DIY Holiday Fun at Goodwill

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There is something so special about entering the seasons of Halloween until New Years. It’s not just the candy, the turkey, the family, or the delightful chill that takes over the entire state of Ohio; it’s also all about the fashion. It is like we are given three entire months to dress as quirky, festive, and tacky as we so desire and not a single person will judge us.. In fact they give compliments to praise our fun fashion choices.

Christmas in particular celebrates our bold sweater choices with parties and contests daring everyone to step out of their comfort zone and bring out their festive side. Some call them ugly sweaters, but I call them my everyday attire. Goodwill during the holiday season has racks of beadazzled cardigans, vests and sweaters featuring wonky snowmen, snowy village scenes, and the big man himself, Santa. I however, use this season to get crafty with my clothes and create unique outfits using items that are commonly found at any Goodwill location near you.

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What’s great about this project is you can create a unique sweater with virtually any saying on it for as little as 10$. I went a little over that budget because I went with a name brand sweater, but it still cost me less than 15$ for the entire project. I chose “Ho, Ho, Ho” as my sweaters design because it is classic and fits in with my vintage style taste, but the world is your oyster and you can use this technique to create something as simple or extravagant as your heart desires.

Goodwill Items:

  • Plain Sweater (I found a J.Crew sweater in perfect condition for 8$)
  • Christmas Fabric (Mine is from a vintage table cloth I found in the Christmas section for 3$, but there are many other fabric options like curtains, tree skirts, or aprons.) 

Craft Items:

  • Fabric scissors and paper scissors
  • Iron
  • Fusible adhesive for fabric (small package can be found at your local craft store for around 3$)
  • Print out of what you would like to patch onto your sweater
  • Pencil, pen or Sharpie
  • Plain sheet of computer paper

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Step 1: Cut out the letters/words from the printer paper.

Step 2: Place the cut out letters onto your Christmas fabric to use as a reference for how large you should cut squares of the fabric. This is a rough estimate and does not need to be exact, you will just need enough fabric to comfortably fit both letters. If you are doing the Ho-Ho-Ho design you should finish with 3 separate rectangles of Christmas fabric.

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Step 3: Cut out squares of the iron on material the same size as the Christmas fabric.

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Step 4: On your ironing board, lay your iron on material with the tacky glue side facing up. Then place your fabric face up on top of it. If your material is thin like mine is, you should place a piece of computer paper on top of your fabric to protect your iron from getting the glue on it.

Step 5: With your Iron set to the highest temp without the steam press it to your fabric/paper for only about 2 seconds at a time making sure to heat the entire rectangle. You do not want to rub the iron back and forth because you may skew the fabric off of the iron on material. To check and make sure the fabric is adhered enough, just make sure the edges aren’t lifting when your rub your finger across the back corners.

Repeat these steps until each piece of your Christmas fabric had an iron on backing.

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Step 6: Turn your fabric squares onto their back so that the paper portion of the iron on material is face up. Fit your cut out letters onto the fabric and use them as a stencil to copy your design onto the fabric.

Step 7: Carefully cut out the design with your fabric scissors. A trick to cut out the center of the ‘O’ is to fold the letter in half and slice into the middle to leave space for your scissors to fit and cut out the center.

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Step 8: Take the paper backing off each of the letters you have cut out. It should peel right off.

Step 9: Arrange them onto your sweater where you plan to have them ironed on. This step is just to make sure everything will fit onto the sweater exactly how you had imaged.

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Step 10: Time to start ironing on your letters. Because I have a very small ironing board I took all my letters off and did them one at a time to ensure my spacing was perfect. For each letter I placed it onto the sweater face up and covered it with computer paper. I knew my sweater was going to be heat sensitive so I applied my letters to the sweater in two second intervals, lightly pressing the letters with my fingers in-between iron presses to help the adhesive stick to my sweater. Repeat the 2 second intervals as many times as needed. Just like before, to ensure the letter has been fully applied I just check to make sure my edges aren’t lifting when I run my finger against the corners.

Step 11: Repeat this step until you have filled out your entire sweater!

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Finished! Now it is time to enjoy your new festive sweater! The iron on packaging claims you can wash your fabric with whatever care instruction are on the tag of your garment, but having experience with this product I would recommend hand washing because the edges tend to lift slightly. If hand washing is not your thing, then you can even place a few stitches in the lettering to keep them in place.

I styled my Christmas sweater with a few other Goodwill finds. I found a thin collared polka-dot long sleeve blouse for only 1$ a few months ago. I am a huge fan of layering, not only does it add a pop to a seemingly simple look but it also provides some extra warmth. What I love about this blouse so much is that it is thin enough not to look crumpled underneath sweaters or dresses.

On the same shopping trip that I found my polka-dot blouse, I also found these Christmas shoes! They were only 4$ and I could not help myself when I saw them in my size. These shoes are in practically new condition and I cannot wait to wear them all season long. 



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