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Send your kids off to class in style. Whether it's a charming braid or a handmade bracelet or jean embellishment, these sartorial projects are inexpensive and a fun way to get back-to-school fabulous.
New school year? Why not try a charming new hair style? Rolling their hair into buns didn't leave these girls tied up in knots. Simply part hair into two sections. Starting at or just below the ear, twist one section and wrap it around itself into a snail-shell shape. Put an elastic band around bun to keep it in place. Repeat on the other side. Use a bobby pin to secure any stray hairs. The buns can be tight (as seen on the left) or more loose and casual (right).
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This poncho is just a 28-inch square of fleece cut out with pinking shears (cut a circular opening and slit for the neckline). A running stitch adds flair to the edge and secures a flower.
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Collect pretty buttons and string them on elasticized cords for stretchy bracelets to be worn or swapped.
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Heart-Shaped Button Covers
Create this no-sew decoration for a young girl's crisp white shirt: Cut hearts from pink and red felt based on the size of the shirt's buttons (ours are cut from 1-inch squares). Fold each in half horizontally, and cut a vertical slit, or buttonhole, about the same size as the button. To wear, button up shirt, and then slip hearts over buttons.
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In preparation for history class, kids can wear a brooch or hairpin featuring Abraham Lincoln's profile on a shiny copper penny. With plaid ribbon, hot glue, a coin, and a simple jewelry part, you can make a smart-looking accessory to dress up a lapel.
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Painted fingernails can display a little girl's passion, whether for tennis balls, polka dots, or favorite fruits. Use nail polish and a No. 1 (very thin) paintbrush from an art-supply store, and let her devotion of the week inspire you.
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Make a fashionable wrist cuff with summer treasures picked up on walks through the woods or on the beach.
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Give a young girl a look that's fit for a princess. Part hair down the middle. Braid each section, starting at the ear. Secure the ends with elastics. Bring the braids to the top of the head and pin close to scalp. Tuck the ends underneath the braids.
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Button Hair Clips
You'll want to fashion lots of these pretty hair clips (enough for friends -- and a few to keep). Using heavy thread, sew a button or two to the top of a colored bobby pin (for a flower, first sew button to a felt leaf). Stamp name on card stock, cut slit, and insert hairpin.
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These pendants make heartfelt adornments. The small hearts and circles can be shaped by hand; use a cookie cutter for bigger hearts. Poke the holes with a toothpick, and string with a silk cord.
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No fancy finger work was needed for this side braid. Braid two small sections of hair on the same side of head, stopping about halfway down. Combine the strands by pairing up the pieces of each braid. Braid new pieces together and secure end.
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Homemade appliques jazz up these jeans. Using a disappearing-ink pen, draw shapes such as circles, butterflies, or leaves on washable felt (for clothes, it's more practical than regular felt). Running stitches are used decoratively -- for the butterfly body and antennae, and as veins in the leaves -- and to affix the shapes to the pants. After sewing, dab edges of appliques with fabric glue to prevent curling.
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Twist and Tie
For this style, twist a small section of hair at one side of forehead, gradually adding in more strands as you move toward the back of the head. Clip that side and repeat with the other. Fasten both pieces together with an elastic, then tie with a ribbon.
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Tiny store-bought pom-poms look pretty as pearls. Use pins to mark out placement, then stitch the pom-poms to the collar's edge, hiding the thread by passing it between the two layers of fabric as you sew.
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Embellish a solid-colored shirt with bright butterflies in flight -- and conceal stains at the same time.
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This fun hairstyle works with short, medium, or long hair. Use a comb to make a straight part. Move comb in a zigzag pattern along the original part from crown to forehead, pulling strands apart as you go.
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A spiraled ponytail is a twist on the basic braid. Divide hair into two equal pieces and hold in each hand. Twist hair in your right hand in a clockwise direction; repeat with the hair in your left hand. Wrap the two twisted pieces around each other in the opposite direction. Secure with an elastic band.
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Kids don't need fancy tools or techniques to put their stamp on a T-shirt -- they don't even need to know how to paint. Adding a playful print to a plain top is simple with ordinary baking potatoes. A zooming race car revs up this plain shirt.
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Use eyelet trim to add frills and length to a favorite pair of jeans that a child has grown too tall for.
Jeans should be prewashed; if they shrink after embellishing, the trim could pucker. Avoid Lycra blends, which give jeans stretch -- this may cause cotton decorations to tear. Because denim tends to be thick, use a denim needle or other heavy needle on your sewing machine, and wear a thimble when sewing by hand. A standard polyester-cotton thread is best; put thread matching the jeans' color in your bobbin, since it will show when the jeans are right side out.
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Use ribbons to dress tresses in colorful finery. Tie three narrow ribbons to an elastic band. Wrap elastic around a ponytail (or use two for pigtails). Divide hair, along with ribbons, into three equal parts. Braid hair using the basic technique, and secure near the end with another elastic band. The ribbon ends can be tied into bows.
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