5 Easy Ways to Transform a Plain Kids T-Shirt into a Mini Fashion Statement

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Want to make clothes for your children, but don’t know how? No problem! Here are 5 creative ways to transform a plain white T-shirt into a design-worthy top for kids.

ballet_tshirt_instructions_ehowI had a lofty bucket list when I was 15, evident from a list I recently found in an old journal. The 15-year-old me perhaps didn’t realize that the duties involved with “have three kids” would make it difficult to “learn to speak fluent French,” “take cooking classes,” “learn to play the piano really good” and “sew your own clothes.” Are there moms out there who do all these things? Sure there are, and I hate them. I mean, I celebrate and support them.

Regardless of how many things we cross off our bucket lists, I think any mom would agree that we are friends to shortcuts — Cliff Notes, cheat sheets and tips — to make our parenting lives easier and more fun. Buy the store-bought birthday cupcakes and put your own homemade decorations on them. Compromise!

So I didn’t learn how to sew my own clothes. But I have found some fun ways to add flair and creativity to already sewn ones. Take the inexpensive T-shirt, for example. You can buy a kids’ 3-pack for around $10. And with these easy transformations, you can quickly switch it up into something fashionable and fun.

Tip: Pre-wash the shirts before transforming them.

1. Embellish with Buttons
You don’t need a sewing machine for this — just a needle and thread to attach a small scrap of material and a couple of buttons to the T-shirt. Find a patterned material you like (or cut up some material from an old shirt or dress) and cut a small rectangle appropriately sized to fit below the shirt collar and highlight the buttons. Turn under a small fold along the edges and stitch it in place to create a hem (it won’t take long due to the small size of the rectangle).

ehow 12With the needle and thread, stitch the rectangle onto the shirt, centered below the collar. Sew on two to three buttons for a finished look. Large wooden buttons make a fun statement, while vintage pearly buttons would look great with a more feminine fabric for a softer look.

button_tshirt_ehow2. Make Your Pocket Pop

This requires only a small square of fabric and a 2-minute hand stitch effort on a pocket tee. Cut a piece of patterned fabric to match the size of your T-shirt pocket, and stitch along the edges of the pocket to secure it in place.

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tshirt_pocket_ehow 3. Paint a Picture

Can’t sew but like to draw? Grab a paintbrush and some acrylic fabric paints to add some color to your child’s T-shirt. Slip a square of poster board or cardstock paper between the front and back of the shirt before you paint to keep the paint from seeping through to the back.  Paint your design, let it dry and voila! Your child will love wearing your artwork.

ehow 14. Add a Peter Pan Collar
An inexpensive T-shirt gains femininity and charm when you add a Peter Pan collar. You can find several versions of Peter Pan collars on Etsy — from crochet collars that button in front to patterned fabric ones that tie in the back. This tie-in-the-back collar is from Well Dressed Toddlers on Etsy.

ehow 75. Flashdance It Up for Ballet

Kick up the leotard and tights a notch for the next ballet class with this off-the-shoulder Flashdance T-shirt that also looks adorable over a tank top with jeans for every day. Simply cut off the neck and arms of the T-shirt (or just the bottom of the arms for more of a cap sleeve), and cut a slit on one of the sides to make tie-off corners. Tie the fabric that you slit into a knot to complete the look. What a feeling!


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