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Frugal Clothing Tips

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Individual Items

Costumes - October is a good month to check out used stores for costumes. Look for single items that can creatively be put with other things,  as well as items that can be added to a dress-up trunk for little girls.


Jeans - If you find a faded pair of blue jeans for sale that look good except for the color, buy them. You can make them look new again buy just running them through your wash cycle with some Indigo Clothes Dye.


Pants - When you buy pants, try and buy them with at least a little elastic in the waistband. You will be able to wear them through weight fluctuations. They won't sit in the back of your closet either. They are more comfortable, so you will wear them often. The older you get, the more important comfort becomes.


Socks - Here are the best 3 tips to save money on socks. First, avoid the "disappearing sock" by either pining pairs together before you wash them, or putting them in a mesh bag. (If you don't have a mesh bag, you can improvise one by using an old pantyhose leg knotted at both ends). Buy several pairs of socks at one time in the same style and color. If one sock wears out, you can match it with the others. Finally, try and buy either all white or black stockings. White stocks will look newer longer because you can bleach them. Black socks save money on bleach.


Sweaters - When you go to garage sales or thrift stores, don't automatically discount sweaters that have little fuzz balls on them. If they are limited in number, you can probably remove them by either shaving them off with a razor blade or an electric razor. Just be careful not to damage the knit fabric.


Caring for Clothing

Buttons - There are several ways to organize buttons. You can put them on safety pins, and then string them on a hanger. If you are really organized, you can sew extra buttons on the underside of garments you purchase. If you always keep your clothing on the same hanger, you can attach them to the hangers. You can put similar buttons on twist ties, and store them in egg cartons or other containers. Find a system that works for you, and make it easy to find them when you need them.


Dry Cleaning - You have a couple options instead of the expensive of dry cleaning. You can try one of the products sold at stores like Target to dry clean at home. Or try washing your item in a mild detergent made for delicates. Just soak it for a short time, rinse, and then lay flat to dry. Do not wring it or distort it in any way.


Hangers - Here is a tip to make your clothes last longer. Do not hang your clothes on wooden hangers. The wood can cause deterioration of the fiber in your clothing. Wire hangers can cause rust. The best hangers out there for your clothing are the plastic or fabric covered hangers. If you like crafts, think about making pretty fabric hangers by covering old wood hangers with fabric or yarn. If you get good at it, they make great gifts.


New Clothing - If you purchase a dark colored item (especially red) , and are afraid that it might bleed when washed, set the color by running it through the washer, and adding a cup of vinegar to the rinse.


Pants - Save money on pants by taking proper care of them. Knit pants should be folded and set on a shelf so as to not stretch out of shape. Woven fabrics are hung over a hanger. Keep your pants from creasing while hanging by covering the hanger with recycled cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls. Or, if you are crafty, you can make protective hanger covers with fabric and fleece, foam, or batting.


Perfume Stains - Be very careful when apply perfume after you have your good clothes on. If it gets on your clothes it may stain them. If you are using an aerosol can, spray it on before you dress.


Perspiration Stains - Remove perspiration stains from clothing by applying vinegar to the garments. Let sit 15 minutes, and then wash as usual.


Scarves - If you've never seen a scarf hanger before, it is a big hanger with a lot of holes to put your scarves through to keep them from wrinkling. You can easily make a scarf holder yourself by just attaching a plastic soda can holder over a hanger. Then put your scarves in the holes meant for the soda cans.


Washing - Every time you wash a garment, you shorten it's life. Prolong the life of your garments by washing them inside out. You will save some wear and tear on them by lessening the abrasion on the outside fibers of the garment from the agitator.


Washing Knitted Wear - Be careful about putting knitted/fleece casual wear in the dryer. If the quality isn't very good, they will shrink. You can lose 3-4 inches in the length of the pants.


Wrinkles- Remove wrinkles from clothing with a high natural fiber content by spraying with a mixture of half rubbing alcohol and half water.


Altering and Repairing Clothing

Buttons - When you sew a button back on your clothes, don't just set the button on the fabric, and then begin drawing the thread through the button holes and through the cloth of the garment. This leads to aggravation because when you are dressing, and try to put the button through the buttonhole, you will find it difficult. This is because you have not left room for the button to twist before it goes through the hole.

