Christmas Sweater: How to Make Your Own

christmas sweater

Regardless of it it’s happening in person or over zoom: what’s the dress code for you Holiday Party this year? Is it time to bring out the sparkles with black tie? Or, are you going more low-key with a Christmas Sweater. If you said the latter then this blog is for you. We touch upon this history of this holiday-time wardrobe staple. And, show you how you can design and knit your own creations!

The History of the Christmas Sweater

A Christmas sweater (also know across the pond as a Christmas jumper) is a piece of knitwear themed with a Christmas or winter-style design. It’s often worn during the festive season.

In the United Kingdom, the garment grew in popularity in the 1980s thanks to a variety of television presenters. But, they are often seen as a hand-made present knitted by an elderly relative. Thus, during the 1990s and 2000s, they became gag gifts and fell out favour. This is probably best reflected in the 2001 film Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Bu the 2010s, the knitwear gained a camp appeal with The Daily Telegraph calling the item “this season’s must have”. In fact, even higher end labels such as Burberry had their own version of the trend.

Despite this rise into high fashion, the general census is: the uglier the jumper, the better it is. This holds especially true in the United States where they hold Ugly Christmas Sweater Contests annually.

If you’re not able to knit your own this year, we really do encourage you to by second-hand or swap with a friend. A sweater is for life, not just for Christmas!

How to Knit Your Own

Can’t find the design of your dreams for you Christmas sweater? Why not knit your own. But, what if you’re completely new to this hobby? Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips and pointers to get you started!

For the design, ideally you want use a pattern to help determine which colours should be stitched where. You can find a Christmas sweater design on line, or you can try your hand at drawing your own using a guideline!

Determine Your Size

The number of stitches you cast on will depend on the size you need. To determine this, measure your chest as use this as a guide: XS (32 inches); S (36 inches); M (40 inches); L (44 inches); XL (48 inches); XXL (52 inches); and so on!

Gather Your Materials

You will need: around 3-5 skeins of yarn, size 8 and size 10 knitting needles, scissors, and yarn needle.

Creating the Front and Back Pieces

  1. First, cast the required number of stitches for your size using your size 8 needles.
  2. Then, work the next six rows in garter stitch – this will form the bottom border of your sweater.
  3. Switch you a size 10 needle to work in the stockinette stitch. Continue to work your rows until the piece measures 15 inches.
  4. Bind-off first four stitches of the next two rows. Thus, beginning shaping the area for your arm hole.
  5. Work in stockinette stitch until the piece is the desired length. Then, bind-off using the same method you used for the armhole.
  6. Repeat process for the second piece.

Making the Sleeves

  1. Like with the front and back pieces of your Christmas sweater, cast on using your size 8 needles. Use this as a guide for how many stitches you’ll need: XS (31), S (32), M (34), L (35), XL (37), XXL (38).
  2. Knit six rows, using the same needles, for the sleeve borders.
  3. Switch to size 10 needles and stockinette stitch. Remember, to work your increases. To do this, knit into the stitch as usual, but do not slip the old stitch off the needle yet. Instead, knit into the same stitch again by inserting the needle through the back of the stitch instead of through the front.
  4. Continue working the rows of your sweater sleeve. Then, bind-off the stitches.
  5. Repeat to create the second sleeve.

Assembling Your Christmas Sweater

  1. Sew the sleeves closed. Line up the edges of one sleeve so that the right sides are facing each other. Repeat for both sleeves.
  2. Turn them inside out, and sew together the front and back pieces. Remember to leave space for the arm holes.
  3. Attach the sleeves and sew up the shoulders to shape the neckline.
  4. Wear your finished creation!

About the Author

Lydia B.

Lydia B.

Lydia B. is a Marketing Coordinator and Music Club Coach for Gooroo, a tutoring membership that matches students to tutors perfect for them based on their unique learning needs. Gooroo offers Math, English, SAT, Coding, Spanish tutoring, and more.