Trash to treasure: Ten ways to give your favourite knitwear a new lease of life
The season of sunshine may be upon us (many of us wait with baited breath to see if those pesky British showers stay away), and we think there’s no better time to upcycle your old knitwear and give it a new lease of life.
Whether you’ve grown tired of your once-favourite jumper or it’s been a victim of creepy critters over the years, there’s no need to throw it away – particularly if you’re in love with the colour, fabric or pattern.
Sure, you could easily donate your knitwear to your local charity shop, but what about those items that are way past their best?
We’ve put together some of our favourite ideas for transforming your knitted staples into new masterpieces so you can let your creative juices flow, while helping the environment one jumper at a time. Keep reading to find some serious fashion and homeware inspiration.
Knitwear reincarnation: Give your old knitwear a new silhouette
An old jumper offers an endless realm of possibility when it comes to upcycling. Perhaps you were gifted an eccentric piece that remains very much outside of your style boundaries; there’s no reason why you couldn’t transform it into something a little more wearable – and without even breaking a sweat too!
Do you always find yourself having to buy a plastic bag during a spot of daytime shopping? Try turning your pre-loved sweater into a handy tote bag instead. This handy reworking project is not overly complicated and will leave you with an accessory that no one could guess was made from an old jumper!
Simply cut a straight line under the armpits of the jumper, sew up the cut-off section and add a set of handles (an old cloth belt works perfectly for this) – you could even add a lining and pocket for the finishing touches.
A free wardrobe update
Summer is a favourite season for many of us British sun-worshippers, but it goes without saying that it may not be the best time of year to rock a knitted jumper. If you’re feeling particularly thrifty, upycling an old sweater into a skirt is a great way to get ready for the milder weather.
All you need for this one is an elastic waistband and some needle and thread – it’s that simple!
Wrap up in style for winter
The chillier months may be lurking in the distant future, but there’s no reason why you can’t put your right foot forward and get stuck into some cosier transformations.
Get a headstart on preparing for the colder months by making some mittens – these are simple to make and are an excellent project for sewing novices as they require very few materials and you can even sew them by hand if you don’t want to invest in a machine.
A comfortable pair of slipper socks are also a must-make when the temperatures drop. Simply cut off the sleeves of your knitted jumper and turn them inside out so that you can sew up one end – it’ll take you less than half an hour to fashion some cosy slippers!
Or why not use the existing hem of a jumper as the edge of a knitted hat or beanie? You’re bound to get plenty of wear out of this warm reinvention this winter.
How to transform a tired jumper into sophisticated homeware
If you’re looking to give your home a refresh this season, a few delicate and handmade knitted items can make a chic addition to your existing interior.
Time for tea
Turning your once-loved knitwear into homeware staples is a great way to refresh your interiors.
A creative way to recycle woollen jumpers: give them a new life as a one-of-a-kind tea cosy. Wool is one of the best insulators available and we can assure you that tea will certainly never go out of fashion – so neither will your tea cosy!
Made from two pieces of your beloved jumper attached together with a simple hand stitch, this DIY is super-simple and perfect for those that prefer a classic teapot over a more modern contraption. Plus, the basic concept gives you plenty of opportunity to experiment with embellishments such as embroidery or beading – why not match your tea cosy to your favourite mug?
Put your feet up
Looking to kick back and relax at the weekend? A knitted pouf ottoman is a great little project that isn’t too difficult or overly-complicated, and is perfect for spending some time with the kids. This comfy foot rest is customisable too; depending on the colour of your chosen jumper, you can coordinate it to match the rest of your furnishings for a sophisticated and polished look.
Some real home comforts
If you have more than one old jumper to reinvent, try making a patchwork throw in time for winter. This project gives you complete creative reign when it comes to the design, so you’ll have plenty of flexibility to produce something truly unique. Cut out evenly sized squares of fabric and stitch them together in whatever pattern tickles your fancy and et voila! A cosy addition to your living room sofa.
We hope this handy guide has given you a few ideas on how to upcycle your old knitwear. While you’re letting your creative juices flow, take a look through The Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s range of knitwear, featuring timeless men’s and women’s jumpers and cardigans made from the finest materials.