Seamstresses have notions they can use to put between the button and the fabric while they are sewing it on to give the button a shank. For everyone else- just slip something between the fabric and button like a chopstick, small knitting needle, or a large toothpick. Then sew the button to the fabric.  The wider the button, the larger the space you may need. Check the other buttons, and see how much of a thread shank they have.


Cuffs - A good tailor can save you a lot of money on your clothing. Minor alterations on garments are not very expensive. If you have nice shirts with worn out cuffs or collars, take them to a tailor and they can remove the cuffs, and turn them so they look like new.


Hemming Garments - As children grow, you save money by letting down hems. After you rip out the stitches in a hem , there will be a crease in the fabric from the old hem. Here is the way to get rid of it. Add 3 tablespoons of vinegar to a cup of water. Dip a pressing cloth into water to dampen it. Place this cloth over the crease of the fabric and press both layers of fabric with a hot iron. Repeat the process until the crease is gone.


Patches - When you buy your child a new pair of pants, think about ironing or sewing a patch on the inside of the knee area while the pants are still new and the fabric in good condition. Pants usually get holes in the knees first. If you take the time to reinforce the knee while the pants are new, the fabric will hold the patch better. The pants should last much longer. If you don't want to do that, keep a variety of more decorative patches ready to fix torn spots. They will tolerate them better if they get to pick one they would like sewn on the outside of their clothing.


Shoes - Repair your shoes instead of buying new ones. If the soles of your shoes have holes in them, or are just old and uneven, have them replaced. them. It is a lot cheaper than buying new shoes.


Soiled Children's Clothing - Our clothes take a beating, both from wearing and washing them. We want to make them last as long as possible. If they don't fit, we try and alter them. For children's clothing, we often let down the hems as their little legs grow, or put patches on the knees where the fabric has frayed. Sometimes we get a spot on our clothing that is not suitable for a patch. Here is a quick and easy way to perhaps prolong the life of these "soiled" garments. Use a permanent fabric marker and draw a design on top of the spot, or use fabric paint. This works well on light colored fabrics.


Ties - In my lifetime, I have seen men's ties go from very wide to extremely narrow. You can often find wide ties, made from good fabric, on sale. It is not a hard job to take one of these ties, cut it down, and then sew it back together. If you don't sew, find a friend who does, and learn how to do it. It's a great way to save money and have a quality product.


Shoulder Pads - Shoulder pads may be considered out of style, but a lot of us are just not ready to give them up. They give definition to clothing, and can be slimming. If you are a seamstress, you probably know this trick. However, anyone can do it. You can go to a fabric store and buy a pair of shoulder pads that attach with Velcro. The pads will keep their original shape, because you never wash them. Your shoulder pads should last for years. You can even buy a few different styles or thicknesses. Your only effort is a one time job of sewing the Velcro onto the shoulder seams of the garments that need them. It's a great money saver.


T-Shirts - Be creative when it comes to the clothing your children, and possibly you, wear to bed. Think twice before discarding old t- shirts. Children can wear adult t-shirts to bed. Adults can wear old t- shirts together with a pair of elastic flannel pants


Zippers - Ever had the pull tab on the top of your zipper come off? Very frustrating. It is not an easy job, even for an experienced seamstress, to replace the zipper, especially with jeans. However, there is a simple fix. Just attach a safety pin to the place where the tab was to pull the zipper up and down. You can also decide to make the best of the situation, and attach beads to the end of the safety pin for a custom look.

Misc

Cold Feet - If your feet get cold during the winter, here is a recycling idea for you. Take your shoes or boots, and lay them on top of a piece of flannel, old blanket, or other fleece type fabric. Trace around the shoe with a marker. Cut out the warm fabric, and put it into the soles of your shoes. Your feet will stay warmer, and it will give you a little additional cushion when you walk.

Keeping Warm - When your body gets cold, it weakens your immune system. Bundle up in the winter, wear thermals, and keep well.

 

 

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