How to Make Christmas Dog Sweaters

Design your own Christmas dog sweaters! 

With Christmas drawing near, why not make at least one item out of yarn to match the holiday or the season? 

Following are some photos and instructions for knitted red and green designs using a special weaving method called intarsia.

Knitted Sweater Designs

For Sweater A, shown at left, you can use the free pattern for the knitted dog sweater I created for Pebble, making the background just one color and adding the tree designs in another – or use any other knitting pattern you like.

Dog sweater with Christmas tree pattern.

Crocheted Dog Sweater Designs

My next page on Christmas dog sweaters also includes ideas for embellishing a crocheted jersey or sweater.

Naturally, you are not limited to trees or boxes – there are so many other things to create such as snowmen, angels, stars, and more!

Sweater A Instructions

For Sweater A, a red yarn mixed with gold was used as the base (Color 1), while a separate length of dark green yarn (Color 2) was used for the trees.

Note that each color, while not the same type of yarn, had strands the same thickness

Small Christmas Tree Pattern

  • The stem is 1 stitch wide and 2 stitches high and is placed in the middle
  • The base of the tree contains 5 stitches
  • The middle section has 3 stitches
  • The top part is 1 stitch
  • Note that each stitch in the pattern actually consists of two rows – one row of Knit and one of Purl.

The pattern is placed as follows:

  1. First, count the number of stitches in your row.
  2. Use the number of the stitches in the base of your tree and the number of trees you want to determine the spacing. In this case, the base of the tree has 5 stitches. If you want three trees across and your sweater is 35 stitches wide, you will have 15 stitches taken up by the trees, and 20 leftover for the four spaces on either end and in between. This means you will have 20 divided by 4 = 5 stitches between the base of each tree.
  3. However, you will be starting with the stems, which will be set beneath the middle stitch out of the 5 base stitches. So you will need to add an extra 2 stitches on either side of each stem or 4 stitches per stem. Therefore, you should have 5 + 4 or 9 stitches between each stem.
  4. It may help you to use the squares on a sheet of graph paper to understand how this works.

Large Christmas Tree Pattern

  • The stem is 4 stitches high and 1 stitch wide and is also placed in the middle of the base
  • The base of the tree contains 7 stitches
  • The next section has 5 stitches
  • The next-to-top portion, 3 stitches
  • The top point has 1 stitch

Now here’s how to incorporate the design into your knitted piece…

Intarsia Instructions

A Christmas dog sweater in process of being made.
  • For each tree, use a separate length of yarn around 20 inches (about 500 mm) long.
  • Once you’ve figured out where to start your tree in a row, knit along with Color 1, and then when you get to the first stitch of the tree,twist the Color 2 yarn around Color 1 before knitting the next stitch.
  • Knit (or purl) each stitch in Color 2 according to the pattern, andeach time twist the yarns once around each other. This prevents the yarn on the inside (wrong side) of the sweater from having loops that snag.
  • Keep the tension a little looser at the edges where you are switching colors; otherwise you may have holes in the knitting.

Finishing Up

Finishing up the Christmas dog sweater.

The final step of this intarsia design is to weave in any loose ends of yarn by hand with a large-eyed needle or crochet hook.

Once you have woven in an inch (25 mm) or more of yarn, pull on it to loosen it a little and check that it will stay secure.

Then cut off the remaining length of yarn.

As the photo shows, there are no big loops of yarn left to snag on anything, such as your dog’s collar.

Christmas Sweater B Trees and Gift Boxes

A light and dark green Christmas dog sweater with pictures of Christmas trees and gifts.

The design on Sweater B was begun with a set of stripes  along the bottom edge by simply changing yarn colors at the end of each knitted row.

As with Sweater A, I used Pebble’s knitted sweater for the basic pattern.

For a description of the intarsia technique used for the tree and gift box designs and where to place them, go to Sweater A and read through all the instructions.

Knitting the Designs

Large Christmas Tree Design

  • The stem is 4 stitches high, 3 stitches wide, and is placed in the middle of the tree
  • The base of the tree contains four rows (2 Knit, 2 Purl) of 11 stitches
  • The next four rows have 9 stitches each
  • The four rows after that, 7 stitches each
  • The following four rows contain 5 stitches each
  • The next four rows, 3 stitches each
  • The top four rows contain 1 stitch each

Gift Box Pattern

  • The base is 3 stitches wide
  • The box is 6 stitches tall, each stitch representing a row of Knit and a row of Purl
  • Optional: Place a star on top of the box by adding a single stitch of gold or white/silver yarn in the middle

Small Christmas Tree Pattern

  • The stem is 4 stitches high, 1 stitch wide – you could also make it 3 or 2 stitches high
  • The base of the tree contains four rows of 7 stitches
  • The following four rows have 5 stitches each
  • The next four rows have 3 stitches each
  • The top four rows contain 1 stitch each

Sweater C – Ribbon Motif

Dog Christmas sweater with red ribbons on it.

Adding ribbons on top of the knitting

As mentioned, you can also decorate a sweater that has already been knitted or crocheted to make it look like one of those commercial dog Christmas sweaters.

The photo shows an example of a ribbon added to a half-finished dark green crocheted jersey based on Pebble’s crocheted sweater pattern.


  • Take a piece of wide red velvet ribbon, cut it into thin strips with pointed ends, about 5 or 6 inches (125-150 mm) long for the loops.
  • For the bottom stripes, make them long enough to go from one end of the sweater to the other.
  • Pin the ribbon pieces in place,then attach them permanently by sewing them on with matching thread or glue.
  • Tip: If using a hot glue gun, I’d recommend you first experiment on another swatch of yarn to make sure the glue doesn’t adversely affect the yarn.

That’s basically it for my ideas at this time. Of course, you’re free to experiment with different designs, textures, and colors.

Happy Crafting!