The reason for this is felting. It can be a hugely straightforward process involving shrinking a 100% lambswool jumper in the washing machine. This has the effect of binding the fibres in the wool together to make a wonderful dense felted fabric that is ideal for sewing projects which won't fray when you cut into the fabric.. The key is to make sure sure that your jumper is made from 100% lambswool - any hint of a manmade fibre and it just won't work.
All you need to do is throw your unwanted jumper into the washing machine and wash on a hot or boil wash - 90 degrees works best. This will shrink your jumper to approx two thirds of its original size but will have magically bound the fibres to give it a thicker feel. Once dry it will be ready for a new life in the form of any sewing project that takes your fancy.
When I found the above jumper in my local charity shop I was delighted - colourful stripes for fab
upcycling ideas. So I have set myself the task of producing three projects from a single unwanted jumper....
....and here is the first - a cute and colourful handbag. It is the sumplest thing to make. Cut two pieces of the fabric in any shape. For this bag I chose a rounded bottom and added a simple flower. This was made by using the cuff from the jumper with a big pink button in the centre which matches one of the woolly stripes.
Once you have added any embellishments, pin the two pieces together with the right sides facing inwards and sew around the edges with a 1/2 cm seam. Backstitch is good as it gives extra strength or you can use a sewing machine. Turn the bag the right way around. To neaten the top edges fold inwards 1cm of the fabric and sew to give a neat edge.
To make the handles cut two strips 3cm wide from the sleeves of the jumper and fold over each other to form a tube shape then secure in place using overstitch. Position these on the inside of the bag and secure with a few stitches.
Once complete all you need to decide is whether to give as a gift or to keep for shopping expeditions! More woolly jumper upcycling ideas to follow.