Updated for 2021 : Welcome to our collection of horrible sweaters for Christmas and the holidays. In this article you’ll find some pictures of horrible do-it-yourself inspired sweaters as well as instructions on how to create your own custom design to make you look, among other things, incredibly ugly!
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The ugly sweater trend has been on the rise in recent years and is a very trendy fashion concept, especially at Christmas time, both at work and at home.
Let’s start with a short introduction about horrible sweaters, then we’ll present you with images of different ideas:
What is an ugly sweater?
There is no clear definition of an ugly sweater, just as there is no clear design or colour combination.
However, all horrible sweaters have common characteristics. According to the Urban Dictionary, ugly looking, oversized sweaters in ugly colors are often worn by hipsters without a sense of fashion or by the elderly.
Other tell-tale lights are the use of generous shades of green and red, comically large statues of reindeer, Christmas trees, snowmen and all kinds of felt or tassels. They are sometimes called Cosby jerseys, named after the iconic actor/comedian Bill Cosby.
But in my opinion it’s not really an ugly garment, it’s just funny, but strangely enough it’s looking for attention.
In fact, most people assume that ugly sweaters are designed to be really attractive. It’s just our sense of fashion and the ever-changing judgment that makes us think that once in fashion, beautiful sweaters are ugly.
Speaking of changing fashions: Where did you get that ugly sweater? – Or at least, when did people start to think they were ugly? Let’s talk briefly about how it all started.
A brief history of the sweaters
Determining the growth of this trend is not an easy task. But at least we see that they have been popularized by two icons: Bill Cosby and Chevy Chase, who made those hideously attractive sweaters fashionable.
This trend became popular in the early 1980s, but disappeared at the end of the 1990s and resurfaced around 2001-2002.
This trend continues to climb the ladder of the fashion industry and since 2010 hideous Christmas sweaters are back in fashion.
But why the ugly Christmas sweater? Well, two reasons: first, nostalgia and second, our crazy obsession with fashion and aesthetics.
Hideous sweaters have that Christmas story that reminds many of us of the good old days with grandma and company.
Remember those Christmas nights when you used to go to bed so Santa brought you presents at night? In fact, it reminds us of what Christmas was like before it turned into a simple Super Bowl of business.
On the other hand, the ridiculous colors and patterns are literally contrary to all known fashion standards and laws – and that’s really the point.
Our culture is obsessed with the latest fashion trends in an attempt to comply with certain rules and protocols; this is how the trend towards hideous sweaters began.
How to make your own hideous Christmas jersey
When it comes to creating (or ugly) your own style for a Christmas party or other event, we recommend that you first decide on the overall look you want.
The easiest way is to choose a large Christmas object (imaginary or real) and make it the center of your sweater. If you don’t use a sewing kit, it’s best to make the sweater for the day of the party – that way the glitter gel and glue can dry in time.
Here are some tips to help you make your own Christmas sweaters at home.
- Put on a sweater before you do anything. This allows you to stretch it before you decorate it, so that when you finally apply it after decorating, it won’t deform your designs.
- Think about your theme before sewing or pasting. It is useful to spread everything out over a sweater and see what it looks like before you make it permanent.
- Put the padlock in the sweater so that the glue does not stick on both sides. The foil does a good job.
- Cut the wool into shapes using templates
- If you use a complete set of hideous sweaters, chances are they will come with small templates that you can use to cut out different shapes.
- You can find other models online and even follow them directly from your computer screen.
- You can also cut the marker into letters and write something with it.
- Do you have extra Christmas decorations? Mix them together.
- You can use ribbons to write words or you can imagine kitschy decorations.
- Onions in all sizes and shapes can be glued or attached to a sweater; the bigger and glued, the better!
- Personal contact
- To further personalize your shirt you can add a nice picture of yourself, your friend or your icon.
- Add other items
- With most kits you can add any (preferably lightweight) holiday item to your sweater. Items such as a Santa hat, wreath or stocking can have a big impact on your sweater with minimal effort.
- Auxiliary device
- By using a sweater as a centrepiece, you can make things a bit kitschy and sticky, especially with accessories.
