25 July 2011

Get more wear from your kid's clothes

Sewing for babies and children is fun, and can save you a lot of money when it comes to dressing them stylishly. Baby clothes are often outgrown before they are worn out, but once that little baby starts to crawl, then toddle, their clothes come in for a real battering, often cutting short the time they get to actually wear your handmade creations.  Keeping them looking good doesn't have to involve a lot of time or money, just a little creativity.

• Sew decorative patches on the knees. I did this when trousers were new, rather than wait til the knees were worn.  On school trousers and good pants I put the patch on the inside of each trouser leg.  This is an especially good idea for crawling babies. Add a padded patch (use fleecy or polar fleece for softness) for your baby's comfort when he crawls on hard floors.

• Include a large hem. When your child grows too tall, but still fits the garment around the waist, you can just let the hem down a bit. Dab the fold with some vinegar and steam to get the crease out.

• Add "expandable" features to your child's clothing. A pair of pants or a skirt with an elastic waistband will fit them a lot longer than one with a sewn waistband.

• Add decorative trim to pants or a skirt that is too short but fits around the child. A old pair of jeans can be lots of fun with an embroidered band added around the hem, or a skirt can have a length of lace added or a band of contrasting fabric.  Use your imagination!

• Be sure to follow the fabric manufacturer's instructions for laundering the item. This seems obvious, but sometimes it's something we need to be reminded of.  Just throwing things in the wash can result in a lot of ruined clothing. Remember to sort, close zippers and do up buttons. Turn dark clothes and heavy jeans inside out to wash.

• Re-dye clothing that isn't worn but is stained or looking faded. You can find the dye at the supermarket, chemist or your local craft store.

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