New Clothes Breaking the Bank?

I'll admit it: it's been 16 years since I started kindergarten, but I still remember the very first thrill of going back-to-school shopping with my mom.  New pencils, Lisa Frank unicorn folders, a fresh box of crayons, cute new shoes, a darling winter coat...  All through school - and well into adulthood, thank you, graduate school - this annual guilty pleasure sustained me with things I needed, convinced myself I needed, things I just wanted and had no other excuse to buy, and sometimes even just purchased because I have a shopping problem out of civic duty to the economic recovery.

You're welcome, America. We all do our part.

But if you're like me, sometimes helping the economy rebound just isn't in the checkbook.  And sometimes, even the prices at Target or the Base or Post Exchange are jaw-dropping.*  Enter: your friendly Internet! Pressed to make something new out of the things you already have lying around?  Here adorable fix-ups for worn and torn items that will sparkle them up to back-to-school new.


This easy jeans fix is adorable for little ones.  There are a bunch of different sample monsters you can recreate at home, and you have to admit: this little guy is way better than just a boring old patch. I'm pretty tempted to do this to a pair of my own jeans, and thanks to the fashion industry's firm belief that any pair of jeans under $30 should be sold with rips and tears already in them, it won't be a problem finding a hole to patch up.  Maybe I'll do this tiny owl instead! (via Refashion Co-Op)

For sweaters that have busted through in the elbows, there's always the old patch to sew on (here are some really cool sparkly ones), but why go grandpa when you can be trendsetter instead!

I have a sweater that is literally crying out from the closet to have this done to it this weekend.**  According to the tutorial, this is actually easy to do, if not a little violent.  (The word 'stabbing' is thrown out there a few times.)  So, not only is this a great way to fix-up something you would have otherwise tossed, it's also a wonderful way to get out your aggression after having stood in the 30th line this week waiting to check-out with yet another list of necessities sent from the school!

If you've got a little girl in your house, upcycle one daddy's older button-down shirts into a super cute back-to-school pillowcase dress.

With some adorable ribbon detailing at the shoulders, a sparkly belt, and a little cardigan, this is an adorable picture day outfit.  This would be a great way to get rid of some of the older cammies lying around ... especially for a homecoming! (If you hate sewing but love upcycling, this DIY is still for you.  It's really easy.  Meet your new best friend: iron-on adhesive.)

I also really like these DIY game day dresses for the older girls (or moms) in your house.

And last but not least, make hand-me-down hoodies new again for the next kid: how about a DIY Dinosaur sweatshirt?

Or a Snow White hoodie?

Even if it started out as big brother's favorite sweatshirt, there's no little girl who wouldn't feel like a princess in this.

So while everyone else is standing in that hour-long line breaking the bank yet again, upcycle awesome instead.  Do you have any go-to tricks for turning old into new?


* Really, Target?  Am I missing something?  Who spends $1.5k on diamond earrings and goes to TARGET to get them? Target, I love you.  I really do.  But mostly for $15 leggings.  On that note, have you spent any time perusing the PX online? Did you know they sell a $45,000 diamond engagement ring? THE PX.

Uhhh... sorry economy.  But on these paychecks?  We just can't shoulder that one.

** I cannot honestly tell you this is actually easy.  The pictures and tutorial make it LOOK easy.  I will ruin one of my own sweaters and let you know.  Until then, if anyone knows what felting is, please explain whether or not this is like attempting to climb Mt. Everest in the craft world.

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