Make Your Own Ugly Holiday Sweater

Intro Post
Have fun and be a little crafty this year and make your own version of an Ugly Holiday Sweater. Be the envy of all your friends at the next Ugly Sweater Party. The more crafty the better. Bling out a plain red sweater using felt, ribbon, fabric paint and embroidery. A Brother sewing/embroidery machine is just perfect to add appliqués and embroidered snowflakes.



  • SA5906 Adhesive Backed Water Soluble Stabilizer
  • Tailors Chalk
  • Coordinating thread colors
  • Ribbon: 1 ½” wide. How much? The length and width of your sweater.
  • Gold Ribbon: 1pc ¼” X 4”
  • Fabric Paint: white, orange, black, white glitter paint
  • Plain purchased red sweater, or one from your closet
  • Fine Paintbrush
  • Felt Squares: 1 white glitter, 1 green, 1 black


We like to cut out all of the felt parts, lay them out on the sweater to see where we will want to add the machine embroidered details, do the machine embroidery, and then stitch on the felt pieces. This will enable you to maneuver the sweater easier for the machine embroidery. The photos show how we laid the felt parts out in our planning stages.

Let's Get started

  1. Turn the sweater inside out and apply the adhesive backed water soluble stabilizer to the backside of the front of the sweater. Now turn right side out, laying the sweater on a flat surface front side facing up.
  2. Measure the width of the sweater from side seam to side seam. Measure the front length from near the neck opening to the bottom of the sweater. Add two inches to each measurement.
  1. Cut both measurements from the wide ribbon. If you purchased wired ribbon, remove the wires from both sides. Position the shortest length of ribbon three inches up from the bottom band on the sweater. Pin in place, folding over each end one inch. Do the same with the long length of ribbon overlapping the first. Follow the image above for perfect placement. You can also spray quilter spray adhesive to the back of the ribbon to temporarily hold it in place while you stitch.
  2. Set your machine to a zigzag stitch with a width of 2-4 and a length of 1-2. You may want to test the stitch settings on a sample to decide your ideal length and width. Sew the ribbon edges to the sweater.
  3. Remove from the machine and lay flat.

Cutting the Felt

  1. Cut the white felt piece of fabric felt square in half lengthwise. Set one piece aside for now.
  1. Cut the snow mound out lengthwise starting high on one side tapering down to the other side. Place on the sweater where the ribbon intersects with each other.
  2. Print out the FREE PDF Tree and Snowman Felt Patterns
  3. This is a great place to use the ScanNCut2. Cut out the tree from the green felt fabric and position it on the mount centering the tree with the neck opening.

  1. Cut out the snowman from the remaining white felt fabric. Tack the head, middle and bottom of the body together. Add the small gold ribbon to the neck of the snowman by tying it in place. It is easier to assemble the snowman before adding him to the front of the sweater later.
  2. Continue to cut out the hat and arms and place them where you like them.


Embroidering the Snowflakes

  1. With tailors chalk, mark where you would like to place your embroidered snowflakes. We noted them with white dots in our photo below. Set aside your felt pieces carefully as not to lose the hat and arms. Machine embroider snowflakes of your choice onto the sweater. iBroidery
    has a number of snowflake options! From small snowflakes
    , to medium
    to large


Stitching on the Felt

    1. Position the snow mound, tree and snowman on the sweater. Using matching thread and the zig zag or decorative stitch of your choice, stitch the felt pieces onto the sweater.

The Final Touches

  1. Using the black fabric paint, add two eyes, mouth and buttons to embellish your snowman.
  2. Make a carrot nose with the orange fabric paint.
  3. Change to white fabric paint and add snow to your tree and lines to define the body of the tree. Add some glitz using glitter paint to embellish the tree, snowman and snow mound. Make them sparkle!
  1. To add the finishing touch to your sweater, cut a length of wide ribbon a yard long and create a bow to add to the bottom of the sweater where the two ribbon strips meet. Stitch on close to the knot in the center of the bow.
IMPORTANT: Allow the fabric paint to dry for approximately two days before you remove all water soluble stabilizer.
Have you made your Ugly Holiday Sweater? Be sure to post photos on Facebook
and Instagram
and tag us @BrotherSews and #StitchingSewcial so we can see what you've made, and as always, we love hearing from you, so don't hesitate to leave a comment!