Sunday, December 18, 2011

DIY Tacky Holiday Sweaters WITH CATS!
And a dog.

It's that time of year again -- tacky sweater time! Instead of rifling through thrift store rack in a hunt for the best vintage sweaters, Matt and I decided to make our sweaters this year. We made the best sweaters ever! Each of our sweaters had our animals in Santa hats, complete with jingle bells. And nothing makes the holidays more enjoyable than couples crafting activities!

The idea came to us when we were playing Scrabble on my coffee table on Monday night. It was like a giant light bulb when it came to us and I don't even remember which one of us spoke and said it first, but it was one of those mutual throughts and "ohmigosh" moments. I decided to put my cats, Clementine and Stella on my sweater, and Matt put his dog, Zeus, and cat, Mike, on his. 

To create a similar sweater with your animals on it, you will need:
  • Photo transfer paper, we used Avery Inkjet Light Fabric Transfer Paper.
  • White fabric, we used scrap banquet napkins
  • 1 large Santa hat, I bought mine at Salvation Army for $1
  • Red sweaters, I got mine at Salvation Army for $3.49 and Matt's for $1 at a locally owned thrift store.
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Jingle bells
  • Matching thread
  • Fray Check (optional)

Start with high resolution photos of your animals. I found it best to use photos where the animals face took up most of the photo. In photoshop, I used the "lasso" tool to take just the face from the photo, copy, and paste into a blank letter document in photoshop. This step is very important: FLIP THE IMAGE HORIZONTALLY! Because you are ironing on the transfer, it will be mirror image of what you print on the fabric. Had I not done this with Stella's face, she wouldn't look like herself.

Preview (also very important, because the paper is expensive and you don't want to make mistakes). Now print. Cut out the face from the paper and place face down on fabric. Follow the instructions that come with the paper. Be sure you DO NOT use steam. Allow fabric to cool completely and remove paper. What you peel off will resemble parchment paper.

Your animals face will be on the fabric! Cut out from the fabric, using fray check on the edges if desired. I left a tiny white edge to make their faces appear more bold against the sweaters. 

Position the faces where desired on the sweater and pin in a few places. Sew the faces to the sweater. This can be tricky for a novice seamstress, as the sweater will want to stretch and move and the transfer will not. The feed dogs (the metal grooves that feed your fabric through the machine) will push the sweater and the transfer will stick a little if not careful. Take your time with this step. You can release the tension on the presser foot. This knob should be at the very top of your machine, in line with the shaft and needle. This allows you to move the sweater with a little more ease.

Matt shows Zeus, Zeus.

Matt helped with the next step. Take your human sized Santa hat and cut out triangle for the hats. Fold over the long edges and sew. Matt was a quick learner on my sewing machine. I left him alone and he did so well. I was thoroughly impressed. My boyfriend has talent!

After sewing the raw edges of the hat, attach the white furry trim along the short side of the triangle. 

Position the hats on the sweater as desired and hand sew. I used clear nylon thread but I do not recommend it because it is SO hard to see and is very frustrating when sewing by hand. I switched to red and white thread by the time I got to hand sewing on my sweater.

Using a hot glue gun, glue the pompoms of the hat to the tips of the triangle. Place a piece of cardboard behind the part you are glueing or you will glue the back of the sweater to the front. Adorn with jingle bells, bows, trim, maybe even puff paint with animal names of a nice greeting. And you're done. Time to party!

With our friends at the "tacky sweater" party.

Matt and I. We looked so awesome together. I would be in conversation with a friend, then look down or at Matt's sweater and bust out laughing. It was so comical to me. And they were a huge hit amongst our friends. Not to mention the noise we made walking around. Jingling everywhere we went!

Love this picture of the two of use, or is it of the six of us.

Hope you all enjoyed my tutorial of these DIY holiday sweaters! They turned out so amazing I can't wait to wear mine again this week! If only I can convince Matt to wear his again... we'll see.

Matt and I are relaxing on our Sunday evening with a pot roast in the Crock Pot and the much anticipated Patriots/Broncos game on the big screen. Look at me, knowing NFL teams, Matt's rubbing off on me. Happy holidays! I'm finally getting in the Christmas spirit. I even bought Egg Nog today! 

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  1. I just wanted to let you know that I featured it this week on "You Sew Rock Me Fridays" on my blog Here's the link if you want to check it out:

  2. Oh I am dying with your DIY shirts! I am an animal lover so having this kind of shirt will make me happy and contented.