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DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater Dress Refashion

A '70s Terry Cloth Dress Refashion & My First Pecha Kucha!
How to Add an Elastic Waist to a Dress: A Drastic Elastic Refashion

When a staffer at our local newspaper, The State contacted me and asked if I’d like to do an Ugly Christmas Sweater refashion for them to feature in their Life & Style section, I of course, said yes.

What followed was some 40 or so emails where they wanted me to either make a tacky sweater normal or make a normal sweater tacky (How uninspired!) and me refusing to do that and instead insisting on making a ballgown out of a BUNCH of Christmas sweaters.

I’m very stubborn.  πŸ™‚

I started off with six Christmas sweaters.

Jillian and friend in ugly Christmas Sweaters
Much like theeeese!

As you can see from the above pic, this isn’t my first Ugly Christmas Sweater Party rodeo, friends!

I unpicked the bodice of a dress I liked the fit of (but that was worn-out) and used it as a template for the bodice of my new dress.

creating pattern pieces
Using an old-worn out dress as a pattern for the bodice!
fitting bodice of dress
Bodice done! But what about the rest?

Then, I traced the skirt part of another dress I really liked to make a pattern for the bottom of my new dress.

pattern for bottom of dress
I drafted a pattern for the bottom based a gown I really like.

And here’s a video where I explain my process (and yes, I know my voice is weird, okay?).  πŸ™‚

Everything got all nice & stitched together, and now….


DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater Dress Refashion after
DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater Dress Refashion after back
Le back!
DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater Dress Refashion after close up
Come cloooooooser!

Of course, I don’t just make dresses to not be seen!  My fahhhhhbulous new frock enjoyed an Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl with some of my favorite people!

refashionista and friends in christmas sweaters
Love these guys!
refashionista and friends christmastime
Oh MY!
Jillian between two friends
Such handsome fellas!
Jillian, Erin, and Karen in Christmas sweaters
These ladies are pretty swell too! πŸ™‚

And look what I saw first thing this morning!  πŸ™‚

Refashionista's dress on the cover of Life & Style section of newspaper

You can read the full article right here!  πŸ™‚

Big Mondo Major thanks to The State for letting me play.  πŸ™‚  This is my absolute favorite project to date.  I’m really proud of it, and I hope you guys like it too.  πŸ™‚


refashionista in christmas sweater dress in studio
refashionista ugly christmas sweater dress refashion before and after
A '70s Terry Cloth Dress Refashion & My First Pecha Kucha!
How to Add an Elastic Waist to a Dress: A Drastic Elastic Refashion

147 thoughts on “DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater Dress Refashion”

  1. Absolutely, Positively in LOVE with this Re-fash!! you did a wonderful job. I wish I was half as tzalented as you!!! (I am still learning to sew but you are an inspiration!!

  2. WOW! Your recreative vision is awesome, you have an amazing talent! I came across your blog today and totally love what you do and the humour you present it with!! Fan-f***ing-tastic! you rock with this blog, keep it up! .. and your self deprecating humour, I hope it’s not real because you are so fantastic, so believe you are the best, because you are!

  3. What a SWELL dress and what a great press piece!! Now THAT’S what to do with Tacky Christmas Sweaters. Very well done, sleek well-executed, well-fitting design, with your usual touch of humor. Superb! Merry Christmas to you and all of your supporters. I always enjoy this group!

  4. “Bam!” is exactly right!! This is so cool πŸ™‚ And you could be a model, you know. Just saying. A model who likes to be happy and have fun instead of being all pouty and angry looking πŸ™‚

  5. I love your dress! It gives so much hope to ugly Christmas sweaters everywhere!
    As a voice-over artist, I can tell you that your voice is lovely, not weird at all.
    It might sound weird to you but that’s just because it sounds different from what you hear when you speak.
    Don’t worry, that’s what it does to everyone. πŸ™‚

  6. Hi, I was just wondering after hearing your voice, do you have a good singing voice? It sounds like you would. Thank you for all your great ideas!

  7. This is great – and I hate Xmas sweaters – its inspired me to think what other hideous monstrosities could be transformed by sewing them together – Rugs maybe?

  8. Because of your blog, I am purchasing a sewing machine this weekend and I’m going to teach myself to sew. Although this sounds like a broken record, you truly are inspiring! I look forward to each new post and this refash is simply OUTSTANDING! You are one-of-a-kind!

