Why send your child out into the colorful world dressed in dull, drab clothing when you can transform them with simple crafty touches– like a smile for instance. It’s easy to add accents to a plain pair of pants, an inexpensive knit hat, or anything else. I followed the lead of children’s clothing stores and online boutiques. Some kid’s shirts, pants and hats had such fun details that I was inspired to try out a few ideas of my own.
You can keep the kid clothes makeover cost to a few dollars by transforming well-worn clothing with your colorful designs. Or you can enhance a few brand new clothing pieces if you choose. For colorful accents, purchase fabric remnants or inexpensive poly felt squares. Your child can help with the shapes, and you can do the sewing. Depending on your project, your DIY designer touches could take from fifteen minutes to an hour
- Hand sewing needles
- Sewing Machine (optional)
- Inexpensive knit hat
- Kids pants, shirt or other plain clothing
- Polyester felt squares or fleece remnants
- Colorful patterned fabric pieces
- Cardstock for patterns
- Fabric marker (optional)
Put a smile on a hat
I fell in love with the sometimes wild, sometimes cutesy hats at a local children’s store. Some had fake fleece mo-hawks and googly monster features. But I decided to go for something a little different: a simple smile. I added a smile and eyes to an inexpensive black knit hat for my grandson, Daniel. You can easily put one on a shirt, a jacket or a pair of pants.
-Use cardstock to draw and cut out a smile-and-eyes pattern (a quarter moon shape and two circles).
-Use a fabric sewing marker or pencil to trace the shapes on the felt or fleece fabric of your choice.
-Cut out your smile and 1 and 1/2 inch circles for eyes whites.
-Cut smaller circles for eyeballs and sew into place.
-Pin eyes onto the front of the hat near the top.
-Pin the smile into place so that it will show when the bottom of the hat is turned up.
-Hand baste. (optional)
-Sew into place with a sewing machine.
-Sew by hand using a whip stitch if you prefer. For tips, check out the Youtube video ” How to Sew a Whip Stitch by Hand ” by Cyberseams.
Smile the way you like it
-Cut your smiles bigger or smaller– baby sized even– for a colorful, cute newborn outfit.
-Give a green hat a froggy look: big layered eyes, little nostrils… and a big smile of course. (picture #3)
-Add layered eyes, and a beek instead of a smile for an owl or a not-so-happy-bird look. (picture # 3)
Add a wild fringe to a knit hat
-Cut a 12 by 3 inch piece of felt or fleece.
-Along the length of the piece, make parallel cuts 2 and 3/4 inch deep cuts spaced 3/4 inches apart.
-Open the seam of an inexpensive knit hat.
-Pin fringe into place along the seam, fringe outward.
-Resew the seam.
-For a wild monster look, you can also add eyes and a wild smile.
Add sewn-in geometric details to pants or a shirt in a few simple steps
-Decide on the shapes you like. It’s completely up to you, but the simpler the better, like a circle or a square
-Cut out a cardstock pattern.
-Draw the pattern on your pants or shirt.
-Cut out the area.
-Cut a square of colorful accent fabric that’s at least ½ inch bigger all around than your cut-out area.
-Place your accent fabric –facing outward– behind the cut-out area. (picture # 4)
-Sew into place around the perimeter of the cut-out. (picture # 4)
-Use a sewing machine zig-zag stitch or sew it by hand with a whip stitch if you prefer.
-If your fabric of choice tends to fray, coat the edges with Fray Check to keep them from unraveling.
What if you don’t sew?
You can still add a few quickie accents to your kid’s clothing with this simple iron-on applique technique.
-Buy a half yard of a fusible web, like Pellon, at a fabric store.
-Heat test your accent fabrics to make sure they can stand up to the ironing needed to fuse fabric to fabric.
-Iron the fusible web, paper side up, to the back of your fabric pieces.
-Cut out your shapes.
-The pieces will have an iron on adhesive coating when you peel away the paper.
-Follow package instructions and iron them into place. Easy!
Add a smile to anything
Smiles, fringes, bird and frog faces, and geometric cut-outs are a great way to accent a kid’s clothing, even a teen’s. But what about you? You might not want a smile on your hat, but a cut out with an inset of coordinating fabric or an applique could add a hint of color to your old jean jacket. Or it could give an outdated pair of pants a brand new life, and you’ll have fun doing it.