Upcycled Fall Wardrobe: BOYS hand-me-downs refashioned to make GIRLS outfits

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After weeks of waiting, Fall decided to show up this weekend.

{About time. Sheesh.}

The only problem is that my little girl is awfully short on fall and winter clothes. So instead of heading to the store, I searched through my boys’ outgrown clothes and fabric stash to come up with new duds without spending a dime.

Here’s what I had to work with:

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a boring sweater, a couple ripped pairs of khakis and a stretched out camo henley.

Screams “girly,” huh?

#1 – Sweater to Cardigan

I started by removing the collar (1) and cutting down the center (2) to make a cardigan shell. (I put tape down first and then cut the sweater to prevent major fraying. I pulled the tape off carefully and gave the edges a quick zig zag.)

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I made the easiest seam binding ever (3) by cutting the bottom edge of a t-shirt below the seam – no need to fold or iron. The seam binding was pinned in place (4) and then stitched in place with a straight stitch.

I could have stopped right there, but wanted to add a little more frill. I played around with the look and chose the tight ruffles instead the loose folds.

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And those ruffles were a cinch to make: I cut 1” strips of t-shirt fabric and ran a gathering stitch down the middle. The ruffles were pinned on top of the binding and then stitched in place.

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The result was a cute little cardigan with plenty of ruffles and spunk.

#2 – Cargo Pants to Skirt

Next up with a simple skirt with using as much of the existing hems from two old pairs of my son’s cargo pants as possible.  The legs were cut off leaving the top part of the pants: waistband down to just below the front zipper. To make the skirt piece, I sewed pieces of two pairs of pant legs together with the seems out (1) and used a gathering stitch along the top to create just enough gather for the skirt piece to fit the pants(3).

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The skirt piece was pinned to the pants (3) and stitched in place with a straight stitch for a shabby look (4). After a quick run through the wash, the seems softened up for the casual look I was after. (Of course you could always skip the rough look and keep those seems on the inside, too. )

Twenty minutes later I ended up with an upcycled skirt that just happened to match perfectly with that cardigan.

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Maybe some of her brother’s rough ‘n’ tumble attitude came through in the fabric, eh?

#3 – Boys Henley to Girls Embellished Tee

The last refashion project started with this Old Navy camo henley. It was the right length, but too wide (1). I grabbed a shirt from my daughter and used it for a template, trimming away the extra fabric on the sides (2) and shortening the sleeves.

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  I sewed one long seem from the shirt cuff to the bottom hem with a zig zag stitch (3) and added some rosettes to the collar to soften the look (4).

And total cheater alert here: I hot glued the rosettes and then hand stitched them to the shirt. I know you’re not supposed to do that, but I was in a hurry and it worked fine. This shirt has gone through the washer and dryer over a dozen times and is holding up great.

This has to be one of my favorite girls shirts. Ever.

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So …

take a look at your kids’ closets, out-grown clothes piles and fabric stash and see what you can whip up. 

What you’re ready to toss may just go …

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You might be surprised how many adorable upcycles /refashions you’ll come up with from seemingly nothing.

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31 thoughts on “Upcycled Fall Wardrobe: BOYS hand-me-downs refashioned to make GIRLS outfits”

  1. This is such a great post. I love it when you post things that are so relevant to your home and life it is so inspiring. My fav is the little camo shirt!!! Cute little girt too. 🙂
    Great job Nike.

  2. Fantastic! You are so clever! I am going to rethink some of the boys' clothes that I was planning to give away and try to use them for my daughter. Thanks for the ideas!

  3. Brilliant. Just brilliant. Back in the day when I had littles, I'd take the boy clothes and 'feminize' them with a bit of lace or fabric paint. I love the idea of using a t-shirt to make knit fabric ruffles.

  4. Nike I think you should add a fashion recycle/upcycle category to your header links. They're my favourite kind of post and it would be awesome to find them all in one spot when I'm looking for inspiration. As always you're amazing!

  5. Ahhh – I used to own that sweater as a hand-me-down and my son never wore it… so I gave it away. Now, I wish I would have kept it to make a cardigan for my niece! I have no vision… that's why I need people like you!

  6. What great ideas! Couldn't help but think that those cargo pockets would make a great great start to a little purse to go along with the skirt. 🙂

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