- Scarves, hats, stupid glasses, mittens and crazy socks are just some of the things you can stack on your ugly sweater.
Below we have 30 of the best awful sweater ideas you can make and use at Christmas parties or other events.
#1 Tilt ladder
Source and do-it-yourself instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/UGLY-CHRISTMAS-SWEATER-DIY-2013-Tipping-the-Ladder/
This Tipping the Ladder design is largely made of materials that can be found in thrift stores and extremely cheap dollar shops. If you are planning to make such a sweater, we suggest you plan ahead and visit the local thrift stores early enough (for Halloween) to find everything you want for this sweater.
Some of the materials needed for this:
1 green sweater – preferably elastic
1 glue gun
1 wooden apron
1 model train set
Large stock of random decorations from a thrift store or dollar shop
1 ladder – homemade or found
Christmas lights and accessories – dollar shop
1 Christmas doll
1 scary doll – from a thrift store or your private collection
Something to support a sweater inside – I used random
1 half sheet 1/4 plywood
#2 Cheap and ugly Christmas sweater
Source and do-it-yourself instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-any-sweater-an-ugly-Christmas-sweater/
If you can’t find an ugly Christmas sweater in your local thrift store, you can transform any sweater by following the instructions above and learn some basic sewing skills.
Here is a short list of the equipment you need:
- A sweater, preferably in a Christmas colour such as red, green, etc.
- A stuffed animal (a reindeer would be nice of course, but other animals could work too).
- Discussion thread
- Battery-powered LED lamp
- Other kit decorations
#3 Simple and ugly sweater
Source and do-it-yourself instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/Ugly-Sweater-1/
It’s a very simple idea that consists of random Christmas decorations and red and white wool (to make pompoms), all sewn on an old sweater.
#4 Granny style Homemade
Source and do-it-yourself instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/Your-Grandma-Would-Be-Proud-Ugly-Sweater/
All you need is a glue gun (or needle thread if you know how to sew), a sweater (preferably large for your size), and some old Christmas stuff that you’re going to glue to the fabric.
#5 Ugly sweater gift box
Source and do-it-yourself instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/Recycled-Woven-Gift-Wrap-Vest/
It’s an interesting concept that makes its own hideous sweater with the help of Christmas wrapping paper.
In principle, you should collect several sheets of wrapping paper together (try not to tear the wrapping when opening the presents). Then cut the paper into strips one centimetre wide, lay them side by side and weave the strips horizontally. All instructions can be found on the link above.
#6 Pullover of a reindeer pair
Source and do-it-yourself instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-Reindeer-Couples-Ugly-Sweater/
Great idea for couples. They both become real reindeer, side by side.
#7 Ugly blue sweater
Source and do-it-yourself instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/Blue-Ugly-Christmas-Sweater/
How about an ugly blue sweater made of foam, paper, pipe cleaner and fiberglass? A very simple design that you can easily realize (click on the link above for more information).
#8 Ugly dog jersey
Source and do-it-yourself instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/Up-cycled-Dog-Sweater/
The covered wagons are not only for people, but also for our pets. All you have to do is find an old grandfather’s big sweater and cut it to size for your dog.
Great Men’s Jumpers
Pins & Patience!
#9 Stuck in the chimney
Source and do-it-yourself instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/UGLY-CHRISTMAS-SWEATER-DIY/
Well, it’s a great product! The so-called fireplace sweater won the grand prize of $5,000 in a contest and needs an enthusiastic designer. A link to the full instructions is above.
#10 Light the ugly poncho on the Christmas tree
Source and do-it-yourself instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/Light-up-Christmas-Tree-Ugly-SweaterPoncho/
It’s an ugly Christmas poncho with an illuminated Christmas tree. It’s a good design idea for when you don’t have a spare sweater to sacrifice for the party.
Now let’s see 20 more pictures of homemade do-it-yourself ideas with naughty sweaters:
20 More ideas for awful homemade sweaters
Watch this Youtube video we made for Ugly Sweater Ideas.
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