Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Practicing Old Ideas

I think my MIL is unconsciously passing to me what she grew up with and then implemented when my husband was little-- which is buying clothes several sizes too large, and then hemming, so that a pair of pants can be worn for 3 or 4 years instead of only a year or so.

The girls all got new pajamas for Christmas from Grandma and Grandaddy and they were all several sizes too large. Left up to me, I would have put them away and waited until they fit, but the girls were adamant about wearing them, so I had to spend my morning hemming 3 pairs of pajama pants and sleeves.

I have to admit, the end result was pretty good and the girls were happy to wear their new jammies. Thanks Grandma and Grandaddy!

While hemming, it got me thinking about the way people did things back then-- buying too-big clothing; passing down clothing from oldest to youngest; repairing and patching rips and holes; re-purposing the fabric into something else, IE: quilts, rags, or rugs. I already practice passing clothes from Oldest to Middle to Youngest. It's what I grew up with, wearing my older sister's clothing when she out-grew it. I already repair and patch clothing, and I already re-purpose clothing and sheets into sewing and crafting projects. The only thing I don't do is buy larger sizes.

I can appreciate the idea-- hemming and then letting out the hems as the child grows. But for me, this is time-consuming, as I would have to repeat this practice with each of my 4 children. I find it easier to just pass them down to the youngest. I must admit, though, I do buy larger sizes when it comes to dresses-- it seems they are just too short! If Oldest wears size 6 in a dress, I'll buy size 8 for her. By the time she is 8, that dress would be too short! Sorry, but my girls are not little hoochie mamas and I will not allow them to wear dresses that showcase their underwear every time they bend over! I've heard "I see London, I see France, I see Jenny's underpants!" more than once when I wore a dress on those very rare occasions. And, I'm sorry to say, there are just too many sick people out there and I don't want to bring attention to my girls and their exposed legs while wearing too-short dresses and skirts. But I digress.

I like knowing that I am getting every last drop out of the clothing my family wears. With the exception of gifted clothing, it's very rare that they get brand new clothing (except for underwear and socks!) and it does my heart good when we don't add to consumerism by buying brand new items. So we are re-using clothes in a multitude of ways-- buying used clothing, passing down to the next kid, repairing holes/rips, and finally re-purposing into something else. Not only does this practice save us money, we are not being a burden on this earth by using and re-using the same item over and over again.


Mr Farty said...

As the last of five children, I well remember hand-me-downs and re-purposing.

Hoping 2009 finds you mouse-free :)

barefoot gardener said...

Yes! I so agree. I don't even remember the last time I bought clothes new. I just never seem to need to. Of course, underwear and socks are new, but the rest? Why?

I got a question, though. How do you keep the fold in the hem from wearing thin and looking funny when you let the hems down? I have wanted to do this for ages, but it always ends up funky looking...

jenny said...

Mr Farty-- Well at least you had something to wear, eh? Happy New Year to you sir! I hope it'll be a mouse-free one for me, too!

Barefoot-- I don't know! I've always wondered myself how to keep the fold in the hem from fading. The pjs were kind of fleecy materials so I don't forsee any fading of the hems there, but as for cottons like jeans and dyed cottons, I really don't know.

Anyone out there have the answer to Barefoot's question?

SabrinaT said...

Having 3 boys I am the queen of knee patches.

jenny said...

Sbarina-- oh man! I can only imagine all the holey knees you have to patch. Me, I get lots of skinned knees to kiss-- the girls preferred choice of clothing is skirts and dresses!