5+ Ways to Refashion Clothing for Back to School Style

I’m having a hard time dealing with the fact that summer vacation is almost over.  We can count the number of days left before school starts on one hand, now, since my little guy goes back to school on Tuesday.  Yikes!  I’ve spent the last few days getting ready for the coming week by shopping for school supplies and a few new clothes.

Like many of you, I have a budget to stick to when it comes to outfitting my kids.  They grow so fast and can be tough on their clothes. If I didn’t think creatively about their wardrobes, I would blow right through that budget.  I try to keep an eye out for great deals on the discount racks and nearly-new items at thrift stores.  Lately I’ve realized that those aren’t my only options for coming up with cute stuff for my kids to wear.  Armed with just a few basic sewing skills and some easy to follow tutorials, I also have the option of refashioning some of our old clothing into brand new outfits!  It’s a huge money-saver for those of us trying to outfit our kiddos without spending a fortune.  I’ve found dozens of fantastic tutorials lately, so today I’m going to share a few with you, just in time for back-to-school wardrobes.

1.  Patch up Old Jeans

Jeans are one of the things that sometimes we put holes in before we grow out of them around here, so I got excited about this cool patched pair from Make It and Love It.  Perfectly on-trend with the London Olympics, too!

2.  Add a Ruffle (or Two)

Speaking of jeans,at times the opposite is true:  they get too short before we wear them out.  The Mother Huddle has an adorable solution for that wardrobe dilemma with these ruffle cuffed jeans.

3.  Cut It Off

Cropping old jeans to make shorts is old news, but how about cropping a dress to make a jacket?  Check out this sweet denim jacket from A House in Holland.

4.  Zip it Up

Cardigans and hooded sweatshirts are pretty versatile wardrobe pieces.  I didn’t realize they could be so easy and fun to make from long sleeve tees.   I Am Momma Hear Me Roar shows us how.

5.  Prettify Menswear

This good idea for tweens and teens comes from See Kate Sew:  a tunic made from a man’s dress shirt.

6.  Embellish with Paint

Ruffles and Stuff has a fun tutorial for dressing up a plain tee with a freezer-paper stencil.  It’s always easy to find t-shirts at rock-bottom prices, so this ought to come in handy.

7.  Accessorize

Speaking of t-shirts, feel free to go ahead and cut up some of your husband’s old ones to make darling knotted headbands like this one from Sugar Bee Crafts.

I found so many terrific ways to refashion clothing for kids, that I just have to share a few more.  Check out these links for added inspiration:

Painted Patches for Jeans

Tee Shirt to Ruffled Skirt

Ransom Note Sweatshirt

Turning Pants into Shorts

5 Ways to Refashion a Sweatshirt

Hopefully upcycling the clothing you already own will help you save some money as you work on getting your kids’ wardrobes ready for going back to school.  Do you have any good tips to share for spending less on kids’ clothing?
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  1. Wow…just the links leading me to the double needle info ROCKED MY WORLD! I had no idea my sewing machine could do this! Hooray!

  2. Thanks for linking to my painted patches post!
    Ricochet and Away!

  3. My oldest (8) has COMPLETELY outgrown his fall/winter clothes so this was an WONDERFUL post with fab links! Thanks!

  4. As the Mom of 5 (4 in school) our back-to-school budget has to really stretch. That’s why nearly all of our clothes are second-hand. I buy “lots” or “by the bag” clothes from our local classifides, clean them up or refab them and my kids are always well-dressed and excited about their “new” wardrobes. That’s the only way we can afford to get them all new shoes! Thanks for the tips on fun ways to freshen them up!

  5. Great post. Its amazing what a little bit of creativity can do to extend the life of kids clothing.

    I never let go of a piece of clothing until my daughter just can’t get in it ( she’s so skinny that it doesn’t happen often) or it is just so worn out that it looks bad.

    Here’s how I make all the summer tees full sleeved in October:


    I had added sleeves to about 5 tees last year and nobody knew any better.

    I also always keep the long term wearability in mind when I design anything I sew myself. Pretty fabric cost a lot and when I’m also investing a lot of time, I make sure I get a good amount of wear from it.

  6. I have patched a number of jeans in the past with fun patches.

    I’m always looking for ways to keep fav items. I love having 2 girls so clothes can be worn more.

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