Monday, August 27, 2007

Remaking Clothes

One way that I clothe our family economically is by remaking clothes. We are given a lot of hand-me-downs, which are not always in the size or style that we want or need. Instead of just getting rid of them or turning them into quilts, I try to look them over and see if there is a way to turn them into something that we do need or want.
This dress at the left was given to us and fit my daughter Mara. However it was rather on the short side (I have a tall daughter) and we don't like short dresses for Mara. (She has trouble sitting and acting ladylike in long dresses, it would be quite a trial to keep covered up with a short one.) So instead of just passing it on again we revamped it. She did need another dress (we had some weddings to go to as well as for church). I found some material that I had left over from a bridesmaids dress and I added a layer on the bottom. The darker blue matched the flowers that were in the dress (that is kind of hard to tell in the picture). Mara wanted me to add some pink to it to so I added the pink strips. I wasn't totally happy with the result but she was and I was okay with it.
My other project for this summer was modest swimsuits. When we were out in Oregon for some weddings we went to the ocean which I knew wasn't going to be a private beach like we sometimes find here in Minnesota. I could have just worn shorts and a t-shirt but I thought it would be nice to have something a little easier to swim in and something Ken would like. For mine I used a pair of exercise pants that we had been given (that were pretty much out of black swimsuit material) and then a little bit of pink fabric that I had on hand. I made pretty much a sun
dress that had a high neckline and was tight under the arms. I then wore it over a bikini. It work out really well and I was happy with it. I used up pretty much every scrap of the exercise pants.
For Mara's swimsuit we took one that she already had and added a skirt to it. To make the skirt I cut a big circle out of some black fabric that I had on hand (bought for a dollar a yard, and I made a suit for my youngest son but I had leftover). The material was a polyester suit material so I figured it wouldn't soak up water that much and would dry quickly. I cut a hole in the middle of the circle to go around her waist and sewed it onto the swimsuit. Then we added the ribbon over top to cover up where I had zig-zagged the shirt on. The skirt came all the way down over her knees which was a little longer than I had planned but worked
out fine. She loved it. She had never cared for wearing shorts over her suit but the skirt she loved.
  • Some of the other ways that I like to remake clothes are:
  • ~ Turn adult pants into little kids pants. little boys pants are sometimes rather hard to come by, but often adult pants are pretty easy to get. Find a simple pattern for elastic waist pants and you can wip up a pair pretty quickly. Sometimes you can even use the hem and the sideseam from the original pair of pants.
    Just cut them up the inseam and the middle of the front and back and lay your pattern on.
  • ~I have also taken old maternity dresses of mine and turned it into dresses for my daughter. An empire waist dress (without darts) works for a full length waist for a smaller person. Just re-cut the sleeve area and the side seams and shorten the length.
  • ~ Another way to make dresses for girls is to add a skirt to a t-shirt. Find some fabric that coordinates and gather it up (or pleat it) and sew it on. A very quick way to make a dress.
  • ~A way to use old sweaters is to make mittens or hats out of them. Go here for directions for the mittens. Here are directions for some interesting hats.

I have had a lot of fun remodeling clothing. When you are doing something like that, remember not to stress over it. You are saving something from the trash anyway, if it turns out that you hate it, turn it into a rag, you didn't pay anything for it anyway.
I would love to hear your ideas for remaking clothes and if you have blogged about let me know where as I would love to look at it.
Have Fun!


Alexandra said...

Great ideas and the clothes came out really nicely!

Jenni said...

Great ideas! I love the skirt you added to the swimsuit, gives me a great idea. I think I'll add one to my suit, then I won't have to cover up with a separate skirt!

Abbi said...

Thanks for the comments! These projects were a lot of fun to do. I hope your skirt goes well Jenni.

Denise said...

I really wish I had talent in sewing! I made a few outfits for my first baby 16 yrs ago, but haven't touched the machine since. Those are really good ideas! I have a simple skirt I would take apart and copy if I trusted myself LOL.

ultranguik said...

i stumble upon your site from google, and i must comment that it was a very beautiful dress you made for you girl, her being adorable is also a major plus ^^
i admire your talent in remaking clothes ^^ very creative

niksblog said...

Hey Loved your swimsuit/dress! It looks like the fabric gave extra support too.
Your daughter's dress looked amazing! really pretty with pink.
Re. her swimmers with the long skirt, did she find it hard to swim in? Just thinking if there was a rip (in the water) or anything? She does look really happy and cute though,

Abbi said...

Thanks for all the nice comments.
To answer your question, Mara doesn't really do a lot of swimming yet, mainly playing in the water so the skirt hasn't been a problem. I think if you were wanting to swim fast, a skirt that full and long could be a hindrance. Mine however works just fine for swimming.

Modestkini said...

I just came across this blog and found it very interesting indeed.Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

You can buy modest swimsuits at and you can also buy swimsuit material if you like at Swimsuit material should be 80-85% nylon and 15-20% spandex. Yours look wonderful though! Loved the idea of re-making clothes. I hadn't thought of that! But, now is a good time to start!
-someone in ND

Anonymous said...

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