You could earn SmartPoints on this page!SmartPoint Coin

July 3, 2013 at 9:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

DIY Fashion: Be Your Own Designer & Save Money

By Kristin McKinney More Blogs by This Author

Ever notice that stores like to charge you an arm and leg for an article of clothing you could easily make yourself? Remember when ripped jeans use to be a thing? I never understood those. My jeans got tore up just fine on there own, why would I want to buy them already like that? There are so many examples of different clothes out there that are over priced that you could easily make yourself. Here are a few you can make yourself without breaking the bank:

Custom Bleached T-Shirt: 

cut out

I saw a shirt on Pinterest with a large bleached heart on the front. It looked really cool. The person that made it said she saw a shirt similar to it in a store, but it was way over priced, so she decided to make her own. This got me thinking basically, I could make any sort of design I wanted with this idea! So that's what I started doing.

My first two projects were making shirts for my brothers. I made one with the Spiderman logo and the other with the Avengers logo. I also made a shirt for myself. It has a bow tie on it, and I wrote “Bow ties are cool” across the front. It's a Doctor Who reference. The shirts were actually pretty easy to make. My brothers shirts took the longest because they had more detail. Here's how I did it:


  • Bleach
  • Paintbrushes (medium sized and fine point ones, you are going to need several becausethe bleach disintegrates the bristles after awhile.)
  • Cardboard (small enough to fit inside the shirt)
  • Sewing pins
  • T-Shirt (dark colors work better)

Make sure you do this in an area that has good ventilation. Bleach has very strong fumes, and you can get sick from them.


  1. Print out your design at the size you want it to be on the shirt. Carefully cut out the design so that you have a nice stencil left behind.
  2. Put the piece of cardboard into the shirt, and pin your stencil into place on the shirt.
  3. Take your bleach and put it in a container. I've been told that you should dilute the bleach with water because it can cause the shirt to break down. I didn't do that, and my shirts were fine, but I also used pretty cheap bleach, so it may have already been diluted.
  4. Take the fine point paint brush, and carefully paint along the inside edge of the stencil. Don't put too much bleach on the brush because the fabric really soaks it up, and it will start to bleed into the fabric outside your stencil. Also, try not to get bleach on the paper, that will also cause the bleach to bleed on the fabric where you don't want it.
  5. Once you have completely outlined your design, you can take your stencil off. Now, take a bigger brush and use it to fill in your design. You can use a little more bleach on the brush this time but still be careful with the amount, especially when you're filling it in close to the edges. The more bleach you put down, the lighter the image will come out. Take a small brush to even out the edges as needed.
  6. That's all there is to it. Hang your shirt up somewhere to dry. I've been told you should wash the shirt before wearing it, but again, I didn't do that, and it was fine. If you want to be artsy with your design, put the paint brush in the bleach, then flick it at the shirt for cool splatters. Another idea would be to put the bleach in a spray bottle and spray over the stencil for a different texture. If you do this, you'll want something heavier than paper to use as your stencil.
  7. You could also use contact paper as your stencil so it will stick to the shirt, then you don't have to worry about pins.

Chevron T-Shirt: 

Often times, I see cute but simple t-shirts in stores that are practically the price of a shirt sewn with gold thread. It's ridiculous. Chevron is a pretty popular print on clothes right now, that is usually one of those over priced items. Here's how you can make your own.


  • Fabric paint
  • Craft sponge
  • Masking tape
  • Newspaper

T-Shirt (white is probably the best so then you can do whatever color paint you want, but you can always experiment)


  1. To start, lay out newspaper on a hard service, then take a piece of newspaper, and lay it inside of the shirt.
  2. Take the masking tape and put down strips, about two inches long, starting from the side seam in an up and down motion until you reach the other side of the shirt. Start from the bottom of the shirt and make four rows of this same design with about an inch of space between each.
  3. Once the tape is laid, paint between each row you created.
  4. Wait for the paint to dry, and then remove the tape.
  5. Flip the shirt over, and do the same thing on the other side. Make sure the tape lines up with the rows on the other side.
  6. Once your second side has finished drying, you're all set. You now have your very own chevron printed tee. You could experiment with doing different colors for each row or putting the rows at the top or middle of the shirt. You could even try this with the bleaching technique.

