Sew 7 – Jumpers make fab skirts

Jumper-skirt conversionI do love cotton jumpers but they can become saggy baggy with age, which makes them perfect to be converted into a skirt for their second life.

Resewing clothes for pleasure, reward and sustainability is a 365-day journey I’m on this year as a way of demonstrating a different way of dressing by reusing and adding-value to natural fibres garments.

Back in 2006, a University of Cambridge study recommended the greatest beneficial change in future sustainability of textiles would occur if we purchased less clothing and kept it for longer.

The Cambridge report, Well dressed?, estimated UK consumers spent about £625 each on clothing in 2004. Increased spending coincided with dropping prices largely due to the rise of ‘fast fashion’ bringing faster turnover of styles than previously.

UK consumers are purchasing and disposing of around 35 kg of clothing and textiles per person each year, of which around 13% is collected for re-use, 13% is incinerated, and the remainder – 26 kg per person – is buried in landfill. I’m still looking for the Australian figures, if anyone can help?

We, as consumers, can drive change through the choices we make and these might include:

  • Buy second-hand clothing and textiles where possible
  • Buy fewer more durable garments and textile products
  • Lease clothes that would otherwise not be worn to the end of their natural life
  • Wash clothes less often, at lower temperatures and using eco-detergent
  • After washing, shake and hang your clothes to dry to minimise need for ironing
  • Extend the life of clothing and textile products through repair – and upcycling!

As Mahatma Ghandi said, be the change you want to see in the world.

Through upcycling, jumpers make great skirts. Crop the sleeves off the jumper and then cut along the shoulders to open out. Add elastic at the waist. To embellish this jumper-skirt, I cut up a complementary cotton skirt. I added the bottom frill to the jumper-skirt and used the top part (of the second skirt) to line the new skirt. Am I making sense? I used the sleeves and an off-cut of the jumper to decorate a polo top, which I livened up by using pinking sheer scissors to crop the sleeves, trim the collar, and shorten.

Sew it Again 7 construction