Every year I like to wear Christmas jumpers in the run up to the big day and particularly on the official Christmas Jumper Day in support of Save The Children. And this year, at Crystal Parade, we decided to have a competition ‘add some bling’ to a plain Christmas jumper. Here at Crystal Parade HQ we love a creative challenge, especially a sparkly one! We each bought a festive themed sweater - I found a lovely Micky Mouse one in Primark that just spoke to me, this inspired me to decorate the trees like Christmas trees. Rather than just use flatback non hotfix crystals, I wanted to stand out in the competition and use Preciosa bicone beads, drop pendants and crystal rivoli’s that I could sew on, as I do like to sew.

Here is the jumper before I gave it the Crystal Parade makeover:

I had a good old rummage of our Preciosa bicone beads and found the perfect colours I wanted to use. Light Siam (red), Citrine (yellow) and Hyacinth (orange) for the tree decorations plus some clear crystal pendants to hang off the outer branches. These are usually used as wedding embellishments but I thought they would be perfect to represent icicles hanging off the snowy tree.

I also came across some AB Rivoli sew on stones which are normally popular for Irish Dance dresses, but here I wanted to use them for adding some extra sparkle to Micky’s outfit. I then planned how I wanted the finished jumper to look like by laying out all of the beads, pendants and rivoli’s along with a couple of Zodiac bow shapes I would glue on as Micky’s bow tie, and Caviar beads I wanted to use on the words ‘Merry Christmas.’ It's important when creating a design from scratch to have a plan in mind, this way you’ll avoid mistakes and complete the project with speed and ease.

I wanted to sew the beads on to the sweater to look like tinsel wrapped around a tree, so I did this by starting on one side and threading beads onto the cotton and finishing on the other side of the tree. I then added the pendant drops to look like decorations/icicles. I found that by using sew on rhinestones rather than glue on rhinestones, this would give my jumper a 3D look and the pendants gave movement and do catch the eye. I enjoyed sewing everything onto my sweater, to complete Micky’s look I glued Zodiac red bows to his shoes and one on his neck, so it looks like he is wearing a bow tie.

As I had decided to give Micky and the trees a 3D look, I wanted to also create the same effect with the words ‘Merry Christmas’, so I picked red caviar beads to do this, in the same way as you might add glitter to something. I glued over the words with a thick layer of Gem Tac glue and then sprinkled the caviar beads all over and patted them down into the glue. I left this for about 30 minutes to make sure that all the red caviar beads had embedded into the glue and then brushed off all the extra caviar beads into a bowl. The Gem Tac glue dries completely crystal clear so I was left with beautiful sparkling caviar beads on the words, creating the 3D look I wanted.

I am very happy with my finished sweater and love the way it has turned out. Fingers crossed I win the competition with my super sewing skills but that is up to The Vivienne to decide, as she will be judging the efforts of everyone at Crystal Parade!

Clothing embellishment