How To Make An Ugly Christmas Sweater On The Cheap!

How to Make Ugly Christmas Sweater
When my children hit their teen years (and now in College) I soon learned that keeping a stash of fun holiday supplies to make "Ugly Christmas Sweaters" for holiday parties was a MUST! In my family, half the fun is in the making of the sweater before the party, so having a fun stash of supplies on hand is a necessity!

I don't want to spend a fortune and pay full price for supplies during the holidays, so over the years, I've learned to pick things up after Christmas during the clearance shopping and stash them away in my holiday craft bin, for when any Ugly Sweater Party comes up.

Before I share my shopping tips here are some of my Ugly Sweater Tips: 

First the sweater: I make the children head straight to the thrift store. If you can not recycle a sweater you already have, then pick one up from a charity thrift store is the next best thing.

In the sweater above, I found a forest green men's sweater for $1.00! BINGO! Perfect to send to my college son, who I knew would need a fun sweater at some point before semester exams came to an end!

Second: Adding your own Personality: Besides just making a crazy sweater, at random, it's fun to make one that fits the personality of the wearer, if you can.I usually balance personality with supplies available. Think about their personality and how you can design a sweater that fits them, if you can.

In the sweater above, The grey striped Kitty face is our own Ty-Ty. Our other Cat is a black cat, and I knew his face wouldn't show up on the sweater, so I had to use a different Kitty face, but I wanted to surprise our son, who LOVES cats, (and especially our cats) and design a cat sweater, because I knew it would fit his crazy personality. (I used Iron on printable transfer paper and printed out photos of the cats and then ironed them onto the sweaters!)

Third: How to "attach" all that Stuff to the sweater: I use a variety of ways! everything from hand sewing with needle and thread. (all my kids know how - sons and daughters), to hot glue guns, to iron on fusible webbing, to even just safety pins. whatever it takes! Get creative, and use the skills you have!

In the sweater above, the "brown mittens" on the Santa Kitty are actually the reindeer ears from the antlers on the other Kitty! You'd never know if I didn't tell you, huh? Use everything and think out side of the box!

In the sweater above, the kitties were ironed on, the coats and hats were hand stitched in "strategic spots to keep them well secure. The antlers were ironed on with fusible webbing, but could have been hot glued.


1. HOLIDAY THEMED WINE BOTTLE COVERS: In the photo in this post, both the Santa Suit/Hat and the Reindeer Coat/ Antlers were parts of Wine Bottle Gift giving covers, meant to go over the bottle (and the hat and antlers to go over the cork).  I ALWAYS find these type things on the clearance sales at all types of stores! and their size is perfect for sweaters!

2. ORNAMENTS: Think Flat Felt type Ornaments such as gift packages, stockings, trees, snowmen, anything that is flat, and can be glued on or sewn onto sweaters! Grab them!

3. SPARKLY POM-POM'S, PLASTIC POPCORN STRINGS, SMALL RED BEADED GARLAND, PRETEND STRING OF LIGHTS, ETC.: You'll want small ones, usually from the miniature tree section, but grab some sparkle! that can be thrown on or designed into some blingy, crazy fun!

4, HOLIDAY RIBBONS AND BOWS: My favorite is fabric ric-rac. (that zig-zag stuff) but also holiday themed ribbon and bows that are on mark down.

5. MINIATURE WINTER ITEMS: Whether you grab doll sized scarves and hats, or baby sized winter mittens and hats or socks. look for anything small and winter themed that you can grab and tuck away.

Jan's Final Tip: THINK OUT OF THE BOX~: Look at every item in a NEW way.. whether it is a "build a snowman "sticker kit" or something else.. look at is a potential for putting on a sweater in some way.. Every item! If you can figure out how to attach it to the sweater.. and it is fun and CHEAP, then grab for the sweater box!

Cost breakdown;
Sweater: $1.00
Bottle covers: 2@ .50 cents each = $1.00
iron on transfers, ink, fusible webbing: = $1.50 (approx.)
Total Cost of Today's Sweater: $3.50 (may have been less I had to guesstamate on the ink, and transfer, webbing cost).
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