Friday 1 August 2014

Refashion Friday: 4 Ways to Refashion Baby Clothes

The speed at which babies grow out of and/or trash their clothes is frankly frightening. But there are lots of ideas on the interwebs for making their clothing last longer, whether your motivation is financial, ecological or (like me) both! So, if your baby is wracking up the clothing-casulaties, here are four of ideas that you might like to try to get more use from them or to make them pass-on-able to other babies. 

1) Dyeing and Tie-dyeing

If your baba's garments are looking faded and washed out, or have sustained some serious food/poo stains that stain remover and direct sunshine can't shift, then I can't think of a more fun way to refresh them than to get your dye-on. No matter what the packet says, you can never predict exactly what the shade of colour is going to come out so there's an element of surprise to be enjoyed! Plus any visible synthetic stitching or topstitching, poppers and buttons that don't pick up the dye become cool new contrast features. 

Extra tip: ask your parent/carer-friends if they have any baby clothing items that they'd like dyeing too to combine with your own. That way you don't need to dye all your items the same colour just to make the most of the bucket/tub/washing machine full of dye.  

2) Lengthening Onesies/Vests

Is it just me, or are some onesies/vests wayyyyy too wide for their length? Dolores takes after her dad and is quite a long baby but not very wide, and I've found that most of these things become too short whilst the width is still totally fine. Slice through the body horizontally and add a band of similar-weight knit fabric (I used an overlocker/serger for that step). Then top-stitch the seam allowances down so that they don't feel uncomfortable round the belly area. So far Dolores has got an extra two months use from these and I think there'll be at least another month or two before they become too small in both directions. Refashioning two of these in this way took me about 20 mins, and with at least three months extra use to be enjoyed I think it was 20 mins well spent. 

Extra tip: play about with contrast plain or print knits for the lengthening band to create really fun, unusual onesies/vests. It's a good way to use up scraps of knit lurking in your stash. You could even swap over the top and bottom sections if you were refashioning more than one of similar sizes at a time for a totally mixed up look. The lengthening band doesn't have to be positioned where I have, it could be more central or round the chest area for example. 

3) Onesies/vests into T-shirts

This is another option for onesies/vests that have got too short in the body but are still fine width-wise. Or, as in the case above, there's an unsightly poo-stain in the bum area that washing powder has failed to shift! Slice through the body of the onesie/vest horizontally and add a band of knit or ribbing that has been folded double. Make the band slightly narrower in width than the bottom of the onesie/vest itself so it fits snuggly and doesn't gape round the waist/hips. 

Extra tip: harvest sections of unwanted t-shirts or the ribbing from old sweatshirts, or use contrast plain or print knit for the bands. 

4) Onesies/Vests or T-shirts into Dresses

(image source: Marilla Walker)

When I was planning this post, I had a 'onesie/vest or t-shirt/top into dress' refashion listed but I had yet to get round to actually doing one to photograph. Miraculously, the other day lovely Marilla tweeted me the picture above of her darling little girl in her very own vest-to-dress creation. Marilla was very kind and allowed me to use the image in this post. Follow the above link to check out her explanation of the method used. 

Extra tip: different looks can be created depending on where you cut the onesie/vest/t-shirt/top (at the waist like Marilla did, or higher up for an empire line effect perhaps) and how much fabric/fullness you add to the skirt section. 


tialys said...

Great ideas for extending the life of baby clothes. I remember how fast mine grew out of lovely things and, especially in the early months when family and friends had bought lots of clothing as gifts, some never even got worn.

MrsC (Maryanne) said...

So clever! And aren't baby things madly fun, so quick to do!

110 Creations said...

You may know this already, but a garment with a poo stain can be laid out in the sun and it will remove the stain (as long as the poo is from a breastfeeding baby). I used to hang all our cloth diapers out in the sun and it would magically remove the stains--for real!

JustSewJenna said...

Great ideas. I wish I had thought about cutting it in half and then adding a panel in when Elodie was little, I used to get so frustrated with vests falling off her shoulders because they were too wide but being too short on the body.

Anonymous said...

These are such great tips!!!

Sewn the World Over said...

I love these ideas, I still have bags of baby clothes in the cupboard from my when my toddler was smaller. With number two on the way, I would love to reuse some of them. The dying idea is great for making some of the more girly items unisex, in case I have a boy! I also agree on the onsie length issue, my daughter's clothes always get too short before they stop fitting width ways.

Unknown said...

The lengthening band! Brilliant!

I've turned onesies into tees just by chopping off the bottom, since knit doesn't fray.

Unknown said...

These are great ideas! I have so many cute onesies that I want to make into shirts when my daughter outgrows them! Thanks for passing on the ideas.

Sara Noemi said...

Cute refashioning!

Do you think you'll be doing self-stitched september next month?

Jen said...

I'm a cheapskate, so I saved all of my baby clothes for the next child until we were done. Cutting up onesies to make them longer meant that I couldn't reuse them at the shorter size without altering them again in some way. I found the way around this when in a catalog I found snap extenders that you use to lengthen a onesie. I bought a couple, to see how they were made, then made my own. For people who want to use the baby clothes again but not alter them , this is a great alternative.

The thing I've been doing recently is cannibalizing the actual fabric to make other things. Like a cute tiger appliqué from a onesie that had a rip in it - I cut off the appliqué and used it on a romper I made. And I have plans for a sleeper whose fabric I like but which is getting too worn in the knees to hand down or take to the thrift shop. I'm going to make a shirt with faux layered sleeves and will use fabric from the sleeper for the lower portion of the sleeves. I'm actually really excited about that one.

君子之风 said...

I think I should have to share your post to my friends!

Unknown said...

It's kinda hard for guy to refashion the Baby Clothes... only girl can do~lolz......

Unknown said...

Hey...!! Thanks a lot for sharing this post. It is really very helpful and definitely i will follow these tips on my babies clothes.
I was just searching out for baby clothes and landed to this post. Its really nice and thanks.

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Ideas are awesome and the baby is very cute. I learn ideas to refashion all my baby clothes into kid clothes.

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