Ombre Dyed Shoes:  

This is one idea I haven't seen in stores, but I'm sure it's out there somewhere, and I'm sure it's expensive. Ombre is something else that is very popular right now and can be used on just about any article of clothing. I saw a blog about doing it with shoes on Pinterest and thought it looked like an awesome idea.



  • White sneakers (you can get these cheap just about anywhere, maybe even a thrift store)
  • Fabric dye
  • Vaseline
  • Baking powder
  • Old toothbrush


  1. To start, remove any laces or liners from the shoes. If you did buy them used, make sure you give them a good cleaning before hand.
  2. Next, take the vaseline and apply it to the rubber soles of the shoe. You want enough to create a barrier so the dye doesn't discolor the rubber part of the shoe, kind of like when you put vaseline around your nails to keep the nail polish from getting on your skin.
  3. Prepare the dye according to the directions on the packet. Wet your shoes thoroughly to help the dye take evenly.
  4. Take the shoes, and quickly dip them into the dye, about a 1/3 of the way up. If it came out too dark, add a little water to the dye and dip again. Continue to dip the shoes in the dye, creating a staggering effect all the way up the shoes, each dip being lighter than the first. The quicker you take it out of the dye, the lighter it will be.
  5. Once you have done the whole shoe, take a damp cloth, and rub the color to blend in all the harsh lines. Dab the cloth into some watered down dye if more color is needed in a certain spot.
  6. Once you are done, let the shoes sit for several minutes, then rinse until the water runs clear. Let them dry overnight.
  7. When they are dry, pour a few teaspoons of baking powder onto the vaseline and let it sit. Then use the toothbrush to scrub it off. Wipe away the excess with paper towel.

You're done! Now you have awesome looking shoes that didn't cost you half your salary. I got this idea from, check it out for pictures.

Infinity Scarf:


I love scarves, especially infinity scarves. I would own a ton of them if I could, but they tend to be kind of pricey. This is absurd considering most of them are just a simple piece of fabric. You can easily make your own infinity scarf from home, all you need is a sewing machine, or if you're like me and don't own your own, you could easily sew it by hand. It may not be as sturdy as with a machine, but it will still work. If you really want to save money, the best thing to do would be to reuse fabric from something else that you were planning on getting rid of. The next best thing would be to look at the discount table at a fabric store, or wait for a really good coupon.


  1. First, you are going to want to cut about a yard and half of fabric, or you can measure it out yourself by using a tape measure and wrapping it loosely around your neck however many times you want the scarf to wrap around. Add an inch to the length for the seam. Once you have cut that out, make sure the width is at the desired size. You can make it as wide as you want, but make sure to double that number and add an inch to it for the seam.
  2. Once your piece of fabric is cut, fold it in half, lengthwise, so the right-sides are facing inward toward each other. Sew, ½ an inch in from the outside edge lengthwise, so that you have a tube shape, then pull it inside out.
  3. Next, hand sew the ends together using a slip stitch. There's a way you can do this with a sewing machine that will show less of the stitch but it's kind of confusing, so here's a tutorial.

Now you have a stunning infinity scarf!


Men's Dress Shirt Skirt:

If you like having lot's of skirts to pick from, but don't have the money to buy them, here's a great idea.

This is super easy and doesn't require any sewing. Plus, if you don't want to use the shirt as a skirt anymore, you can easily turn it into something else since it wasn't altered in anyway. All you have to do is wrap the shirt around your waist and then button it up the front. Take the sleeves and tie them in the front. If the shirt's long enough, you could also do it as a dress. You'll need to button it all the way up first, then slip it on over your head, the collar should lay on your chest. Take the sleeves and wrap around your back, then tie in the front. You can do both the skirt and dress idea with sweaters or cardigans as well.

More from Kristin McKinney Others Are Reading


Comment on the Smart Living Network

Site Feedback