Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Wearing patches

Grandma Mama had a saying about wearing clothes with patches on them.  “There is no disgrace in wearing a patch but there is a big disgrace in wearing a hole.”  I think Grandma Mama was very wise.

blacks and white together

Children of my generation valued our patched up clothes…. that fit, were washed and clean, and always pressed.  Our clothes and coats were often made from worn out adult clothing.  We brushed and then aired coats on the line to freshen them.  At Grandma Mama’s house washing clothes was a big chore of hauling water, heating it, scrubbing, then repeating to rinse before hanging it all out to dry in the sun.  Then the chore of ironing out all those wrinkles with a heavy non-steam iron.  Oiee!  We didn’t have permanent press in those days.  We starched the clothes and ironed them while still damp.  No way did we have closets stuffed full of things that we either couldn’t or wouldn’t wear like people have today.

Our clothes were often made in color blocking fashion to make one child’s outfit from two items of adult clothing.  If we got a rip or wore a hole in our clothing Grandma Mama knew just the perfect way to patch it.  Sometimes it was a darning and sometimes a patch.  During my childhood we had very little money so we took great pride in our made over and patched up clothing.  Grandma Mama always made my dresses look pretty with crochet lace or embroidery work.

These days the cheap clothing industry allows everyone proper dress and a good supply of clothing regardless of financial situation. Often clothes are there for the asking.  There are sites like freecyle, or local clothes closets,  or from a friend, or a relative willing to load you up with plenty of clothes.  Mega malls are everywhere and the amount of clothing available is astounding.  Washing our clothes is as easy as stuffing into a washer then turning the knob. Ok, sometimes you have to have coins to feed the machine too.  Ironing has become a term used by quilters more than by housewives.

With all these conveniences, and wealth of stuff to be had, I find it ironic to see our young people preferring holes in jeans, the wrinkled look, sassy stretched out t-shirts,  bleached spots, and grossly over sized sports jackets.  There is a whole industry of creating nothing but clothing resembling what would have been destined for the rag barrel in my youth.

Hmm…. I guess the people of my generation were “trendy” long before that became a buzz word.

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6 comments on “Wearing patches

  1. Faye
    September 3, 2015

    I sooo agree that people are manipulated by the fashion industry and I refuse to participate. I wear comfortable long skirts ( preferably denim as the fabric lasts forever), I dye them when they fade from washing. I find my clothes at thrift stores and ebay. I wear cotton blouses. I could careless what others are wearing. I am modest, comfortable, clean and neat.
    Another side note. I was on the elevator talking to a coworker about finding a blouse for 99 cents and one of the doctors joined the conversation and stated ” I never pay retail for anything…this shirt I have on I paid $5.00 for and I bought it new.” The shirt was a namebrand dress shirt and looked VERY expensive! You just never know who is frugal ….

    • Na Na
      September 4, 2015

      That’s good. You’re making your own fashion statement. Something that more of us should do.

      You sure don’t. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sarca
    August 23, 2015

    Great story.
    My mom grew up in this time. She is in her mid 70s, and growing up in the late 80s when ripped jeans had become the trend, my mom refused to let us out with ripped jeans, because she grew up poor and had to darn and mend her clothes because you couldn’t afford new clothes like we can today. She used to say, you throw back 30 years, and those ripped jeans would have tagged you a raggamuffin!

    • Na Na
      August 23, 2015

      Hee, hee, she was absolutely right. You would have been a ragamuffin. Love it. I had forgotten that word.

  3. mea
    August 20, 2015

    Thank you for this glimpse into how things were, the peoples history. As for my own mother (I am not that old..) she told me a story from when she was young:
    My mom ( as a child) was chatting with a friend, my mom had to interrupt and said ” I must go home now and wash my socks”, to which the friend answered “you too only have one pair of socks”? So, people did not state openly they were poor, but made due without advertising. I thought what a heart warming moment, a quiet bonding, we are in the same boat.

    Poverty still around these days, but in different ways. What is more bothersome than anything else is that the rich are getting richer and poor/middleclass poorer.
    How is this going to end?

    As for fashions, people are manipulated by the fashion industry and don’t seem to question if it makes sense. I suppose fashion is not about sense, but dignity in how you dress will make sense. My grandma said: The way you dress is how you will be seen. Plain and simple and true.
    Jeans with “designer” holes are expensive. I have patched up many jeans in the past and it was a big saving because jeans at that time were not cheap, it was the jeans era therefore got away with charging more. People will find money to look cool.

    • Na Na
      August 21, 2015

      How is it all going to end? Look at history for that answer. History records the times when the poor got poorer and the rich got richer. The wider the gap, the bigger the conflict between the two halves. Right now I don’t want to be rich.

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