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DIY Christmas Sweater Dress

Christmas Sweater Vest to Halter Top Refashion
How to Add a Hood to Almost Anything

You guys…I’m worried.

No…I’m not merely referring to the general malaise into which 2020 has plunged us all.

I’m worried about this dress.

refashionista DIY ugly christmas sweater dress before
I’m freeeeezing while taking this pic!

You’re looking at an Alfred Angelo bridesmaid dress I found on the $1 clearance rack at the thrift store. I bought it because I thought it looked nice enough. I also thought mayyyyybe no one could tell it was a bridesmaid dress.

I wore it a couple of times. Once to a red dress charity event and once to dinner at a nice restaurant.


refashionista DIY ugly christmas sweater dress before side view
Is that tummy pooch for a bebe? Or is this just an awkwardly-constructed dress?

Now that I have seen the side view of this dress I cannot unsee it, and I definitely can’t wear it again.

The top, however, fits realllly well! It seemed a shame to get rid of the whole dress altogether!

As I mentioned in my recent Christmas hoodie dress refashion, I have quite a few pieces of holiday apparel I’ve been stocking up on while thrifting.

christmas sweaters hung in christmas tree
Oh Christmas (sweater) Tree! Oh Christmas (sweater) Tree!

Suddenly, I was inspired!

Let’s make a DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater Dress, shall we?

I didn’t want to use up my entire Christmas sweater stash on this one dress, so I carefully selected the following:

This cute reindeer sweater (size Small)…

ugly christmas sweater featuring reindeer
Cute, innit?


These cozy holiday joggers (size Large).

holiday print joggers
Fun holiday print, huh?

Now that my pieces were chosen, I was worried…did I have enough fabric to actually make a cute DIY Christmas sweater dress?

Only time would tell!

Let’s start with the bodice of the dress.

First, I got to work on separating the bodice and belt thing from the top of the dress.

seam ripping while watching Broadchurch
For this refashion, I did my seam ripping while watching Broadchurch. I highly recommend you do the same. Olivia Coleman is a treasure.

I picked and picked.

unpicking bodice with seam ripper
Be careful not to rip the fabric!

I also unpicked the back zipper from the bottom half of the dress.

removing zipper from back of dress
We’ll be reattaching this to our new skirt later!

When I was done, the top of the dress looked like this:

removed top of dress with zipper attached
Aw cute! It has a tail!

After I separated the pieces of the belt thing (technical term), I labeled them with a fabric pencil, so I could remember how to put it together again.

removed front of belt thing
F= Front
removed back of belt thing
B1 = Back, Part 1. B2= Back, Part 2!

I cut off the top part of the holiday joggers and pinned the pieces of the belt thing to it.

piece of belt thing pinned to jogger fabric

Then, I cut them out.

cutting out belt thing pieces from jogger fabric
Snippity snip!

Then, I unpinned everything, flipped the jogger fabric right side up, and pinned that over the satin layer.

pinned fabric on piece of belt thing
View from the back!

I decided to leave the original satin attached underneath it, as the jogger fabric was quite thin. I thought the satin, along with the interfacing would better hold the structure of the fitted bodice upon completion.

I made sure to label the pieces as I worked.

labeled pieces of belt thing
Make sure to label it!

I sewed the jogger fabric to each piece, following along the original stitching used to attach interfacing to the satin.

sewing jogger fabric to interfacing
See? Right here!

When that was done, I reattached the pieces of the belt thing together.

sewing pieces of belt thing together
Reunited for the holidays!

Then, I pinned the belt thing back onto the bodice of my dress, right sides facing each other.

pinning belt thing back on to bodice
Bodice: “I knew you’d come back!”

Here it is flipped over, so you can see what I’m going for.

opposite view of belt thing pinned to bodice of dress

I happily reunited the belt thing with the bodice of the dress with the help of my sewing machine.

sewing belt thing back on to bodice

Now, let’s move on to the bottom of my DIY Christmas Sweater Dress!

I pulled a dress out of my closet that I love the fit of, and laid the detached bodice of my red satin dress over it to make sure they could work together.

bodice of red dress laid over fit and flare dress
We have a match!

Spoiler Alert: The bottom of that leafy green dress is about to become a pattern for my new Christmas dress!

