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Sewing Christmas sweaters: Pattern choices and pattern alterations

Dear community,
in this blog post you can find pattern choices and pattern alterations for sewing differend kinds of Christmas sweaters.

Sewing Christmas sweaters: Pattern choices and pattern alterations

Don’t have your Christmas presents yet or are you at a loss for a cozy outfit? Don’t worry I have just the solution for you. How about some last minute Christmas sweaters ?

Pattern choices and pattern alterations

If you already have a favorite shirt or sweater pattern this will be easy for you. And if you have a serger/overlocker even easier! But don’t fret you don’t need an overlocker to make these projects and ordinary sewing machine will do. Just use a narrow zigzag or another stretch stitch and you will be just fine.

But what we will do first, is to eliminate all those annoying seams that require a coverlocker or the use of a twin needle. Instead we will be adding cuffs or hem bands, this saves you a ton of time and hassle – and we’re in a hurry after all. Alternatively you can use a pattern, that is already designed like that (e.g. the Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studios or Toaster Sweater by Sew House Seven, check out for a complete database).

If your favorite pattern is not designed this way you remove the allowances from all your hems (just the hems). This is how long the sleeves and your shirt will be. But since we’re adding cuffs, we need to remove even more. I wanted to add 4cm cuffs. So I removed an additional 3.5cm from the hem (4cm is the cuff and then you add 0.5cm seam allowance) and made my cuff piece 2*4cm (cuffs will be folded in half)+ 2*0.5cm (seam allowance) long. You can make the cuffs as long as you want just take this length into account when shortening the hems.

Drafting Christmas Jumpers1

The pattern pieces above did not include the seam allowances for the hems yet. So I was pretty free to draft cuffs and hembands. Just measure the length you need from the original pieces and transfer them to scrap pieces of paper.

Drafting Christmas Jumpers2

This pattern did include seam allowances. So I folded it up the required amount and drafted the pieces.

That was the crucial step of making the whole sewing experience faster.

We’ll be inserting the cuffs and hem bands the same way we would a neckband:

  1. Quarter your neckband into equal parts. Mark them with clips or pins.
  2. Quarter your neckline into equal parts. Mark them with clips or pins.
  3. Combine those two with the clips you have.
  4. Sew while equally stretching out the neckband while you sew to match your neckline.

Just before step 2

Step 3

Step 3

As fabric goes I chose a black fleeceback sweatshirting as a base and combined them with lace or novelty print fabric. I adore novelty prints and what better occasion than Christmas to use them.

In a world according to me we would all celebrate Christmas in Onesies with crazy prints on them. At the time I had to prepare for this article though the shops had not stocked Christmas-y fabric yet. Spoonflower to the rescue! I chose 3 prints from hunderds and hunderds and picked the fabric type I wanted them printed on. The ones you will see in these projects were kindly gifted to me by Spoonflower (allthough I chose the prints of course).

Now we’re off to actually making some sweaters for every kind of Christmas party goer… You know the ones I mean, because every family has it’s own representatives for the types below. 

The Fancy One (aka “I really wanted to wear a dress but then I would not be able to eat as much”)

This is usually the one that always dreams about a glamorous Christmas outfit but in the end comfort gets the better of them. But no more! Here comes the stylish yet comfy Christmas sweater .

I used the same black sweatshirting as with all the other sweaters but with this one I made the sleeves (of the Linden Sweatshirt) out of black stretch lace. This sweater is a birthday present for my partner’s sister. But don’t worry by the time you read this she will already have gotten it.

Christmas Sweater Lace

Still warm because of the fleece cuffs 🙂

Christmas Sweater Lace 2

Combining the stetch lace and with the sweatshirting was no problem at all. But to make a comfy piece you need to go for a stretchy lace.

The Teenager (aka “I want a Christmas sweater but it better be cool”)

When I was a teen I loved sewing but would not be caught dead wearing something homemade. That was so spectacularly uncool. Times have changed but the insecurities teenagers feel with their clothing stays the same. My step-daughter is a teen and has a pretty strong sense of style. Usually she probably would not wear something I’ve made her, but if we all had Christmas sweaters and she was left out: All hell would break loose. You know, teenagers…

I used the Linden Sweatshirt for this one and designed a color blocked yoke. I copied the pattern, marked where the color block would go in and then added in seam allowances to both pieces. You could also cut your piece where you mean to have the color block and then add in the seam allowance with a spare piece of paper. And because my step daughter likes cropped sweaters I fulfilled that wish as well. 

Design your Christmas Sweater

Original (left) and yoke pattern pieces with seam allowance.

Color Blocked Yoke - Christmas Sweater

‘Finish’ the front and backs first before you start your construction…

Christmas Sweater Teen

This is the finished Christmas sweater for a teenaged girl.


The Boyfriend (aka “Please, don’t let it be pink or sparkly”)

Well, the title really says it all. My partner likes the things I’ve made for him, but he is very particular about what styles he like and what does not work for him. He would of course say that he is forced to like the things I make because he wants to be supportive. Secretly though, every time I make something for him, he is probably shaking with fear (“Don’t let it be pink”, haha). 

Anyway, he enjoys Christmas and especially the days in between Christmas and New Year’s and he likes to dress for the occasion. Voilà. As manly a Christmas sweater as possible. Plus the color blocked sleeves really bring out his broad shoulders 😉

You can find the amazing fabric here. Can you tell that I like my Christmas stuff Scandinavian themed?

This is the Mimi G Simplicity 8613. I’ve made this model for my better half before and he liked this shirt (really, I promise). I lengthened the sleeve though, because for some reason the pattern only includes a 3/4 length sleeve and he would definitely not enjoy that…


The Kids (aka “We’re just here for deserts and presents”)

Let’s face it, with kids there is not a lot you can do wrong. You can do full on Christmas sweaters with all the novelty prints. So these are the easiest and most gratifying makes. Just go crazy!!!

I used the Estrella Pajama Pattern from the Makerist website and just adapted the pattern for the cuffs and hembands. You can find the rednosed Rudolph interlock fabric (Organic Cotton) here and the pinky snowflake (Cotton Spandex Jersey) one here.

Kids Christmas Sweaters

The finished sweaters for the kids (the left one is for my goddaughter and the right one for my partner’s godson). They will already have gotten them in their advent calendar when this goes live…

The Grinch (aka “Why me?!”)

Every family has one. The one family member that really can’t be bothered. The food is cold, the presents are lousy, the music’s too shrill and on top of that he/she is forced to wear a stupid Christmas sweater ??! Pleaaaase… So I made this sweater as inconspicuous as possible.

The pattern is the Toaster Sweater 1 and I used contrasting fabric for the collar, the cuffs and the hem band the rest stays black… you know like the Grinch’s shriveled heart.

Christmas Sweater

(Actually this sweater is mine and I love it. Also, I really love Christmas which means I am not the Grinch 😉 But the sweater is subdued enough I might can wear it to work. I shouldn’t because it’s not dress code appropriate, but I will all the same, haha).

Well, then happy sewing and Merry Christmas! In the meantime you can check out my blog or follow me on instagram. I would love to hear from you.



Difficulty level: Beginner
Time to Complete: Evening
Used Material: jersey fabric, serger, spoonflower
Used Products:
Three-Sole Walking Foot with Seam Guide #50
Three-Sole Walking Foot with Seam Guide #50

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