How to refashion clothes for kids and teens.

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I’m a bit … frugal. Ha! We’ve made the choice to be a one income family, so I’m always stretching my creative muscles in the area of “making do and mending”. One thing I’ve always loved to do is to find clever ways to make my kids’ clothing last longer. Especially at these ages when they grow out of things before they wear them out.

Natalie had hung a few things up in my sewing room that were too small for her and we spent about one hour making three new garments out of the old ones.

Natalie is very slender, so when she grows out of things, it’s almost always in length only. We bought her this Christmas dress at Target in December and she only got one wear out of it before it became way too short on her. She wore it once more with leggings, but now that the weather is getting warm, she decided she’d like to turn it into a top.

Here’s a before and after!

Turn a too-short dress into a top!

We created a hi-lo hem, it looks super cute. This was as easy as trying on, measuring, cutting the skirt and hemming.

Upcyle your clothes!

Next up, she had a black knit dress that had also become too short for comfort. This time she wanted to turn it into a skirt, so we cut it off under the arms, made a casing and added elastic.

Turn a too-short dress into a skirt!

Third, we had a romper that we thought would be cute as pants, for Layla this time. It already had an elastic waist, so we just cut it off about an inch above the waist and hemmed the top edge into a ruffle.

Refashioning clothes

More ideas for refashioning:

  • For little ones, turn winter pajamas into summer ones by cutting the sleeves and legs off into shorts and short sleeves. They will have outgrown them by the next winter anyway!

  • Turn leggings with holes in the knees into bike shorts to wear under dresses.

  • When overalls get too short in the crotch, cut off the pants and add a gathered skirt out of cute fabric! Like this.

  • Turn jeans into jean shorts. Here’s a great tutorial!

  • Cut shirts or sweaters open down the center, hem the sides, maybe add some cute buttons, and wear them as cardigans.

  • Add a ruffle to the bottom of shirts and dresses that are too short.

  • Use my tutorial to turn a sleeved dress into a sleeveless one.

These are all the things I can think of right now that we have done in the past to make the kids’ clothes last just another season or two! If you have anything to add, let us all know in the comments :)

Refashioning clothes for kids and teens
How to upcycle clothes for kids and teens.
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Upcycling jeans!

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Well, hello there, readers! I know it's been some time since I have posted. I let my life fill up just a little too much this past school year and I found I just did not have time or energy left to post anything remotely helpful for you. But we wrapped up our school year and I am excited to start sharing here in this space again! 

To update you on life here: I am still teaching sewing to kids and I am still sewing with my own kiddos. I am not currently creating sewing tutorials for YouTube, but it's not something I've decided to totally give up on, so we'll see in the future how I feel about that. I am glad those videos seem to be helpful to so many, though, according to the subscriber number! I am still sewing many of my own clothes and my kids are all still sewing as well. My oldest is starting to learn to use  patterns and make clothing too, which is so gratifying for us both! 

Yesterday in sewing class, we upcycled jeans into some really cute purses. Here's a photo of the finished product: 

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These were pretty fun. I had quite a stash of jeans that the girls had outgrown and a couple pair of Casey's and mine, but they all chose the purse sized girls' jeans. They all turned out so differently! 

I have been a long-time jeans upcycler. One time, probably fifteen years ago now, I made a library bag out of jeans and I have flat put that thing through the wringer with heavy loads of library books and it is still going strong! 

I thought I'd round a few good jeans upclying ideas that I've coming across recently while pinning ideas for my classes to use up this pile of jeans! 

  1. The Brother Sews blog has this great idea to make a modern looking tote bag out of jeans legs. I like this because it's non-cheesey looking and you don't even have to line it since the hem makes the top of the bag and the inside seams are bound with bias tape. Cool! 
Photo from http://blog.brothersews.com/upcycling/earth-day-reusable-tote-bag/

Photo from http://blog.brothersews.com/upcycling/earth-day-reusable-tote-bag/

         2. I absolutely love these adorable bone shaped dog toys out of old jeans. We know they'd be sturdy too! 

Photo belongs to: https://www.pillarboxblue.com/handmade-dog-toys/

Photo belongs to: https://www.pillarboxblue.com/handmade-dog-toys/

      3. You would have to have been following my sewing adventures for many years to remember this picnic quilt I made out of upcycled denim and cotton. The borders are vintage tea towels and the back is a sturdy tapestry from Urban Outfitters. These photos are from 2010 and this quilt is still going strong. We use it constantly, it just lives in the car. So turn those old jeans into a picnic blanket! 

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       4. If you search for denim teddy bear on Pinterest, you'll see how cute a teddy can be made from old jeans! Here's a great pattern to use. Teddy bears are not hard to sew at all, they're usually just two pattern pieces. You will just need some animal eyes, which are super easy to install (and are not the choking hazard that buttons would be, if gifting to a little one). 

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      5. Old jeans scraps would make great hair bows or triangle bags! You could get a lot from just one pants leg, making them great quick gifts! Find both those video tutorials below: 

I could on and on, there are so many things you could do with those old jeans. Here's some more just off the top of my head:

  • Doll jeans.
  • Clutch purses
  • Tablet cases
  • Notebook covers (use the back pocket on the front!)
  • Coffee cozies
  • Coasters
  • Wall hanging with jeans pockets
  • Throw pillows
  • Fabric flowers. The way the fabric frays make these extra cool!

Do you have any more ideas? What kinds of things have you made from jeans? 

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