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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Reconstructing Clothes: Using what we have


While on my quest to save money, I came across the idea of using what you have. Since then, I have been trying to find creative ways to use what we have in our house. I have already talked about using what I have to make chemical-free cleaners, but I found something else I can reuse in our home. Old clothes!

I was given this link to a tutorial on how to remake a man's shirt into a little girls dress. It is such a cute little dress, and so easy and cheap to do. All you would need to buy is elastic and maybe some trim, if you don't have any extra fabric. I'm using eyelet for my trim. I am in the process of doing this right now for my sweet lil' mama, so hopefully tomorrow I will update this post with my pictures.

Another way we are reusing clothes is by making purses out of old jeans and then giving them as gifts for my daughter's friends.

We got the idea for my oldest daughter's 14th birthday. My 12 year old daughter wanted to give her sister a present, so she decided to make a purse out of jeans. She is as frugal as her mother, but way more creative!

We looked up a few sites online, got an idea of what to do, and an hour later we had a purse! All the little girls love her purse. Now that they are learning to embellish them with belts, charms, and flowers, the girls want to turn this into a little side job. They actually sell pretty well on ebay. I haven't checked Etsy yet.

Here is a picture of the first purse my daughter made. Not too bad!

Now, not only do I have a great, inexpensive way to make the younger girls dresses, but I have a great gift idea that I don't have to spend much on.

I know there are lots of ways to use olds clothes. In fact, my next big project is to make a denim quilt out of old jeans. I have been saving these for awhile in order to get enough. I can't wait to get started, but it'll have to keep for awhile yet.

Does anybody else have any ideas to reuse old clothes? Some of the ideas i've gotten so far is to use old t-shirts as rags. You can also use them to make a maternity band for the tops of your skirts or pants. Also, another great idea is to use old flannel shirts or blankets to make cloth babywipes.

17 comments:

D&Xmommy said...

I am not very creative, but I know you can use old t-shirts for dust rags or as cloth napkins. I adore that dress pattern, I really need to learn how to sew.

Teresa said...

Isn't it adorable? Hmmm...maybe i can make a few of those as gifts too. ;-)
I forgot about using old t-shirts as rags. Scott uses them as painting rags to wipe up messes. They work great!

D&Xmommy said...

I had my moms sewing machine for about 4 months last semester and I only sewed some cloth wipes once on it. Oh, there is another one. You can use old flannel shirts for cloth wipes or diaper liners. Yay, I thought of another one.

Teresa said...

Another great idea!

happyhousewife said...

Great idea, I have made purses, dresses, pillows, curtains, out of other items. I love to recycle old fabric.
Great tip~

Cajunchic said...

We only wear skirts so when a certain skirts starts to get a little short on my 4 year old I just sew some lace or other coordinating material around thebottom.

That dress is adorable. I am going to have to try that with a shirt my dh was just about to throw out.

Mom2fur said...

Wow, your daughter did an amazing job on the purse!
One way I re-use clothes is to transfer trims. I've had t-shirts that have gotten worn out, so what I do is to cut off any pretty lace or trim. The rest of the shirt usually becomes cleaning rags. But trim generally holds up a lot better. I've transferred trim from one shirt to another new one--usually a t-shirt bought very cheaply!
Another idea is to cut apart a garment you like and use it as a pattern to make a new garment. I am doing this currently with a favorite pair of PJs that has 'seen its day.' They were flannel, but I'll use the pieces to cut out new PJs for the summer in light cotton.

Carlie Faulk said...

Knowing my Mom can so....where were all those cute dress ideas when my daughter was snall!!!!
They are so cute! I can't wait to see lil one in hers.

Rachael said...

I am no sewer (proper grammar much?;) but I did make a potholder out of old jeans using the pattern from Tightwad Gazette. It is so sturdy!

Monica said...

I enjoyed reading through your blog this morning. I enjoyed your $300 budget series. We are a family of 9 working on cutting the household expenses too:) I have added you to my favorites!

Michelle said...

Hey T, here's just a thought about another use for those jeans. When I was little my mom used old jeans to make pot holders. I actually got them from her when she moved out of her apartment. I kept those things forever until they were just completely falling apart. I hated the idea of throwing them away. She actually laughed at me when I told her I had kept them for so long. She would use different washes of jeans for the trim and use filler to make it thicker. Ask her about them next time you talk to her.....I'm sure she'll start giggling just thinking about them. Love!

Michele said...

Great ideas! Thanks! :) I think I'll need to try out that dress tutorial later this year. (I already my DD's summer dresses for this year as her Christmas presents.)
Blessings,
Michele :)

Kate said...

Great ideas Teresa! I am always looking for ideas like this, evn though I have yet to try any of them. Once I learn to sew I would love to do this more. I'm going to have to print this post out and check into the link so that I can hold on to it to use in the near future. One thing I have done to reuse old clothes is that I took my favorite onesies for each of the kids and hand-stitched all of the openings and stuffed with pillow stuff (for the life of me I can't remember the right name). These make great memories, as well as pillows that the kids love to sleep on or cuddle with every night.

Mom 2 To Boys said...

I LOVE to reuse old things and make them into new. My favorite right now is wool sweaters. Felt them in the washer and turn them into lots of things. I did hats & gloves for Christmas gifts and some wool longies for my little guy. I am hoping to have enough to do a changing pad for a friend having a baby any day and I plan to make some felt softies for my boys. I also made myself a jean pocketbook and LOVE it. Check out my blog for some pics of all this stuff. There are also lots of books out there for remaking jeans & t-shirts, etc into other usable things. Great frugal idea!

~v said...

My mom would save the elastic tops off of socks that had the toes and heels worn out. She used them to make the elastic bottoms on pajama legs - as well as to lengthen them as we got taller. She also used them on the ends of long-sleeved shirts either when they were just made or to extend the size a little longer. Since we loved colored socks she usually had quite a selection to pick from. ~v

Anonymous said...

Use old clothes anyway you would normally use fabric. www.craftster.com has lots of tutorials about reconstructing clothing. Take clothes that don't fit right and alter them to look fabulous by nipping in the waist, changing the neckline or length. A man's t-shirt (or two) often has enough material to make a dress for a teenage girl simply by chopping off the top sleeve part and making them into straps.

Using what you have to be frugal is a great thing to do for your budget, the environment, and your creativity. Another tip I've found useful is to use half of what you normally do. (half the shampoo or toothpaste, spend half the time in the shower)

Anonymous said...

I just read Reconstructing clothes for dummies. Love,love, LOVE it! There is heaps of ideas in there. Good luck ;-)