School bells will be ringing the start of a new year soon and it's time to switch out the kids' wardrobes from summer tank tops and shorts to fall and winter shirts and pants. But either the fabrics have shrunk over the too-short summer or your kids have hit another growth spurt and now, with classes beginning in just a few weeks, your little students have nothing to wear. Rather than break into their college fund for new threads, try a few of these hacks to repair slightly worn items or find a place to obtain gently worn wares on a budget:
Hand Me Downs
Passing along gently used outfits from older siblings or cousins to youngsters is an easy, cost effective way of reusing clothing. If your kid isn’t too pleased with the idea of wearing something that wasn’t theirs to begin with, try individualizing the item with simple patches or fabric paint.
Patches and Fabric Adding
Kids grow, but unfortunately their clothes do not. Adding a few extra inches onto skirts, shirts and pants can extend a favorite outfit’s lifespan, while putting less strain on your wallet.
Add a pop of color with a cuff at the bottom of the legs – add some ruffles or lace to make them more unique.
Cutting the feet off of tights means your kid can wear their favorite pair of cute tights under dresses or skirts, even if their legs have gotten a bit longer.
Provide a bit more room by including an inch or two of a complementary fabric on each side, running underneath the arm. Lengthen a shirt by adding a few more inches of complementary fabric at the bottom or, if your sewing skills are up to speed, in the middle of a tee.
Turn a too-tight pullover into a cardigan by cutting down the middle and securing the new edges with a few inches of fabric or sturdy ribbon. Be sure to include buttons or, for less hassle, toggles so your kiddo can close their sweater if they'd like.
Give that warm winter coat a few more months by adding the cuff from a pair of adult-size wool socks to the sleeves, allowing junior's growing arms to still be covered against the chill.
Have a little fun by adding patches that show a little bit of pattern—or a favorite cartoon character or superhero—poking through. Alternatively, if you need a quick fix or have few sewing skills, purchase iron-on patches and cut interesting shapes, such as hearts or trapezoids.
Used Clothing Stores
Cruise the aisles of used clothing or consignment stores for good items at great deals. Keep an eye out for flaws you might be able to remove or cover with a patch or embellishment.
Your kid isn't the only one growing—be kind to other parents by bringing clean, outgrown, but still wearable clothing to used clothing stores around town, or making tax-deductible donations of items to groups providing support to in-need children, such a Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
Here are a few places to find gently used threads for your little ones, or sell some of their outgrown or barely worn items:
ONCE UPON A CHILD
1016 W Northern Lights Blvd
KID TO KID
1231 E Dimond Blvd
4931 E Mayflower Lane
Check their Facebook page for more information
This article was originally published in the July 30, 2017, print edition of Back to School. Contact the editor, Jamie Gonzales, with questions or comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.