1 /// Invest in a pair of high-top sneakers in a neutral color to camouflage pants that are getting just a bit too short. Boots work well here, too!
2 /// If you have button-fly pants that fit everywhere but the waist, borrow a maternity trick and loop a hair tie through the button hole to make an extender. Be sure to add a t-shirt that’s long enough to hide the fact that the fly is a little open!
3 /// If your kids have stiff or cheap-feeling t-shirts that they don’t like to wear (especially the ones that come from things like summer camps or community events), you can give them a comfortable vintage feel by soaking them in salt water for 3 days. Use a 1/2 cup salt for every quart of water and wash like normal once you’re through soaking.
4 /// Use fabric markers to draw designs on boring pieces of clothing in solid colors. You can also use markers to fill in designs that might have worn off of a well-loved shirt.
5 /// Playground play often leads to rips around the tush area. Instead of tossing out leggings that flash undies, you can use them under summer skirts as the weather gets cooler.
6 /// If you have a stain that you can’t get out, consider picking up an iron-on patch of your kid’s favorite character at your local craft store. If the stain is in a weird spot (on top of the shoulder, etc.), consider adding a pattern to the whole shirt with fabric markers to cover up the spot. Polka dots are in!
7 /// If jeans are too tight, but the length still works, open up the seams on the side and add in a panel of faux suede or heavy canvas. It’s a simple project, even if you aren’t great with a sewing machine, because you’re just opening one seam and then sewing four straight lines.
8 /// If clothes have pilling (the little nubby bumps that show up when fabric starts to get worn out), you can remove the pilling by going over it with a dry safety razor. This is especially great for fixing sweaters that weren’t supposed to go through the wash and for making hand-me-down pajamas a little more comfortable.
9 /// When long-sleeve shirts get too small, sew a panel of fabric to the bottom to make it longer. A cheap way to do this is to sew the bottom half of one too-small shirt onto another too-small shirt. If the shirt is too tight, you can open up the seams up to the armpit and sew in a triangular piece of fabric to give the shirt a little bit of flare. Disguise sleeves that are too short by either taking off a couple of inches or putting a few stitches in a cuffed sleeve to make elbow-length sleeves.
10 /// Get crafty by dip-dyeing white pieces of clothing. Extra credit if you dip-dry or paint accessories to match.
11 /// Use extra buttons you have lying around to create a trim around the hem or the collar.
12 /// If you have a bunch of leggings that are too short, you can cut the legs off of a few pairs to make leg warmers that camouflage how short the other pairs are. Don’t worry about the rough edges – with stretch cotton you can usually just roll them down and they shouldn’t fray too much.
13 /// If sleep pants get too small, trim the legs off of them and use the excess fabric to add slim panels to the side seams so you can make a pair of comfy elastic waist shorts for sleep or lounging.
14 /// Unless you have siblings down the road who might get some use out of a holiday dress, don’t be afraid to use “fancy” clothes for everyday wear once the holiday has passed. An Easter dress can be toned down with a pair of flip flops and a few casual accessories. You can even toss a t-shirt over a dress with a full skirt for a fashion-forward Carrie Bradshaw vibe.
15 /// Use a bleach pen to create designs in dark fabrics. This is also a great way to camouflage stains, rips, and general distress.
16 /// Add a layer of glue and glitter to shoes that fit but are showing wear.
17 /// Keep sets of socks that are too small in a bin for an easy matching game down the road. Kid socks are also surprisingly fantastic when it comes to cleaning small spaces.
18 /// Keep a short stack of small clothes (especially early baby clothes) to create clothing activities for preschoolers. In addition to dressing dolls, kids can practice folding clothes or hanging them on a clothesline.
19 /// Dresses that have gotten too short for comfort make great shirts over leggings.
20 /// If you have a ton of kid clothing and you don’t want to upcycle it but you also aren’t ready to donate it, consider making a memory quilt. Novice sewers only need to know how to cut squares out of fabric and sew two squares together to have the basics of quilting covered. Even kid fabrics can look artfully grown-up when sewn into simple patchwork quilt and you can keep adding squares over time until you have a quilt that’s the size you want. Eventually, you’ll have a heavy blanket of memories to keep you all warm!
Photo 1: Top: H&M // Pants: Truly Scrumptious Clothing by Heidi Klum – Toys R Us // Shoes: Carter’s
Photo 2: Shirt: Cherokee // Skirt: Carter’s // Leggings: Circo // Boots: Target
Photo 3: Dress: Baby GAP // Bag: Baby GAP // Shoes: Sonoma
Photo 4: Hat: Janie and Jack // Dress: Carter’s // Sandals: Disney
Photo 5: Dress: H&M // Pants: Epic Threads // Sandals: Cherokee