I sheepishly admit that I was inspired by a current Bank of America TV commercial to make an ‘ugly’ Christmas sweater. Well, mainly because I’m cheap: why pay money for one when you can make one yourself for practically free. (See my post on World Cup soccer gear).
We went down to spend Thanksgiving week with Joe’s parents. I usually bring sewing projects with me on those visits, because there are almost no distractions and I can make a lot of progress on them.
I’m proud of myself that I actually planned far enough in advance to do this in time for Christmas. But it’s also appropriate that I completed this around Thanksgiving, because almost all the materials used were upcycled/recycled from items from friends and family. I’m grateful to them, for both the intangible relationships I have with them, as well as the actual material items that live on on the project.
Joe is modeling the completed project in the photos. It’s a sweatshirt from a time when clothes were cut baggy, so even though it’s labeled an “L”, it’s quite loose on him. However, he does not want the sweatshirt, since it doesn’t fit with his sartorial style. So I guess I will wear it.
Christina L. gave to him when she was attending University of California at Santa Barbara – which is what it says on the original front of the sweatshirt. It is now covered up with a white ‘snowflake’ on a background of dark red T-shirt material, so that it ‘pops’ more. The snowflake is actually a doily made by my cousin-in-law Simone. She made it by hand on cross-stitch material, and there are little patterned holes cut into it. I think she told me there’s a specific name for this craft, which I’ve unfortunately forgotten. I decided the doily was eminently and magnificently Christmassy – a better fit for my sweatshirt than the rare occasions where I might put a vase of flowers on top of it.
An old green T-shirt was used for the Christmas tree, decked with a multitude of Christmas tree ‘ornaments’ of colorful buttons I got from someone on freecycle.org
The back of the sweatshirt has a reindeer head from:
1) Fingerless brown mitten: I found this on the street one day and saved it because you never when it might come in handy. Like when you need to make a reindeer head on a Christmas sweatshirt. Or there’s a pocket-sized two-headed chihuahua that needs a sweater.
I often find things on the street when I’m biking with Anne (who let’s me pick up the things. Like today I found a dime, a bungee cord and a head-lamp), or walking with April (who doesn’t let me pick up things because she thinks they’re dirty and crawling with who-knows-what).
2) The shoelaces that make up the reindeer horns are from Joe’s old hiking boots, which was a previous Christmas present from sister-in-law Betty.
3) The button nose and eyes were from the same freecycler.
4) The “Noel” spelled out it candy-cane striped ‘ribbon’ is something most people would consider overkill in frugality. They’re actually old white shoelaces (from discarded sneakers). I took red fabric ribbon that were originally tied around gift boxes of See’s Candy from Joe’s mom, and sewed each red ribbon twist in place onto the white shoelaces. Somehow I felt it would be cheating if I simply took the short cut of buying candy-cane striped ribbon at a crafts shop. But I really wanted to have some sort of candy cane element on my Christmas sweatshirt.
I did go slightly against principles and bought another sweater at a thrift shop to make into another Christmas sweater. But it was only $1.25. I have a ton of salvaged sewing/fabric materials in my rag bag. I don’t know if I will get it done in time for this Christmas.