Thanks to Polly from Helping Little Hands for contributing this great tutorial for busting your stash and improving your kiddos’ wardrobes! She’s brilliant, and has a lot of great ideas, from her Hand-Me-Down rehab series, to a whole lotta adorable felt food. I’ll let her tell you more below. Thanks again for guest-posting at Dollar Store Crafts, Polly! — Heather

p.s. This tutorial is really detailed and has lots of pictures, so I split it up into a few pages.

Hi, I’m Polly and I blog over at Helping Little Hands.  I was super excited when I heard about the Stash Bust because those are generally the kinds of projects I do anyway.  I’ve got some of everything on my blog  from sewing to cooking, to home preschool, to felt food and everything in between and on a budget.  For the last little while, I’ve particularly been focusing on what I call Hand-Me-Down Rehab–fixing clothes up to make them wearable and cute, and I hope you’ll come join me!

Hand-me-downs and Goodwill half-off finds are a way of life at our house.  With three small kids and hubby just out of graduate school, we’re always pinching our pennies.  We’ve been blessed with a lot of wonderful, generous  hand-me-downs at just the right times…but the pieces we’re given don’t necessarily match.  While our 5-year-old doesn’t feel the need to dress-up quite as much as Fancy Nancy, she does love to wear clothes with fun designs on them.  Our 2-year-old doesn’t care all that much about what he wears…but it is easier to get him to change into clean clothes when there’s a fun dinosaur instead of just a plain red shirt.

So I’m here to share some of my tricks for using homemade appliques to make coordinating outfits out of mismatched hand-me-downs for next to nothing.  Appliques are great because they can be added to virtually any piece of clothing and can help cover up stains or holes and make clothes look like better than new.


  • Clothes to decorate, on hand
  • Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-On Adhesive (or there are “no sew” versions you can use), $2.96 or on hand
  • Scraps for applique, on hand
  • Fray Check (optional depending on the fabric you choose to use and the look you want), $2.55
  • Basic sewing gear (needles, thread, sewing machine helpful, but not essential), on hand

Total: FREE and up

Types of Material to Use:

Almost any type of fabric can be used for appliques.  I used woven cotton fabric for years with great success using a satin stitch edging.  Recently, I tried using knits from old T-shirts and have fallen in love with them because they are so much less prone to fraying there are more possibilities for them.  If you’ve never done appliques before, I suggest starting with knits.

Go to page 2 to find out more

HeatnBond Ultra Hold Iron-on Adhesive 17”x36”