Reinventing The Ugly Sweater, DIY Style

Whether you love them, or love to hate them, ugly sweaters have become as big a part of the holidays as Santa himself. While there’s something to be said for the original, nostalgic appeal of pulling an old homespun snowman sweater out of the deep closet archives, the whole theme could use a little refresh.

For starters, let’s ditch the word “ugly.” The holidays are a time for magic and celebration, so get those ugly vibes out of here! Embrace that festive kitsch and let some over-the-top outfit decoration help show off your inner glow.

Another wild idea when it comes to the future of sweater-themed parties: Why not try a sweater you can wear more than once? There are plenty of fun ways to DIY a go-to cardigan or everyday pullover so that you can remove your flair once the party’s over. Here are a few of our favorite how-tos to help you go full Griswald.


Merry & Lights

AE DIY Sweater

Placing your battery pack near the hem of your sweater (so you can slip it in your jeans pocket!), lay your strand of lights over your sweater in the design you want and stitch it into place. Flip over and repeat on the other side. When you’re ready to lose the lights, carefully snip your stitches and remove the thread.

AE DIY Sweater

Be the Tree

AE DIY Sweater

Lay out your design on one side of the sweater, and stitch the garland and ornaments into place. Turn over and repeat. After the party, carefully snip the stitches and you can transfer those trimmings to another tree!

AE DIY Sweater


Chill Frosty

AE DIY Sweater

Cut the black felt into two large circles for the eyes, and smaller circles to form the mouth. Either cut a triangle out of felt, or make a paper cone out of paper to use as the nose. Stitch them on your sweater and remove them when you’re done.

AE DIY Sweater


Gingerbread Tux

AE DIY Sweater

For a more detailed look, you might want to consider something permanent like fabric paints. You could also cut out your snowflakes, peppermints, and bowtie from felt before stitching them on as in the other examples.

AE DIY Sweater

All Wrapped Up

AE DIY Sweater

This DIY couldn’t be simpler. Just peel off the backing to each bow and stick them on your dress to create an impressively presentable effect. You’ll want to give each bow a quick stick to keep it secure, or if you’re thinking you might want to keep this crafty number around a little longer, a dab of fabric glue would be even easier!

AE DIY Sweater

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