I pulled out a roll of pattern paper and traced the skirt pieces of my leafy green dress onto it.

tracing panel of skirt onto pattern paper
I recommend using a copy of your favorite Da Vinci biography as a weight to aid you in this task.

If you don’t have pattern paper, parchment or wax paper from your kitchen (taped together for larger pieces) will work for this too!

Since the skirt of my dress was just two pieces repeated, I only needed two pattern pieces (because I can just flip them over to work for the opposite side).

pattern pieces drafted from skirt of dress
1 & 2.

You can see how I added a seam allowance to each pattern piece (the line around the original traced line).

I also labeled each piece in much the same way I labeled the belt thing to denote which side of the pattern piece worked for which part of the dress.

DIY Christmas Sweater Dress 1
This means, Cut two pieces of this view that will be the 2nd piece of the front and the fourth piece of the back.

Since I would need to add the zipper to the back of my new dress and the leafy green dress has no zipper, I folded the large front piece in two. This would later become two back pieces.

The zipper will go between them.

labeled back pattern piece
I hope this makes sense!

I cut my reindeer sweater apart and measured out where it would lay on the front center pattern piece.

laying pattern piece over sweater
Oh no! It doesn’t quite fit, does it?

You can see I don’t have quite enough fabric for the top of the pattern piece.

This is the tricky part of this type of refashion. It’s a LOT of puzzle work.

I ended up cutting off the top part of the pattern piece where the sweater ended and used a piece of sleeve to fill the gap.

cutting off part of pattern piece
1 pattern piece is now 2 pattern pieces!
pattern piece pinned to sleeve of sweater
This’ll do!

I attached the two pieces together when I was done, thus creating the single front panel.

sewing panel pieces together
Two have become one!

The front and back side panels were much easier. I just used the legs of the joggers!

pattern piece pinned to leg of joggers
So. Much. Easier!
cutting out jogger fabric from pattern
Hoping all this work will be worth it!

The back center panels got a little tricky.

I ended up using some of the fabric from the sweater sleeves combined with the fabric from the pockets of the joggers.

Once I had all my pattern pieces cut out, I started attaching them all together.

First, I sewed the front.

pinning panels together
Pinning them together!

Then I sewed the back, EXCEPT that center seam where my zipper would end up.

sewing pieces together
Keep it labeled as you work!

THEN, I sewed the front and back together.

Time to attach the skirt of my dress to the bodice.

I pinned the skirt to the bodice, right sides facing each other.

bodice and skirt pinned together
It’s hard to see in pics! Sorry!
another angle showing bodice pinned to skirt of dress
Can you see it now? No?

I stitched it all together on my sewing machine.

sewing bodice and skirt of dress together
sewing bodice and skirt of dress together

Now that the top and bottom of my dress are attached, it’s time to tackle that zipper!

First, I pinned the zipper into place.

invisible zipper pinned into dress
Pinned in place!

Then I hand-basted & then hand-stitched it into place.

sewing down zipper
Practicing my fine motor skills!

I could have used my machine for this, but with all of those different fabrics combined, I just thought it would be easier to do it by hand.

I sewed up the bottom of the back of my dress up to the zipper

sewing back of dress
Closing up the back!

Now for a happy holiday hem!

I pinned a verrrrrry small hem on the bottom the dress as it was looking quite short.

pinned bottom hem of dress
It’s teensy, y’all!

I stitched the jogger part down with a simple straight stitch and used a wide long zigzag for the sweater part.

sewing dress hem on sewing machine
The final whirrrrrrr!

The zigzag will keep my sweater fabric from fraying and keep the front from warping due to the tension of the thread/being pulled through the feed dogs.

I gave everything a good press annnnnd….

Look at my new DIY Christmas Sweater Dress now!

refashionista DIY Christmas Sweater Dress after
Happy Holidays, Everyone!

I couldn’t decide whether to wear my new dress with a wig or a beret, so I went with both! 😉

refashionista DIY Christmas Sweater Dress after closer view
So many cranial accessories!
refashionista DIY Christmas Sweater Dress after closeup
Feeling fetching in my festive frock!

The back didn’t end up lining up perfectly, but I’m still okay with it.

Some of you might remember when I used a similar technique to make an Ugly Christmas Sweater Gown a few years ago!

refashionista diy christmas sweater dress back view
Le back!

Mr. Refashionista and I hopped over to Main Street to snag a few pics by the SC State House Christmas tree!

refashionista in front of christmas tree
It’s huge!
Jillian and Brian in front of Christmas tree
Just hanging out with my handsome photographer!

