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How to Make Back to School Clothes for Kids Really Cool & Unique

Updated on July 28, 2017

My kids absolutely love to have unique clothes for when they’re in the classroom and on the playground. For younger children, when brand consciousness has not set in, I find that there are a number of ways to make back to school clothes using some simple home craft ideas, and I even modify some of our store-bought items to make clothes for elementary school kids. If you’ve been looking for a unique and fun way to dress up your kids for the next school year, then these tips will get you on the right track.


DIY Denim Cutoffs with Crochet Embellishment

Repurposing jeans into cutoff denim shorts is one of my favorite tips for making back to school clothes. It’s a fashionable way to make use of the material that you already have, and your children will love these back to school clothes when the weather is hot. Cutoff shorts are easy to make, especially when you go for the rough edged look, you’ll only need some simple sewing scissors to remove the legs from the jeans, and you can fold and sew a new seam if you want to.

What I like to do to make cutoff shorts even more interesting as back to school clothes, is to add some crochet embellishment to the cutoff. You can use an old piece of crochet or buy a new length from your local craft store, and simply sew it into the bottom of the cutoffs from the inside of the leg. White crochet on blue denim creates a pretty look for your elementary school girl.


Add Bows to T-Shirts for Back to School Clothes

Here’s a no-sew tip that will allow you to add some flair to T-Shirts when you are making clothes for elementary school kids. You can purchase bows online or at your local craft or sewing store, and you don’t even need to get out a needle or a sewing machine to make these T-Shirts.

Using a plain colored T-Shirt in the color of your choice, take contrasting bows and glue them to the outside sleeves of the shirt. Use a high-quality fabric clue such as No-Sew or Fabric Fusion, and your creation will be ready in minutes. I like using contrasting bows because they stand out more on the T- Shirt, but you could even use a matching color for a more subtle look.


Iron On Transfers Are Simple and Easy for Any Item of Clothing

Store bought designs are common and they often don’t allow you to create real personality with your clothing. If you want to have some fun while also allowing your child to have a say in their clothes, then you could use Iron On patches to add embellishments to plain clothing. Iron On patches are easily purchased online or at local craft stores, and there are plenty of different designs to choose from. Patch Mommy is one of the better brands that I’ve found, but there are numerous options on the market. Patches can be applied almost anywhere on clothing, such as on a shirt pocket, on a plain T-Shirt, or even on jeans or trouser pocket. There are different designs for both boys and girls, so you won’t have any trouble finding the right patch for your child’s back to school clothes.


Give Plain Ballerina Shoes a Unique Look with Lace

Ballerina shoes are a favorite for elementary school girls, and you can make plain designs even better by adding lace or bows to the outside of the shoe. This DIY tip is simple and will take hardly any time, and I can usually complete a shoe upgrade in minutes when using a quality fabric glue. Take the lace design of your choice (white or pastel colors look great on black shoes), and first measure each section of lace by hand as you mold it around the shoe. Make sure that you maintain a consistent pattern so that the final result will look both attractive and professional. You can make rough length cuts which can be finalized in the next step.

Using a small amount of glue, use a small wooden popsicle stick (or spatula) to evenly spread the glue around the surface of the shoe. You can then apply the lace in a consistent pattern. The lace will bond well around the surface of the shoe, and the only part where you’ll need to take special care is around the soles.

When you reach the soles, cut off the end of the lace so it perfectly covers the shoe fabric without overlapping onto the rubber sole. Add a small amount of glue around the edge of the sole and the shoe fabric, before gently pressing the lace into the glue. If you take care to get this part right, you won’t be able to tell that this is a home DIY job. This is one of my favorite DIY tips because ballerina shoes are inexpensive, and you can create as many different pairs as you like, using different lace patterns and colors.

Which DIY tip will you tackle this year?

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What if You Don’t Have Time for DIY?

I know that not every parent will have the time to make DIY clothing every year, and sometimes you may need to purchase personalized clothes for elementary school kids. My advice here would be to stay away from the name brands and major outlets because you’ll end up getting items that are less than unique. Instead, choose a small but trusted children’s boutique shop, particularly one that offers personalization and embroidery on basic clothing designs. You will pay more for these back to school clothes, but it can be a good way to top up the collection if you’ve run out of time or ideas for DIY items.
Use purchased items as a last resort. Customizing your own back to school clothes and shoes with embroidery, patches, and ribbon embellishments, is a fun way to make clothes exciting and unique, and you can get your child involved with the design to make it a true bonding and learning experience.

Next job to tackle: DIY School Supplies

DIY School Supplies


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