Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
I’ve been posting a lot about food lately but there other things I do to survive with little income. One of the things my Grandma Mama did when I was a child was make our clothes. Back then almost every woman made clothes for their family. She taught me how to sew and I also made clothes for my family. People owned fewer clothes back then. There were no big box stores selling t-shirts cheaper than a loaf of bread. It was actually cheaper to make your own clothes back then but not these days.
When I was young the churches sometimes had clothing swaps. Grandma Mama went to those swaps. Grandma Mama, like all the women at the swap, were there to find clothing that could be altered to fit or could be taken apart to use the fabric to make new outfits and other things.
In our neighborhood we have a modern day version of the clothing swap. Its called a free clothing closet. Its where people can leave clean clothes or pick out clothes to take home. Its open two days a week and run by volunteers. I went yesterday. I found a couple of shirts and a pair of pants. I wash everything as soon as it comes into the house. Just in case.
I liked this shirt but I really didn’t like the 3/4 length sleeves and its too wide in the shoulders. I have the problem of too wide shoulders with all ready to wear shirts.
Ok, what would Grandma Mama do? I decided to remove the sleeves to make it sleeveless. I cut them off just a little away from the sleeve seam. Maybe half an inch.
I pinned the extra fabric toward the inside.
Then sewed it with a 1/4 inch seam. I now have a nice sleeveless shirt to wear. I put a small tuck in the shoulders to make them narrower.
I started to put the cut off sleeve parts into a scrap fabric stash but changed my mind. I could use those too. I turned those into bows. I cut the under seam off to open them up. I sewed a narrow 1/4 inch hem on all the cut edges. I used a bit of matching thread to tie the sleeves into a bow. Like this.
I put the bows on the shoulders of the shirt with safety pins. This is how it looks now.
I used a safety pin instead of sewing it on so that the shirt can be worn with or without the bow cap sleeves. I like the shirt much better now. Grandma Mama would have been proud.
In today’s terms this would be refashioning or upcycling. Refashioning clothes is a new trend….. once again. It becomes a “new idea” with each new generation. If you have a bunch of clothing in your closet that don’t quite fit why not do some refashioning.
If you are stumped for ideas on how to remake clothes into new fashions the internet has tons for you to look through and there are lots of books available too. Check the library to see what sewing books they have. If sewing and refashioning just isn’t your idea of saving money then please consider donating to a free clothes closet in a low income neighborhood instead of a thrift store. There will be a lot of low income folks thanking you because sometimes even the thrift store is too expensive.