DIY Christmas jumper bunting sewing project – The Second Hand Santa Challenge with Emmaus

This week has been an incredibly crafty one for me - first it was the wreath-making workshop and today's blog post is all about my latest sewing project: Christmas jumper bunting. Scroll down to see my step-by-step guide to making this fun festive project - I hope you'll give it a go yourself!

In the lead up to Christmas, The homelessness charity Emmaus is asking people to thrift, craft and upcycle second hand items from our Emmaus charity shops across the UK to create bespoke Christmas decorations, jumpers, party outfits and gifts as part of its Second Hand Santa Challenge. I love all things festive and crafty, so you can imagine how excited I was to be invited to take part in this fun seasonal challenge.The challenge covers a different theme each week and Emmaus is working with some of the UK’s top upcycling, craft, fashion and thrift bloggers (including me, hurrah!) to show everyone how to create their own bespoke Christmas decorations, jumpers, party outfits and gifts on a budget. This week’s theme is Christmas decorations so be sure to check out all the other blog posts and projects that have been created with this theme in mind – here’s the list of contributors so you can see their fun projects too!If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may have already noticed that I’m a big fan of Christmas jumpers. I’m practically a collector! Did you spot my Christmas jumper cushions project last month? I loved making the cushions so much that I wanted to use some more festive knits in my project for the Second Hand Santa Challenge too. Here’s how I got on:


Christmas jumpers, pillow cases or old cotton fabric, ribbon, scissors, cardboard, needle or a sewing machine, matching thread.


Step 1 – Take a deep breath and cut apart your Christmas jumpers! Cut down the side seams and remove the arms, leaving large panels of knitted fabric. Step 2 – Measure out the size of the bunting ‘flags’ you want. I chose a medium-sized triangle, then added a 1cm seam allowance around all the sides. Cut this out of thick card to use as a template.Step 3 – Position the template on the knitted fabric, making sure that you get as much of the pattern inside the flag as possible. Cut out your first flag.Step 4 – Continue cutting out flags from the jumpers, using a variety of colours, patterns and styles. Lay them out on a table, leaving a gap between each flag.Step 5 – When you have enough flags to fill your length of ribbon, use the template to cut the same number of backs from a matching old pillowcase or cotton fabric. Step 6 – Pair up the cotton fabric backs and knitted fronts, with right sides facing inwards. Stitch around two edges of the point of the flag, leaving the top that attaches to the ribbon open.Step 7 – Turn the flag right-side out, using a bamboo skewer or blunt pencil to poke out the very tip of the flag. Step 8 – Iron each piece of bunting flat and then pin them along a length of ribbon, with the ribbon in front of the open top edge of the flags.Step 9 – Use a straight stitch to attach the bunting to the ribbon. Use a second line of straight stitching or zig-zag stitching on your sewing machine to secure the top of the flag to the top of the ribbon.If you like, you can fold a wider ribbon in half and iron in the fold, to create your own version of bias binding. Simply tuck the open top edge of the flags inside the folded ribbon and straight-stitch all the way along the ribbon to seal them in place. Hang on the walls or drape over your Christmas tree!This is a great project if you have old jumpers that have sadly been shrunk in the wash or moth-eaten, or damaged in some way – don’t bin them! Upcycled the fabric into bunting to prettify your home for Christmas. And if you find a fantastic fair isle pattern on a festive jumper in your local charity shop, don’t despair if the size won’t fit you – maybe you too could turn into a string of bunting that’ll look great in your home throughout the autumn and winter.The main aim for the challenge is to get more people into the charity shops during December and raise awareness of the work that Emmaus do with homeless people across the country. Not only do they want people to see the quality of their stock and great value for money, but also want to highlight the wider benefits of buying second hand from Emmaus charity shops. All money raised in our charity shops goes directly back into the running of Emmaus communities and to supporting Emmaus companions in re-building their self-esteem and moving on with their lives. What do you think of this fun Christmas jumper bunting project? I had great fun making it this week and now it’s hanging proudly in my kitchen to bring a splash of festive colour to the space. I’ll be doing another DIY for the Second Hand Santa Challenge during the week before Christmas, and next time I’ll be showing you how to create some unique gift wrapping for last-minute gifts, so pop back on the 20th – if not before!

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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