This Instructable will show you how to make a simple ugly sweater/poncho featuring a light-up Christmas tree.
A couple days ago my fiancee and I attended an ugly sweater party to celebrate the holidays and the end of the fall semester. We decided to make her an ugly sweater using materials we had sitting around our apartment. What we ended up with was an ugly Christmas poncho featuring a light-up Christmas tree, complete with a star.
You are likely wondering what an ugly Christmas poncho is. Well, we lacked a sweater we wished to sacrifice for the project so we began searching for materials we could use to make one. What we found was an old, cheap tree skirt. For fun my fiancee put the tree skirt over her head, and it actually looked like a poncho, complete with hook-and-loop fasteners in the back to make putting it on quick and easy. So we decided to make an ugly Christmas poncho.
Step 1: Materials
Materials and Equipment:
- A red tree skirt, preferably one with hook-and-loop fasteners to make putting on and taking off the ugly Christmas sweater much easier.
- Some green garland. I opted for some very ugly shiny garland with large plastic disks.
- A battery-operated string of blinking, multicolored lights.
- A star-shaped ornament of some kind.
- Some silver or gold ribbon or decorative string.
- Sewing supplies - needle, thread, scissors, etc.
- Optional but recommended: a sewing machine.
Step 2: Sew Arm Holes
- arm holes make the poncho hang properly on your body since it is much heavier in the front than it is in the back
- arm holes make the poncho warmer (when my fiance went to the ugly Christmas party it was 2oF outside)
- arm holes limit the extent to which the poncho puffs out away from your body when you walk
- arm holes help make sure the poncho stays centered with the Christmas tree on the front of your body
- Put the poncho (tree skirt) on and make sure the hook-and-loop fasteners are in the back.
- Put your arms up about 45o away from your body.
- Have a friend pin the tree skirt from the bottom going about three to five inches (depending upon how tall you are) vertically towards your shoulders.
- Carefully take off the poncho without stabbing yourself with the pins. Keep your helper around to assist with this.
- Sew a three- to five-inch seam along the area you pinned to create arm holes.
Step 3: Arrange the Garland Into Tree Shape
We chose to leave some space between the layers of the tree for two reasons. First, the gaps let the lights shine through better. Second, leaving space means you need to do much less sewing and saves a lot of time. But, if you want a more dense-looking tree, feel free to bunch up the layers of garland.
Step 4: Sew Down the Garland
When you are sewing down the garland, remember to pay special attention to the two ends, as well as all of the bends in the garland where it goes from one layer to the next. Also make sure to always double check that you are not accidentally penetrating both sides of the poncho and sewing it shut.
When you are done sewing, hold up the poncho to make sure there are no parts of the garland at risk of sagging or falling out of the thread loops. You may need to add a couple extra ties for reinforcement.
Step 5: Attach the Lights
Starting at the end of the garland at the bottom of the tree cut a pair of parallel slits, about 1/2 inch long and one inch apart. Then, staring from the end of the string of lights opposite the battery pack, feed the wire down through the first hole and up through the second hole. Be careful when you put the light bulbs (LEDs actually) through the holes. For the first hole, continue feeding the wire through until the light closest to the battery pack is just on the other side of the hole. This should leave enough wire above the battery pack for you to put the batteries in your pocket while you wear your Ugly Christmas Sweater.
Then, create another two slits, again about 1/2 inch long and one inch apart, this time 1/3 of the way across the bottom layer of garland. Repeat the process of feeding the string of lights down through the first hole and up through the bottom.
Continue this process by creating a pair of slits every couple inches, following the garland with the lights. Make sure you place a fabric loop at the end of each layer where the garland curves.
Step 6: Make a Star Necklace
The star necklace is very easy to make. First, cut a piece of string or ribbon long enough to wrap around your neck with just a little bit of slack. Obviously you should still be able to breath. Then, just thread the string through your star necklace and tie it in the back. When you put on your Ugly Christmas Poncho, just make sure the star hangs at the top of the tree.
Congratulations! You're done! Now go out and have fun in your Ugly Christmas Poncho!