Hand-Me-Down Makeovers
By Nancy Cavanaugh

Every parent knows that the easiest way to save money on children's clothing is by using the hand-me-down system. This is especially true if you have kids or cousins a few years apart and the same gender, though gender doesn't always matter.

Being a sometime recipient of hand-me-downs, I can remember how much I disliked getting someone else's clothes. It was nice to have something new to wear but it wasn't "new." Looking back now I can see all kinds of ways those "gently used" items could have been given an inexpensive and easy makeover.

For boys, you can add a fun dinosaur or truck iron-on patch to the back pocket or to the knees, which will also serve to extend the life of the jeans.

For girls, you can add patches on the back pocket or legs. You can trim the pockets with ribbon or lace, or use decorative trim around the pant leg hem. You could add rhinestones or other beads to the back pockets.

The easiest way to jazz up a plain colored t-shirt or sweatshirt is to add an iron-on or have the recipient decorate it with fabric paints. You can use a variety of techniques with the fabric paints, such as stamping with sponge shapes, stenciling, a paintbrush, etc.

Tie-dye the shirts

Add ribbon, lace, ribbon roses, buttons, small bows or beads to shirts for girls.
Add embroidery.

You can pretty much add anything to a hat: ribbons, bows, flowers, buttons, beads, lace, patches, etc.

While you can't do this with every hand-me-down, you can let your children pick a few things to give a makeover. It will give them a fun project to do and help make everyone happy with this money-saver.

Nancy Cavanaugh, is a stay-at-home mom and avid crafter. You can find lots more fun crafts for kids, ages three to seven, at her site: Kids Holiday Crafts www.kidsholidaycrafts.com

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