27 May 2009

Too-small stretch pants make fine capri pants

I love that Jamie's daughter's wearing "hand-me-ups"!

I know everyone is looking for ways to save money, especially families with kids. I have to give credit for this hack to my three year old daughter. She is really expressing her independence by choosing her own clothes and dressing herself each day. The other day she put on her sister's pants (size 12 mo). Sasha wears a size 2T-3T, but these 12 mo pants worked wonderfully for capri pants for her, and they aren't too tight around the waist, just a little short. This is going to save us some money by being able to give these pants a second life.

Wonderful. I've found the same is true for cotton play dresses. Once they're too short, they're perfect as flowy tops over leggings or jeans (or, if you're my frill-loving daughter, another skirt).

Related: How to tighten pants without sewing? Talk amongst yourselves.

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Outgrown stretch pants that still fit in the waist also make good pajama bottoms. And stretch pants that get holes in the knees or lower can be cut (save the legs for craft projects) and made into shorts to wear around the house or under dresses/skirts for modesty. I don't sew so I don't even bother hemming them. Stretchy shorts that are too tight fitting to be worn as is also work well under dresses or under t-shirts as PJs. These hacks work best with children who are on the slim side, like mine.

Outgrown stretch pants that still fit in the waist also make good pajama bottoms. And stretch pants that get holes in the knees or lower can be cut (save the legs for craft projects) and made into shorts to wear around the house or under dresses/skirts for modesty. I don't sew so I don't even bother hemming them. Stretchy shorts that are too tight fitting to be worn as is also work well under dresses or under t-shirts as PJs. These hacks work best with children who are on the slim side, like mine.

Here are some tips to get more wear from the clothes that you do buy new: You can usually buy little girls dresses one size larger than their current size, especially if it is a tank-style dress or short sleeves. This way you can get two years of use out of that dress, which is great for those special holiday dresses. Also, I read somewhere that the only difference between 2T and 3T is in the length of the pant legs and shirt sleeves. Go ahead and buy your 2T-sized kid 3T shorts and t-shirts and they will likely wear them for two summers.

I like to use my daughter's dresses that are too small as baby-doll style tops over leggings and jeans. At the end of the summer, I pack away all her shorts to use as play clothes for the next year (it doesn't matter if they are too short, because she only wears them to paint in, play in the yard, etc.) I also do this with pants, jeans and leggings in the Fall/Winter. If jeans still fit in the waist, you can do an easy hemline with a sewing machine or heavy-duty iron-on fabric tape and turn the jeans that are too short in length into capris or shorts (this works especially well with adjustable waist clothing). For Spring/Fall t-shirts that are too short, I buy plain solid-colored t-shirts for layering underneath. This works very well because the weather is generally cooler and she needs an extra layer anyway and allows her favorite t-shirts that she has outgrown to stay in her wardrobe for another season. For my little boy (9 mos), I use all his pants that still fit in the waist but are too short for pajamas and play clothes - especially in the summer. You can also take a onesie that still fits in the middle and sleeves, cut the bottom (snap) portion off. Use a sewing machine or serger to finish the hemline and now you have a t-shirt that is long enough to tuck into pants. Have a ton of dingy white socks from a previous child? Don't throw them away. I use clothing dye to dye all the dingy socks another color instead of paying more money for fancy colored socks at my favorite childrens department store. Recycling clothing from one child to the next and making these minor changes allows me to trim my budget enough to purchase a really special outfit for each child. After they finish wearing that item (as it was originally intended), we recycle that into something new too!!!

I'm so glad to read this as an official hack. I have two girls, ages 5 1/2 and 3, and we mix and match clothes of different sizes all the time, usually just because we're trying to work with what's clean. ;) Now I will feel "practical" and not disorganized!

I second pajama bottoms -- works for both boys and girls.

I use the dresses as shirts too. As long as they still fit even if too short then they just look like cute shirts. Also jeans that get too short but still fit in the waist can be turned into capris by simply rolling them up. With boys when pants get too long, I just cut them into shorts and sew a hem on them. Or shirts that are too small such as t-shirts get turned into little bags or pillows.

For little girls with skinny waists but long legs, jeans work great the second year as capris too - you can cut a little slit at the bottom of each side.

Same with us! We use too-small dresses as tops over shorts, skirts or capris, and we use too-small pants as capris. My daughter is very petite but tall, so she's worn some of the same things for several years in a row - they still fit, just in different ways :)

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