Style on a Budget: Re-Fashion Tips for Moms


Hi, I’m Merrick from Merrick’s Art, where I blog about style, sewing, and family life. I’m a mom of a spunky and smart little two year old boy, and seven months pregnant with baby boy #2, and I’m thrilled to be here on ModernMom today!

One of my favorite things to feature on my blog is re-fashions. Since it’s hard to find good quality fabrics for a good price and in good patterns, I’ve learned that I prefer to start with something from a store and then make it my own.

Today I want to share with you five tips and ideas for refashioning, so you too can make your wardrobe fit your personality, your body type, and your wallet, even if many items from the stores do not.

1. Look for good quality fabric.

Shopping at thrift stores can be a gold mine of good fabric, but there will also be a lot of bad among the good. I always do the Look and Feel test. First, I scan the racks and boxes for good patterns or colors. Then, once I spot something with potential, I’ll pull it off the rack and feel the fabric. It depends on the item of clothing, and what I plan to do with it, of course, but I try to stay away from super thin or crepe-y material, or anything too synthetic. Then, when you hold up the fabric, see how the it hangs, and if it has a good drape to it, it’s probably a winner.

One of my favorite thrift store refashions is this oversized button up that I turned into a beautiful blouse (tutorial):

2. Open up your shopping possibilities!  

Now that I know I can refashion almost anything, I have the liberty of shopping at almost any store, and in almost every section. Don’t let yourself be limited to the women’s section only, because size, shape, or label makes almost no difference when you can refashion it to fit you like a glove. 

My husband was throwing out one of his old polo shirts last year, so I made it into a slouchy tee for me (tutorial). And then a few months later I found a blue button up that I liked in the boys section, and tailored it to be a fitted chambray-type shirt.

3. Recycle and give old pieces new life. 

About twice a year, I go through my closet and weed out anything that doesn’t fit, has a stain that I can’t get out, or is something that I never wear. Most of these items then go into my repair box, where they eventually get refashioned. Just because you’ve gained or lost a few pounds, or can’t get a stain out, doesn’t mean you have to throw away a perfectly good piece of clothing!

When I got a stain right on the front of one of my favorite striped t-shirts, I turned it backward, altered the neckline, and made it into a boatneck t-shirt that I’ve continued to get tons of use out of (seen here). A few months ago, I was on the verge of tossing an old dingy white t-shirt, but instead I used a little fabric paint and covered up all the dinginess to make it a fun neon color-blocked tee (tutorial).

4. Easy fixes go a long way.

Tailoring clothes may seem like a scary thing, but often most fixes are really, really simple, and can be done by even the most beginner seamstresses.

I recently bought a pair of white skinny jeans at Ross for $14, and although I loved them, the legs were slightly roomier than I would have liked. A simple straight seam on each leg and they were fitted exactly to my liking (tutorial). And one of my all time favorite fixes that I’ve done to dozens of my tops, is to take in the sleeves. With thin arms, many shirts are just a little baggier that I want, and again with a simple seam on each arm (or even sometimes all the way down the sides) they are perfectly fitted (tutorial).

5. Play with paint!

I’m often online window shopping and run across a clothing item that I absolutely love. Although a high price tag usually deters me from buying it, it often gets the creative juices flowing and I find myself figuring out a way to duplicate the top at home.

With all the fun polka dot tops that were popping up everywhere, I started to get the itch to buy one. But with a cheap white t-shirt and some black fabric paint, I made my own (tutorial)! Also, around valentines day this past year, the graphic heart sweaters from j.crew were everywhere. Again, with a little bit of freezer paper and black fabric paint, I made my own for only a couple of bucks (seen here).

I have tons of other refashions and tutorials on my blog, all of which are super simple but make a big difference. Stop on by, check them out, and say hi!




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