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DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater

One week left to the ugly Christmas sweater competition at your party? Whether it’s an office party or simply a party with friends and family, these last-minute affairs and competitions can sometimes offer up nice prizes (or maybe you just enjoy the laughs). You see, the best way to win one of these competitions is to dive into your craft cabinet and make the best possible “ugly Christmas sweater” your friends and coworkers have ever seen.

Start with the Best

With only a week or so to buy your sweater, you need to act fast. Find something with an eye-hurtingly bright red or green color. Even more shocking is anything with zig-zag stripes and white snowflakes woven into the pattern. If it has a simple Christmas design that takes up a large portion of the front (a sleigh or Christmas tree especially) then you’re even better off!

Get a heavy fabric, felt works especially well for this project, and trace out the design you want on the front. You can copy a sleigh, the green of a tree, or (if you’re particularly crafty) an iconic character. Cut out the felt and make sure it lines up reasonably well with the image you’re replacing on the sweater. Remember, it’s not necessarily about doing the best job ever, this is supposed to be an ugly sweater after all (but you can use this method for clever and crafty lighted sweaters).

Place Some Lights

First, use battery-powered LED string lights. These lights produce less heat, require less power, and are designed to be more portable than their incandescent cousins. Besides, you don’t want to risk mild burns while having to stand next to an outlet throughout the party. The main benefit is really the battery pack, as you’ll be able to keep the lights on all day if you need to.

Start from the end of your design and work your way back. Use a pair of scissors to cut a small slit into the fabric and push the end of each tiny led through the slit. As you work back, you should try to reach the end of the design before you run out of lights. Having one or two extra lights left over isn’t a problem, we’ll just hide them.

Either sew a pocket into the back of the design to hold the battery pack (you may need to access it later) or cut a small hole in the sweater to push the batter pack through. If you do this, you’ll want to run the cable down into a pocket somewhere else for safe-keeping.

Sew the design onto your sweater to hold it in place. Congratulations! You now have an amazing ugly Christmas sweater that you made yourself. The hand-made factor is almost certain to help you win out this year! If you want to go even more low-budget, consider using construction paper instead of fabric.