Three Simple and Cheap Ways to Re-Vamp Your Clothes

The recession still bites and many people have had to re-think their spending priorities. When times are hard and money is short, housing and food have to come first, and other considerations end up low down on the list, buying new clothes in particular.

The downturn in the economy has thrown up new challenges for everyone and, over the last few years, many people have found enterprising and inventive ways of making their money stretch further, and some have looked at what they already possess with a new eye.

Clothing is one area in which fostering a good old-fashioned make-do-and-mend philosophy will reap great rewards. During the austere post-war years, it became common practice to re-model clothes and other textiles; even parachute silk could be used to make ball gowns and, more surprisingly, wedding dresses. People learned to make the most of what they already owned, or what could be sourced easily and cheaply.

There are several ways in which clothing can be re-worked to make it wearable again, and this article mentions just a few.

Something as simple as changing the buttons on a jumper, shirt, even a coat or jacket, can turn what was once a dated item into something much more up-to-the-minute. Today, there is a huge selection of buttons available at most haberdasheries; they are not particularly expensive, so changing an outfit in this way could cost no more than a few pennies, and a little time with a needle and thread. No special skills are needed to do this; even those who are unfamiliar with needlework will be able to sew on a button and, for those who have never done it before, there are plenty of online tutorials to take the novice through every step.

Most thrifty-minded people will save the buttons, zips, buckles, and any other trims, from items that are due to be discarded because they have worn out and are unsuitable for donating to thrift stores or charity shops. Just because an article of clothing has no further wear in it, doesn't mean it can't still be useful. For hand-knitted jumpers, even the yarn itself can be unravelled, wound into skeins and steamed, producing fresh new yarn with which to knit or crochet something new and more fashionable.

Another way to breathe new life into old clothes is to dye them. Today, there are many types of fabric dye available, and some can even be used in a domestic washing machine. They produce colour-fast professional results with the minimum of fuss or outlay. A change of colour can work wonders for something that looks tired and dated.

Many things can be dyed, so it's worth looking in thrift stores for clothes that could be re-vamped this way.

For those who are handy with needle and thread, knitting needles, or crochet hook, a great way to re-vamp an item of clothing is to add an element. Jumpers and t-shirts can be enhanced with the addition of an edging around the hem; this can be anything from a contrasting piece of fabric, to a knitted lace band, or a crocheted fringe. This is also a great way to lengthen things that are a little too short. Appliques and motifs can be added, too, and are a great way of disguising a stain or other flaw in the fabric of an item. As with edgings and fringes, these can be hand-made at home, or purchased easily from a haberdashery.

None of these suggestions will cost as much as buying a new garment, but they will increase the versatility of a wardrobe. They may even lead to learning new skills so that, when money is flowing more freely, savings can still be made by making new and unique items of clothing rather than buying brand new.

author: Kathy Penney

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