  9. Jillian,
    You win the ugly sweater universe! This dress is amazing and I can’t wait until next year to make my own franken-sweater-dress.
    Also, your voice is beautiful, just like you are. Speak love upon yourself sista! πŸ™‚

  10. This is so fantastic! I love that you used pattern pieces for it, I would love to see more of that on this blog just for a little change of pace!

  11. Wow and wow again! I really love it. I hope I get to experience a Winter Christmas one day just so I can try this. I’d roast on a hot NZ beach wearing that.

  12. I love love love this refash!!!! This dress is so great it makes the “ugly sweaters” look fabulous. . You look gorgeous in this dress.

  13. Only you would have thought of this Jillian – I love it, & you look stunning in it! And there is not a thing wrong with your lovely voice!

  14. This is the most amazing dress ever! If ugly sweater gowns become a thing it will be because of you. Glad you’re stubborn and did your own thing!

  15. Omg that dress is awesome! Who knew someone could take a pile of ugly sweaters and turn them in to the coolest Christmas dress I’ve ever seen. You are amazing!

  16. I am absolutely floored by this dress! I’ve never seen anything like it… I may have to break out the old sewing machine! Thanks for inspiring me.

  17. This might be your most creative refashion yet. Love the dress and it looks great on you. Your voice is not weird, it just sounds weird to you because usually you hear it inside your head instead of from a recording. I am a big fan of yours, just sayin.

  18. You are, indeed, a genius. And you have such a great voice. I never expected such a voice! Quite a surprise and impressive. Only you could make a Frankengown look so elegantly ugly! Congrats on the newspaper spread, too. All kudos received for you were deserved!!!

  19. Absolutely hands down the best refash you have EVER done! And you have done some pretty good ones! Good job for sticking to your guns! It is lovely…if that is the right word for a tacky sweater gown!

  20. I am sorry, but I don’t think it’s tacky at all. I have a Christmas party that is cocktail attire and I would love something like this. I wish I had your talent and figure to make something like this.

  21. Jillian, you are so artistically talented. From your writing to your creative work. I too am a petite girl with a strong voice, and have dealt with comments from others indicating that it’s weird or unusual. But hey, if we sounded like everyone else or if we fit into their β€œNormal Box” than would we be so Rockin’?
    Jillian, Thank you for sharing your awesomeness with so many!
    Happy Holidays!

  22. Yet another fabulous refashion from our favourite Refashionista. What a fun idea perfectly executed! P.S. Your voice is your voice. Own it, don’t excuse it!

  23. Okay, that is your very best ever! Love the shape of the dress and the placement of the various sweater bits. You RULE in upcycling! Cynthia

  24. That is flipping amazing! It would make the Grinch’s heart grow at least three sizes (and he’d probably want to wear it). Congrats on another stunner!

  25. Jillian you are SOOOOO inspiring ! This is what I am wearing for Xmas too ! Although it is MUCH colder in the great white North so I will definitely have some sleeves !!! I am definitely going hunting for ugly Xmas sweaters when I am on vacation on Friday !!! I’ll post my creation on my blog, Sewliltime. Thanks for this post !!!

  26. Hey there, lovely Jill! I really, really like your blog. I’ve been following it for quite some time now! Love the fact that you made a video for this post and I hope to see more videos from you soon!

  27. Jill, you are having entirely too much fun! Love your blog & your creativity is inspiring, I can sip wine and create vicariously through you πŸ™‚ If you’re ever up in Roanoke look me up!

    Rockfish Food & Wine

  28. You’ve taken the tacky to sublime. Well done.Surely the AP will pick up this story. Or you can give it a little push and submit it – it’s too good not to share with the world.

  29. I absolutely love your blog! Im a Regional Sales Manager and get a lot of emails all day; however I find myself waiting / looking for yours so that I can take a break and see your next project. Anyway, awesome job, love what you do, enjoy reading and seeing the pics, and congrats on the newspaper pic!!! Well deserved.

  30. Jill, the Christmas sweater evening gown was genious. It fit great as well. You have inspired me back to my sewing machine. I have had fun this winter sewing in my free time. This is are darkest time of year. It has been amazing picking up my hobby of sewing again.

  31. Very creative! You really have the strapless bodice thing down. And the sweaters you used were the ultimate in tacky! You inspire me to try sewing sweaters, which I’ve always thought I couldn’t do. Only thing I wondered…is it itchy?

  32. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Wonderful job! But it is obscene that you can wear sleeveless in December while the rest of us are freezing to death! Just sayin’ !


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