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