Free or Cheap Clothes

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Free Clothing

Free clothing can often be obtained through Craigslist and The Freecycle Network, though you'll often get a huge bag of clothes that may not fit or not be your style. Take what you can, and then pass on the rest to someone else. Another tip is to look at the Garage Sales listings on Saturdays or Sundays and cruise by the sale locations at the end of the day, after the sale has ended. Frequently, the remnants of unpurchased yard sale goods will be left on the driveway with a free sign, with hopes that they won't have to bother dragging their cast-offs to the SPCA Thrift Store.

T-shirts

Because Davis is a college town, free or cheap shirts are commonplace. The trick is being in the right place at the right time. If only someone would give out free shorts to go with them...

Cheap Clothing

Making your own clothes

There's more-or-less two routes you can take when making your own clothing. One is to actually create the material yourself. The most popular way of doing this is knitting, though yarn isn't the cheapest thing in Davis and it's labor intensive. The other is to get cheap clothing, rip it up, and get creative. Without much work you can combine multiple pieces of clothing together, borrowing fabric from unwanted things. You can come up with some really interesting and fun designs like this.

Another option is to just take regular old clothes and place a design on them by means of a stencil, silk-screen, or iron-on transfer. If you go with a stencil you'll have trouble getting it on the shirt, but you can try spray-painting it on (which often works well, but doesn't look clean if not done properly). Silk-screening is very effective, but harder to approach if you're new. Luckily, a class is offered at the Craft Center if you want some help along the way. You can purchase just about all of the materials needed to silk-screen at the UCD Bookstore — including a wooden frame that requires only minimal assembly. Iron-on transfer looks professional (from a distance), and is really easy to do (you can just buy paper for a standard computer printer, or buy pre-made designs such as letters). However, iron-ons typically feel stiff and uncomfortable, and don't tend to age very well (they can peel off or flake away).

The bookstore sells a chemical that allows you to print on fabric using your inkjet printer. However, you can't put your whole shirt through the printer, only what you can iron onto a piece of wax paper. Fabric treated this way doesn't feel stiff or uncomfortable and looks pretty good. I don't know how long it lasts.

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