I hope you’re all finding fun and creative ways to celebrate the holiday season this year!


refashionista diy christmas sweater dress before and after
Christmas Sweater Vest to Halter Top Refashion
How to Add a Hood to Almost Anything

69 thoughts on “DIY Christmas Sweater Dress”

  1. This is adorable! I’m always in awe of you and your talent. A lot of people have the vision, but can’t execute the product, or they can follow a pattern but don’t have the vision. You’re like a sculptor looking at an blank slab or marble. Great job! I love it!

  2. This refashion is wonderful. I have been saving various red and black items to make just such a dress – you inspire me! A project for those long dark January days.

  3. wow wonderful job!, and, as usual, written in a very amusing way! merry Xmas to you and your family and a next year full of joy and blessings!

  4. LOVE THIS! I did not see that end result coming! Defy 2020, and you and your sweet, handsome husband have a merry Christmas ❤

  5. I like a sweater dress any day because it’s cold here BUT I have that reindeer sweater and I love wearing it! I’ve proudly worn it to the office holiday party the last two years. LOLOL.

  6. The dress wig and beret look so cute together on you! And I was so lost trying to piece it all together. You wear it well. I, on the other hand, would look like a drunk troll trying to impersonate an elf if I tried this.

  7. The dress is cute, but the fact that you can wear a sleeveless mini dress in the middle of December is blowing my mind. Said the woman who left the house in 3 degree weather this morning *sigh*

    • Haha! In the first picture, temps were in the 40s and in my ‘after’ pics in this dress temps were in the 70s! Our weather has been all over the place here in SC!

  8. I couldn’t help noticing the Mr.’s t-shirt. The Pine Club is in Dayton, Ohio where I live (close enough to walk to it) and I have been there often, as it was my husband’s favorite steak place. I’m so glad you are on the down hill side of your chemo. I am a thyroid cancer survivor and my journey was so easy compared to other cancers, but I keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

  9. That was a bit like reading a Sherlock Holmes story. I knew all would be revealed in the end, but until I saw it all done, couldn’t quite imagine. This is why your tutorials are so very useful. We can backtrack and break it down to copy one of your amazing ideas. I have to admit that your work is encouraging me to gather and save every unlikely thing so someday I can put it all together like you do.
    The beret, pixie hair, and accessories are just right. Merry Christmas to both of you inspiring people!

  10. As I followed your process I was thinking, “Oh. this is wild.” Then I got to the end and thought, “This is wildly good!” I wish I had your vision. Your creativity is a wonder to behold and this looks so dang good on you!

  11. Elfishly cute! Your Ugly Christmas Sweater Gown is also awesome. Your shoulder look sort of chilly though, perhaps you need a… …sweater 😉

    • Ahhhhhh! I just thought that stomach part looked so weird. Maybe I was overthinking it. Rest assured I DID get a couple of wears out of the original though! 🙂

  12. It is absolutely adorable. Took a lot of work. I can’t believe you have energy for this, but I am glad that you do!!! Now you need to make an ugly Christmas sweater vest for your adorable hubby! Merry Christmas from southern Colorado. We got 7 1/2 inches of snow and it was -10 last night. That dress would be a bit chilly for our holiday! Stay cozy!

    • Thank you! It DID take a lot of work. I’m guessing 6-8 hours. And it definitely took a lot of energy! 🙂 Our weather has oscillated from 30s-70s over the last week. South Carolina weather is crazy!

  13. True originals — you and your new holiday frock! It both fits and suits you wonderfully. And, I think that the “pouchiness” of that original red dress had a lot to do with those released tucks/pleats. Some designs should just never have made it off the drawing board. Merry Christmas!

    • Thank you! I think bridesmaid dresses are just intentionally made to not be perfectly flattering! :/ Glad I got a couple of wears out of this one before I took it apart though!

    • Thanks so much! When you take something like that apart, putting it back together really isn’t that hard because you see how it’s constructed as you go!

  14. The more I refashion, the more I realize it is a journey not a 1,2,3 project. So many times I have changed my mind, or it didn’t work, you name it. So glad seasoned refashionistas also go thru a process!

  15. Splendid! Love the green tights and beret with it. You can put it over the top by adding a Christmas sweater! And Christmas jewelry!


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