet !!!! LOL !!

  • Dawn985 9 Jul, 2010

    I use my homemade shirt folder that I made out of cardboard. Not only did I save $30.00 making my own, it's much easier than this AND I recycled a cardboard box headed for the trash!

  • mmmmom 9 Jul, 2010

    I hang all my shirts on hangers. It's fast and avoids wrinkles and it's easier to find the one you want.

  • DHeart 9 Jul, 2010

    Okay, just for the record, this method of t-shirt folding isn't "Martha's idea". I first saw a video of this at least ten years ago where it was demonstrated by an elderly Chinese woman. But I'm glad Martha passed it on again.


    Glad you send this. When I first got married, my husband looked at me

  • reretobey 9 Jul, 2010

    after reading the written inst. I thought "who has time for this?", but after watching the video, I thought "that's a neat trick" My husband will even like this ( he helps fold laundry because he doesn't like the way I do it!)

  • blakesgg 9 Jul, 2010

    One of the best ideas I've seen. I started using this method about a year ago. T-shirts are more easlily identified in a drawer and much neater as well! jb

  • AAnderson 5 Aug, 2009

    I learned how to do this about a year ago and it's actually kind of fun. Like a magic trick almost. I show it off to amuse kids and the occasional adult.

  • TateTwo 5 Aug, 2009

    You can get a visual on this on youtube. Just search on fold t-shirt. My husband folds his like this all the time thanks to the video.

  • pinkpigtoes 5 Aug, 2009

    funny, some of us forget that there are young homekeepers who may not have learned the right way to fold clothes...yet. So this one can be useful. I gave it to my son in college.

  • bowtieboy 5 Aug, 2009

    Martha has thousands of ideas. And she would be amiss in not included this one. Gosh.

  • myfbil 5 Aug, 2009

    Is Martha getting desperate for ideas? How lame is this for a video. I expect more from Martha!!

  • Marcie1957 5 Aug, 2009

    But some of us don't.

  • michelebrit 5 Aug, 2009

    ok really some of know how to do this already !!

  • aquaaerobics 13 Jul, 2009

    i love this!! i'm sitting in front of my computer right now with the directions open, folding all my t shirts! can you use the same technique for sweaters?

  • sandramae 15 Jan, 2009

    This is how i fold all my t-shirts now - it's fast and efficient which is handy when you have tons of t-shirts but my problem is that how do you keep the size of the t-shirts consistent especially when you ahve tees of different sizes and cuts. Any suggestions?

  • fatmatosun 23 Oct, 2008

    it's so clever and easier. thank you Martha.

  • kerrlm 4 Jun, 2008

    This simple solution makes life SO much easier! Thank you, Martha!

  • abir 31 May, 2008

    your technique to hang t-shirt is great.i will use it to fold my t-shirts from this moment..thanks,you are great person..

  • barbie1467 25 Jan, 2008

    I use this technique on all of my short sleeve t-shirts. How do you incorporate this into folding "long" sleeve t-shirts. I can't seem to figure it out but know that Martha can or already has. Thanks!

    Barbie Montgomery
    Tucson, AZ