Making Ugly Christmas Sweaters
Deciding on a Sweater Theme
I found that the most difficult part of making an ugly Christmas sweater was knowing where to begin. As I sat there staring at my blank sweater canvas, I had no idea what to do, how to start, or what craft supplies to buy.
I was beginning to doubt my decision to host this year's office party; and for approximately 10 minutes, I just sat at my kitchen table and fidgeted with my craft supplies. Then it hit me as soon as I saw a candy cane. My sweater would be a red and white peppermint theme. Once I had decided on the a theme for the sweater, everything else fell into place.
Choosing the Sweater
A couple of my main concerns for my sweater were durability and function. It also needs to be comfortable. For this year's Christmas party, I chose an old, worn-out, cotton, Gap sweater, which I had for a decade or more. I chose the all-cotton sweater for a variety of reasons:
- Cotton is very breathable, light weight, and comfortable. Wools can become very warm, when running around greeting guests.
- I wanted to use a hot glue gun, because it was all I have to use. Cotton works well when adhering trinkets, glitter, glue, felt, etc., with the hot glue gun application process.
- The hot glue will not burn the cotton fibers. Hot glue can melt or burn man made fibers such as Rayon, Nylon, Polyester, etc., and wool tends to shrink when glue is applied to it.
- Cotton is very strong. It can easily handle objects that are slightly heavier (top heavy) such as a pine cone, Christmas ornament, bell, etc.
- The color will not fade or bleed, when the glue is applied to the fiber.
Upcycle Old Christmas Decor
I sometimes go overboard when an idea gets in my head, and it ends up costing me a fortune. This time I stuck to my guns, and bought very little craft supplies for this sweater project. I set my supplies budget at $10 dollars per sweater.
Setting a dollar amount helped me to stay focus to the task, and more importantly, it forced me to recycle. After rummaging through a few Christmas boxes, I had a gold mine of reusuable Christmas supplies. I spent a total of $4.39 for both sweater projects.
I plundered anything I could possibly see as having a function. Some of my best items came from an old 1990s Christmas wreath. I was able to harvest all kinds of ribbon, floral Christmas picks, a stem of red and white Christmas balls, silver bells, a felt stocking, and satin bows.
For my two sweater projects, I pillaged wrapping paper ribbon, gift bows, gold gift tag ribbon, felt, green window/door garland, and snowflakes from an old snowglobe kit.
A Fabulous Office Party Theme
December 20th is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day in the USA. It also happens to be the date chosen for my office/work Christmas party, which is hosted by my husband and I, later on that evening. Nevertheless, since the date coincided with the national event, we thought it only fitting to stick with the holiday theme.
Tool Supplies for a DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater
- 5 sticks hot glue, long
- 1 wire cutter, medium guage wire
- 1 hot glue gun
- 1 pair scissors, fabric
- 1 drop cloth/sheet, cotton
How to Start Making An Ugly Holiday Sweater
I start decorating my home Thanksgiving day weekend, for Christmas season. I finally hung the last bow two Saturday mornings later, round 10 am. Knowing I had this party coming up, it did not make me thrilled over the fact. I needed to start another craft project. Nevertheless, I sat down at my kitchen table and began hot gluing different holiday things on my sweater.
- I did not have a well thought out plan.
- I did go online and Googled ugly Christmas sweaters, but the ones I saw were really over the top. I did not have any luck online. The projects I saw online cost too much money for my set budget and required too much energy and time. If you have more time, a higher budget, and more energy, there are a lot of good ideas to try. Next year, I am planning on adding red lights to my sweater.
- I did not have a picture to go off of or trace onto my off-white sweater.
- I organized all my items according to color and style, e.g. all red items together, all candy cane items together, all snowflakes were put in a separate pile.
- I then put all the ribbons and bows into a pile of their own.
- The few Christmas tree ornaments I used were separated by style or color.
- I kept a trash can handy to dump discarded pieces into or to cut over, ensuring an easy clean up afterwards.
The Finished Looks
Tips for a Sweater Project
- Fabric glues take a really long time to set. Use a hot glue gun.
- Glitter gets messy. You are more likely to be wearing it in your hair, and on your face, by the end of the evening.
- Get parts for your project by recycling Christmas stuff off an old wreath.
Do you like the ugly Christmas party theme?
Questions & Answers
© 2013 Julie Grimes