Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Last weekend, we went to Atlanta to attend an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party hosted by our good friends.  Despite these sweaters seeming to be all the rage now around the holidays, we didn’t own any.  So naturally I decided I would make some for us.  And I even used all stash fabric to do so – bonus!

I used a pajama pattern (McCall’s 6251) to get the rough shapes for raglan-style shirts.  And I used some graph paper to draw out some Christmas-y shapes for appliques, which I then used as patterns on some Christmas-y fabric.  I decided one sweater would be penguin themed, and the other reindeer themed.  I loved the reindeer designs I used to make some reindeer wine glasses a couple years ago, so I just copied those again, being careful to choose the one with the least amount of legs sticking out …


And I found a cute and fat little penguin design which I rapidly decided to turn into godzilla penguin.  Wearing a santa hat.  With leftover gold lame fabric for a nice shiny beak and feet.


I did purchase some buttons to help make the sweaters more gaudy, and a glorious Christmas chevron patterned trim from the knitting department of Jo Ann’s to gather and use on my sweater.  My craft room already had some puffy fabric paint and glue, as well as gray, blue, white, and red knit fabrics for the sweater and sleeve bases.  Oh, and I had some snowflake covered organza that didn’t get used on my ice fairy costume – that was definitely going to be used in some aspect of a sweater.

I was excited to use my new serger to put these together, but first I had to use my normal machine for applique work.  And attaching the interesting snowflake sleeves to one sweater.  I was trying to bell the snowflake pieces out a bit, but in the end, the sleeves were way too long and I wound up shortening them.  Still looked cute.  I added some green bias tape to hide the seam, and some decorative buttons.


Also, snce I pretty much despise all hand sewing, when I “added buttons””, I cut the back loops off the buttons and used fabric glue to attach them to the sweaters.  Sounded WAY better than hand stitching all the buttons.  I stand by my decision.

Here’s a sample of what the reindeer appliques looked like after they were attached.  I used silver fabric paint to draw on the antlers and the text below.  Despite my best efforts the deer are not quite aligned horizontally.  But fuck it, it’s an UGLY sweater anyway, right?  I have been looking for a way to use the adorable blue reindeer fabric (found in the scrap bin at Hancock a few years ago) that I used for the appliques for a long time.  And now it is mine forever!  Mwah-hah-hah-ha!


Next step was to gather the crazy trim.  I read up on it, and discovered that I could do some very simple gathering by adjusting the tension on some of my serger threads.  I wound up using a 5, 5, 4, 4 tension setting on my Brother 1034D to achieve the following gathers.


Finally, it was time to piece together the sweaters.  Sleeves were attached to the front and back pieces of the sweaters first.  The result looked like this.


Then you fold along the sleeves, and stitch from sleeve cuff to the bottom of the shirt on both sides.  Easy peazy.  The last part is to attach the collar.  When you do this, you have to pull on the collar piece a bit to make it stretch to fit the opening on the neckline.  On one sweater, I had some issues where the serger missed connecting the pieces … ooops.  I went back over and wound up with some puckers.  Oh well.  Here are the final sweaters while I glue on all the decorative bits.


I also tried my hand at making some decorative bows out of some ribbon I had in the craft room.  I glued on pin backings so we could attach them to the sweaters and remove them easily.  It’s hard to see, but I also had leftover decor from the ice fairy crown that got added to the leftmost bow .



The party itself was awesome!  Suzanne is an organizer extraordinaire, and had signs, labels, decorations, and food planned super well.  Mostly finger foods were served – bacon wrapped dates, cranberry brie bites, sandwich rollers, veggies and dip …


…a charcuterie area …


… and can’t forget the desserts – white chocolate almond dip with nilla wafers, gingerbread trifle, and lots of chocolate dipped sweets.  She also had several festive drink recipes setup near some yummy pre-made SoCo punch, but I apparently forgot a picture there.


A white elephant gift exchange was part of the evening, and some of us sat by the firepit outside and talked while hunting for meteors from the meteor shower (I actually saw a few).


There was a photo booth setup, with cute wrapping paper as a background, and a few props to use for photos.  Here are some of the shots from the evening.  It is possible that my shiny leggings got more attention at the party than the sweater did HAHA.


And here is a shot where you can actually see the silver leggings.


BAM!  And now me with the hostess-with-the-mostest.


She made their sweaters too (and some for the dogs!).


It was a very fun weekend, and a fun project to make the ugly sweaters.  As a bonus, Sparc is having an ugly sweater day at the office today, so I’m likely getting another use out of my fun sweater project as you read this 🙂   And I imagine several more over the next Christmases to come.

I’m not sure how many more posts I will get around to writing this year, with company coming and all the busy surrounding that.  Wishing you all very happy holidays, regardless of which one you choose to celebrate!


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