Tie bows in ribbon that complements the color of your child's clothing and stitch them to the items using thread in a matching color. A small bow will embellish the neckline of a simple T-shirt, and larger bows will add flair to the sleeves of a solid-colored T-shirt. Adorn the sleeves of dresses with ribbon bows, as well.
Use ribbon as a border. Stitch ribbon along the bottom edge of a dress or skirt or create a colorful neckline by sewing ribbon around the edges. Create a border along the bottom edge of sleeves as another idea. Use printed ribbon on solid-colored items of clothing to embellish them even more.
Make small flowers out of ribbon and stitch them to shirts, dresses and skirts. Roll small pieces of ribbon into flower shapes by hand or browse the Internet for more elaborate designs.
Embroider an article of clothing with thin ribbon. Thread a needle with a large eye with the ribbon and sew a design such as a heart or a rainbow. Use ribbon to create large cross-stitch designs on clothing as a similar idea.
Thread a piece of wide ribbon through the belt loops of your child's pants and tie the front in a large bow. This is a decorative alternative to a belt and will add flair to the entire outfit.
Things You Will Need
- Straight pins
Look for a huge selection of ribbon at fabric and craft stores. Most of these stores sell ribbon by the spool or by the yard, which gives you a wide variety of options as you plan your designs. Read the care instructions on ribbon before using it on clothes. Make sure that the articles of clothing have similar washing instructions as the ribbon does so you're able to care for the garment normally.
Lightweight fabric is best when selecting clothing for young children. Cotton or cotton blends are ideal because they allow moisture to evaporate from the child's skin. They also tend to wash well at higher temperatures, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Stains can be removed easily from cotton fabrics. The experts at Consumer Reports note that cotton can shrink as much as 10 percent in the washing machine, so parents might choose to purchase shirts that have been pre-shrunk, or buy a size larger than their child wears.
Clothes for Moving Bodies
Toddlers beginning to explore their world need clothes that will move with them, not against them. The National Network for Child Care recommends clothes that don't bind and will stretch to allow for a child's movement. Expandable necklines can encourage little ones who are just beginning to dress themselves. Garments should contain as few seams as possible, and these should be well finished without being bulky. Collars should be narrow and remain flat for a child's increased comfort.
Parents shopping for a little girl can appreciate the variety of items they are able to choose from. Most brands feature tagless undershirts to prevent discomfort. Brightly colored tanks, made from lightweight cotton, might appeal to a little girl's desire for pretty clothing.
For toddler boys, white undershirts and tanks with preshrunk fabric to ensure a perfect fit with every wear are a good choice. A tag-free label increases a little one's comfort.
Visit online auction sites frequently, but don't bid until the last minute. Add items to your watch list if the site has one, and make a note of when auctions end. Start bidding in the last couple of minutes, when you have the best chance of winning the item for just over what the last bidder bid. You might find that you can win auctions by pennies in the last second.
Shop at kids' consignment stores, which sometimes have better merchandise than thrift stores. In a consignment store, the seller splits the cost of the item with the shop owner, which means valuable pieces don't sell unless the seller gets the price she wants. If an item has been in the store for a while, however, ask the owner or manager if the seller is willing to accept a discount.
Check listings on local websites, and don't be afraid to ask the seller to take less on designer children's items, especially if you're interested in buying multiple pieces.
Shop designers' sample and trunk sales. If your child is the same size as the sample size, you can often score a significant discount. Sign up for designers' mailing lists or visit their websites regularly to find out about sample sale dates.
Check clearance racks at the end of the season. If you're willing to buy an item that's too big for your child now, it's likely to fit after another year goes by.
Visit local thrift stores often. You never know what will turn up, but designer pieces are often snatched up quickly by people who know what they're worth -- especially online auction sellers. Ask the sales staff when they hang new shipments and when their discount days are. Shops often have color-coded tags, and a certain color will be discounted on a certain day. Tell the owner or manager what you're looking for and leave your number. They might be willing to call you when designer pieces in your child's size come in.
