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Make your own UGLY Christmas Sweater

 

Create your own ugly Christmas sweater and sleigh the holidays!

The ugly Christmas sweater was worn as a joke to holiday parties and pub crawls but over the last several years, it’s become serious fashion.  These specialty sweaters can be pricey if you buy them at the department store but there’s no need to spend all your hard-earned cash when you can make your own. Let’s ‘tis the season and make an ugly Christmas sweater.  It’s the perfect project to spread some yuletide cheer.

Brother Sews Ambassador Logo

As a Brother Sews Ambassador I get to create all kinds of sewing projects using the BEST sewing and embroidery machines on the market.  There is so much you can do with a Brother machine and some fabric but my favorite is to refashion old clothing into a new style…giving it a new life.  This ugly Christmas sweater a festive project that takes an old sweater and turns it into holiday delight!Homemade Ugly Christmas Sweater

There is no right or wrong way to make an ugly Christmas sweater. You can add embroidery and appliqués to create whatever you find the most fun and festive. I made a Grinch theme using one of my favorite embroidery files, but you can steer your design wherever you want it to go! The best part about being creative is that you get to decide everything about the design.

Ugly Christmas sweater supplies

Supplies:

Brother sewing and embroidery machine
Adhesive stabilizer
Iron-on adhesive
Sweater or sweatshirt – I recommend anything gently used from the closet or thrift store
Holiday themed embroidery design
Holiday themed appliqué design(s)
Old t-shirts that have silkscreened words and text on them
Fabric scraps
Scissors
Straight pins

Start the making process
Make it:

Prep the sweater by marking the location for the top of the design.  I do this by trying it on and placing a piece if tape to mark the top of the design. You may think you know where the design will fall by eyeballing it, but trust me, you don’t want the top of your design to lay too low. So measure twice, make once.  Now, cut the sides of the sweater open so you can use add designs to the entire front (and back) of the sweater.

Measure placement Cut the sides

Using adhesive stabilizer in your hoop, lay the front piece of the sweater on the hoop. Secure it in place by patting it down.

Lay flat on adhesive stabilizer and hoop

On your embroidery machine, set up your selected holiday design. Start with the main feature of your design and add the smaller components to it. You can do all embroidery, or you can do all appliqué, but I like the idea of the different textures a mix of embroidery and appliqué provide to the look.

Create your design

As it’s being laid out, be mindful to leave some empty space where you will add your holiday greeting to the sweater using those old t-shirts.

Start the embroidery process with the main holiday theme. I placed a piece of light stabilizer over the top of my fabric so the design doesn’t pucker.

Embroidery process

Finish the embroidery and add your appliqué pieces.

Applique process

Applique process Cut out appliqué top stitch appliqué

Once the embroidery and appliqué processes are complete, un-hoop the sweater and tear away the stabilizer.

Let’s add even more “ugly” to your Christmas sweater using those t-shirts. Cut out letters from the old t-shirts to spell out a greeting or phrase.

Cut letters from t-shirt Create a word or sentence from the letters

Add iron-on adhesive to each letter making sure to follow the package directions.

Add iron-on adhesive to letters

Place the letters on the sweater and iron them on, then top stitch around each letter using a brighter colored thread than the fabric and a longer stitch length.

Lay the letters on the sweater design Iron the letters in place Top stitch letters on sweater

To add even more “ugly” décor to your sweater, add some pop-art embellishments using your fabric scraps. I added a Santa hat to my grinch by folding and creating the shape I want from my scraps.

Create a pop-art embellishment using fabric scraps Adding fabric art to sweater - Santa Hat

Pin it on your sweater and sew it in place. If you want extra credit, hand stitch pom-poms or jingle bells to your design.

Sew embellishment in place

To finish the sweater, pin the right sides together and sew up the side seams.  With a little inspiration and some imagination, you can create a handmade, ugly Christmas sweater.  Just put it on and you’ll be ready to sleigh the holidays!

Make your own UGLY Christmas sweater

Ugly Christmas sweaters can be pricey if you buy them at the department store but there’s no need to spend all your hard-earned cash when you can make your own. Let’s ‘tis the season and make an ugly Christmas sweater.  It’s the perfect project to spread some yuletide cheer.
Active Time5 hours
Course: Intermediate
Keyword: Christmas Fashion, DIY project, embroidery project, Sewing Project, Ugly Christmas Sweater
Yield: 1 sweater
Cost: $20-30

Equipment

  • Brother sewing and embroidery machine 

Materials

  • 1 Sweater or sweatshirt red, green, white, gold, or blue
  • Adhesive stabilizer 
  • Iron-on adhesive 
  • Holiday themed embroidery design and appliqué designs 
  • Old t-shirts with words and letters on the print
  • fabric scraps
  • scissors
  • Straight pins 

Instructions

  • Prep the sweater by marking the location for the top of the design. 
  • Cut the sides of the sweater open so you can use add designs to the entire front (and back) of the sweater. 
  • Using adhesive stabilizer in your hoop, lay the front piece of the sweater on the hoop. Secure the sweater in place by patting it down on to the adhesive. 
  • On your embroidery machine, set up your selected holiday design. Start with the main feature of your design and add the smaller components to it. You can do all embroidery, or you can do all applique, but try to create a mix of embroidery and applique to create the look.
  • Start the embroidery process with the main holiday theme and placed a piece of lightweight stabilizer over the top the sweater so the design doesn’t pucker. 
  • Finish the embroidery and add your appliqué pieces. Once the embroidery and appliqué processes are complete, un-hoop the sweater and tear away the stabilizer.
  • Cut out letters from the old t-shirts to spell out a greeting or phrase. 
  • Add iron-on adhesive to each letter making sure to follow the package directions. 
  • Place the letters on the sweater and iron them on, then top stitch around each letter using a brighter colored thread than the fabric and a longer stitch length.
  • Add some pop-art embellishments using your fabric scraps. 
  • Pin it on your sweater and sew it in place.
  • You’re finished. Just put it on and you’ll be ready to sleigh the holidays! 

About Jane

Hi I’m Jane!
A television host by day and a creative maker my entire life. I spend most moments of the day thinking about what I am going to make next, whether it be in the craft room or kitchen, I always have the urge to create.

My favorite things include fitness, fashion and food and my goal is to spread love everywhere I go. Yellow is my signature color because it always makes you smile, and I love to turn the camera on you to showcase your creative genius!

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