Upcycle a jumper to save money and the planet this Christmas

By Naomi Evetts from www.loveyourclothes.org.uk

It’s that time of year again where people’s woollies start getting a little bit more festive. Why not get creative this year and transform an existing jumper into a one-off Christmas master piece. It is a great way of adding some ‘green’ style to your wardrobe, and saving some cash at the same time.

Our research has revealed that over ten million people in the UK are likely to buy a Christmas jumper this festive season, at a cost likely to be in excess of £300 million yet many will get worn only a handful of times. We’ve launched a 12 Jumpers of Christmas competition to inspire people to upcycle a pre-loved jumper as an alternative to buying a new one.


The clothing industry has the fifth-biggest environmental footprint of any UK industry. Upcycling an old jumper gives it a new festive lease of life. It is a great way of keeping clothes in use for longer and reducing the environmental impact of clothing. Extending the length of time we wear clothes by just three months would lead to a 5-10% reduction in their carbon, water and waste footprints.

We’ve got some great tip sheets and step by step guidance on our website to help you get crafty with your jumper: loveyourclothes.org.uk/12jumpers/ and will publicise the top 12 creations in December. Check out the website to find out how to make a Christmas pudding jumper, a reindeer jumper and more! A Janome sewing machine will be awarded to the best design with subscriptions to Simply Sewing and Reloved magazines up for grabs for runners up.

To enter, people just need to either decorate a jumper or cardigan they already have, or a pre-loved one (e.g. from a charity shop), so it can be worn instead of purchasing a new Christmas jumper. It can be for adults or children and should feature a creative Christmas theme. It also needs to be washable and designed so the decorations can be easily removed after it has been worn so it can continue to be used after Christmas. The designs will be judged by the Love Your Clothes team based on creativity, what inspired the design, how the design was made and what materials were used (extra points are available for incorporating re-used materials).


If you don’t feel that handy with a needle and thread why not consider buying a pre-loved Christmas jumper or swap and share last year’s with friends and family instead. Competition entrants should submit a good quality colour photograph (at least 72 dpi resolution) of their jumper plus a description of what inspired the design, how the design was made and what materials were used by e-mail to: loveyourclothes@wrap.org.uk with the subject ‘12 Jumpers of Christmas Competition’ in the e-mail title by 10 am on Monday 7th December.

We know that buying a Christmas Jumper is often in response to charity fundraising appeals but would urge people to jazz up a jumper and make a charitable donation with the money they’ve saved to their chosen cause instead.

We’ll be sharing top tips on Christmas jumpers and loving your clothes throughout November and December. Join in the fun by visiting loveyourclothes.org.uk/12jumpers/and following us on Twitter @loveyourclothes and #12jumpers.

The average lifetime of clothes is just over two years. Entering the 12 Jumpers competition is a great way for people to extend the lifetime of their old jumpers and make a jumper last for life not just for Christmas.

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