You have no need to toss out old, strained, outgrown or torn clothing. You and your child can turn them into beanbags and use them for games. Cut the clothing pieces into circles, triangles or squares. You need at least two of each size and shape. Lay one shape down, put a small handful of dry beans on the shape and then place another equally sized and shaped piece of clothing on top. To complete the beanbag, sew the edges of the material. Now your child can practice his juggling, work on his aim during target practice or play other beanbag toss games.
A bin of dress-up clothes holds endless possibilities to entertain your kiddo. Dad’s old ties, mom’s unwanted jewelry, last year’s Halloween costumes, stained work shirts, sunglasses, mismatched shoes and the list can go on. Throw all of these items in a large plastic storage tub or toy chest to be pulled out for dramatic playtime. This type of play option helps strengthen your child’s social, language and problem-solving skills. Be ready for superheroes, princesses, tea parties and teddy bear picnics with this clothing activity.
Making homemade gifts are always a hit with the young crowd. If you grab a few plain white cotton T-shirts or sweatshirts, you can show your child how to personalize it. Nontoxic puffy paint can be used to draw on the material or to create hand prints on the fabric. Your child can pick out some iron-on appliques that you can attach to the shirt simply by applying heat according to the product’s instructions. Craft stores even have tie-dye kits for kids. You’ll want to supervise and help out on this one so your carpets and countertops don’t become a permanent part of the project.
If you want to help your child sharpen his fine-motor skills, while staying on the clothing theme, you can make some paper clothing. Draw several shapes on some white paper that looks like pants, shorts, bathing suits and shirts. Your child can decorate the clothing with washable markers and then cut them out with scissors. You can even set up a string clothesline somewhere, like between the table or chair legs, and let him hang the clothes up with some clothespins. The paper clothing also works for dressing up paper people.
Write down your children's sizes for all their clothing items, including shirts, pants, dresses, shoes, socks and hats. Then write down the sizes you anticipate that they will wear in six months or even a year. You can approximate this by noting their ages at the present time and considering the sizes they're currently wearing. For example, if your 6-month-old is currently wearing clothing for babies 9- to 12-months-old, you can reasonably expect that this child will wear clothes for 18- to 24-month-olds when she is 15 months.
Shop for off-season clothes at baby boutiques. With your list of anticipated sizes in hand, you can look for the clothes in those sizes for the next season. This way, you can save on winter clothes by shopping in the summer and vice versa.
Shop sales. Even boutique stores hold sales. Sign up for the newsletters or flyers of your favorite children's boutiques to learn when sales will take place so you can shop them early. Sometimes, you can even save big on current-season clothing.
Go to consignment sales. Many municipalities host large consignment sales and festivals a couple of times a year, which include a variety of kids' clothing. You can often find boutique items at these sales for a fraction of the cost of retail -- and they're typically in excellent condition.
Try online auctions. Sites like eBay offer new and gently used items for less-than-retail prices. You can browse by brand, size, color and other criteria to find the clothes that you like.
Visit the websites of your favorite children's clothing designers regularly. These websites typically have sale items available. While the sale items might be off-season clothes or clothes in colors that aren't the most popular choices, they're still designer clothes at discounted prices.
Shop surplus and outlet malls. Many retail stores send their clothes to surplus and outlet malls after they're marked down for a while. These items might be off-season or no longer the latest fashions, but they still have designer labels -- and are still cute. Shop early in the morning on a weekday to get the best picks.
Go to thrift stores. Thrift stores, especially in wealthy areas, often have second-hand boutique items that are still in good condition. Learn what days the thrift stores in your area put out new merchandise, and plan to go on those days. Quality items will not last long on the racks.
Things You Will Need
- Children's clothing sizes
- Internet connection
Consider signing up for an online swap group through a social networking site or meetup site. Parents often come together in these groups to trade their gently used items -- and you can find some quality clothing this way.
Always clean any clothes that you buy second-hand.