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How to personalise hand-me-downs

How to personalise hand-me-downs

eBay's style director recently described reusing clothes as "the height of chic". Here's how to customise your hand-me-downs to make them fashionable and fantastic for the next generation.

Add fad
An old shirt or singlet can be made funky and new (not to mention completely unique) with a few embellishments. Stick buttons, sequins, beading or rhinestones on with fabric glue, tie little knots with coloured string or sew lace or ruffles onto sleeves and necklines.

To change the shape of baggy hand-me-down tops, sew elastic around the bust to tighten it. For a billowing skirt, tack it up in various places with cotton to create a gathered gypsy skirt.

Creative cutter
Sew together old pockets from shorts or jackets to make a funky belt, use the lapel from an old dinner jacket to make a sexy backless waistcoat, or turn old, laddered tights into useful hair ties.

For faded or discoloured clothes, use fabric dye. Make sure the clothes to be dyed are clean first and that you follow the instructions on the packaging. Alternatively, use bleach to give a coloured T-shirt the tie-dye effect. It's great for the kids' dress-up box.

Think vintage
Remember that fashions tend to come back around. If you have lots of clothes that nobody would want now but that could be wearable one day, pack them away neatly in a "vintage" box. Your daughter will thank you in 10 years' time when you hand that treasure chest of authentic, trendy items over to her.

Old bag
Sew patches onto stains or unwanted logos on old bags to make them good as new. Alternatively, you could change the strap or attach badges, brooches or beaded safety pins to it.

Push the button
Change boring buttons on shirts to shiny or coloured ones to make them more feminine. Now, with the help of a thin belt, your daughter can turn her dad's old business shirt into a cute sundress!

Scissor chic
Cut off jeans or long pants to make cute shorts or capri pants. Use tailor's chalk to mark the line to cut, turn up the ends once, then iron. Repeat and sew the fold in place.

Embroider patterns such as flowers or butterflies onto collars of shirts, lapels of jackets or the back of singlets, making sure you sketch in the pattern first with tailor's chalk. You could also use fabric pens on handed-down T-shirts to create a modern, abstract design.

To alter old clothes to fit a new owner, turn them inside out and ask the owner to put it on. Pull in loose seams and pin so that it fits comfortably. Take it off the wearer, alter the seams with needle and thread and finally, remove the pins.

This article is brought to you by Vanish Napisan. To find out more on how to keep whites "crystal white", head to www.vanishstains.com.au.

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