Customise your clothes and save cash

Caroline Cassidy

These days it's tough enough just paying the bills and that means a shopping spree is out of the question. For the fashion conscious among us it might seem like a disaster but it doesn't have to be.

how to customise your clothes
how to customise your clothes

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With a little creative thought, those seemingly boring clothes loitering in your wardrobe can be given a new lease of life cheaply, quickly and easily.

Be crafty
Crafts and fabric shops come are a great resource if you're new to customising your clothes. Rhinestones, buttons, studs, flowers and ribbons are readily available in more colours, sizes and styles than you can imagine. If you're not afraid to sew a little, then adding ribbon or fabric to straps or around the waistband of a skirt or dress will instantly change it up. Get rid of old buttons on shirts, cardigans or trousers and upgrade them from boring to beautiful with an entirely new style.

Similarly, studs and rhinestones or diamantes can be used for almost any purpose, whether it's to rock out your jeans, pretty up an old top or add new bling to a favourite pair of sandals. For the most part they can simply be attached using fabric glue, which is available at all good fabric stores.

Even simpler, and something that you can change from day to day, is to grab a handful of the large fabric flowers you can buy from haberdashers and pin them to coats, jackets, dresses, whatever you like. Be bold and go as big as you dare with these. Brooches, which you can often find in charity shops, also work well.

Change it up
Skirts, dresses, jeans, even jumpers can be turned into their shorter alter egos in an instant, with just a pair of scissors and a sewing machine. Simply take the item of your choice, lay it flat on a table and mark where you would like to cut, then make a second mark one inch down.

Having drawn a line right the way around the garment in line with the second mark, you can cut to your heart's content. Then use that extra inch to create a hem on your new jean shorts, mini skirt or crop top, via a quick blast on the sewing machine.

Get colourful
Who needs cash for clothes when you've got colour? Whenever you get tired of wearing the same old thing day in, day out, a spot of dye will give you a whole new wardrobe with no sewing skill necessary. Liquid or powder dyes, again available from fabric stores, are cheap to buy and available in a vast array of colours, though you may first need to bleach any items that are dark to begin with in order to achieve the desired result.

Natural materials such as cotton tend to take the colour better. Manmade fabrics can, of course, be dyed also but the colour may not turn out as deep and rich as you would like.

Always read the instructions on your dye carefully to avoid accidents, and start with something small and unimportant so as not to ruin your favourite wardrobe staple with a first-time dye disaster.

Be creative
Customising doesn't have to stop at adding bits or taking away. If you've got a flare for design why not turn your creative eye into a unique item. Thanks to fabric paints and pens, it's easy to add your own designs to almost any piece of clothing. And if you're a dab hand on the computer, there are even products that allow you to print off your design on paper, apply it to fabric and peel back to reveal a professional-looking print.

So if your wardrobe is looking tired and worn, breathe new life into your clothes with your own brand of creativity.

Do you customise your own clothes? Do you have any tips for others wanting to do the same? Leave your comments below...