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 patched clothes

Grandma Mama had a saying about wearing clothes with patches on them.  She would say “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.

Children of my generation valued our patched up clothes…. that fit, were washed clean and always pressed.  Our clothes and coats were often made from worn out adult clothing.  We brushed and 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 flat iron.  Oiee!  We didn’t have permanent press in those days nor did we have electricity.  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 tear or rubbed a hole in our clothing, Grandma Mama knew just the perfect way to fix it.  Sometimes it was a darning and sometimes a patch.  During my childhood we had very little money but 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 economy 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 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 mainly by quilters for their craft.

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…. Women (and some men) are by nature inventive and artistic.  Our ingenuity comes through wherever we are located.  Today our economy, even though it’s bad at the moment, doesn’t require women to be inventive daily just to survive as our grandparents had to be.  Women are turning their talents to developing new and exciting crafts to decorate their homes.  To make the surroundings cheerful and to make it all worthwhile.  Just look around the internet and you will find thousands upon thousands of women creating different types of crafts.  Sure, there are some men being creative too but mostly it’s the women.

It has always been considered women were responsible for the human race.  I don’t think that’s changed.   Do you?  I believe if a new economic disaster were to happen today, it would again be the women who get us through it.


12 comments on “Wearing patched clothes

  1. Lyndsey Stanfill
    May 12, 2016

    My mother didn’t sew and didn’t mend our clothing. I try really hard to mend my boys clothing before tossing anything out. Unfortunately, that wisdom wasn’t passed to me by the women in my family so I am usually winging it or experimenting. Patching I can usually get by with but my darning is atrocious. I wish that there were mending classes offered at the library here in town. I’ve learned a lot about mending just from reading your blog!

    • Anita
      May 14, 2016

      Thank you Lyndsey, I too feel the library should have some classes. Actually, I wish there were some “make do and mend” centers for teaching and learning and using equipment thats too expensive for people to purchase on their own. I’m planning more frugal tutorials as soon as I’m moved.

  2. carenowplease
    May 9, 2016

    this blog is awesome, learning so much ‘how to’ stuff. Thank you.

    • Anita
      May 10, 2016

      Thank you and welcome to my blog.

  3. boblosan
    May 8, 2016

    I hear you! My grandmother made all of our clothes when I was young. We did have electricity and she had an old sewing machine. It was so old that she sewed through her finger occasionally, because it was difficult to hold the fabric (no feed footing in those days). I remember how happy we were to have a new smocked dress or a beautiful new shirt. It was so special and we valued every item we wore. I agree about these days. I still try to take a favorite shirt and use it to make a new shirt. I do try to freecycle or donate used clothing to help those in need. I also value sewing skills and darning skills. I’m 56.

    • Anita
      May 10, 2016

      It feels good to upcycle doesn’t it? I plan to do more clothing upcycle when I get moved next month.

  4. Leslie
    May 7, 2016

    Thank you for bringing back some wonderful memories of growing up in Ky. We were poor, but clean and proudly dressed with fresh ribbon or buttons on our refurbished clothing, and, as you said, ironed and neat to a T.
    Today, in my seventies, I refurbish clothes given to me with fresh hems,buttons, and every piece, spotlessly cleaned and aired. I also wash and polish purses because so many are ugly and over priced in the stores anyway.
    Have blessed Mother’s Day, and thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts.
    Leslie Saunders
    Tonopah, Az.

    • Anita
      May 10, 2016

      I haven’t bought brand new clothing for myself in years. I get mine from the thrift store or the church clothes closet. I don’t carry a purse. In this neighborhood its much too tempting for thieves to snatch and run. I like purses and admire them though. I see some nice ones in thrift stores.

  5. morgne
    May 7, 2016

    As I get older I come more and more to your way of thinking. I DO believe that women, perhaps our biological urge to nest, pushes us to create society. My husband loves the clean house etc but it’s taken 15 years for him to realize that he is involved in that process. 😉

    Left on his own he would be miserable in a cave… but still living in a cave!

    • Anita
      May 10, 2016

      I think you’re right, its our urge to nest that gives us the need to create.

  6. mem37814m
    May 7, 2016

    This reminds me of how my mom washed and ironed for others. I have seen her stand in the creek to rinse the clothes before hanging them on the line to dry.. I miss those days.

    • Anita
      May 10, 2016

      I believe standing in a creek would have been easier than hauling buckets of water. My quilt customers wouldn’t want to know how much I’d charge for ironing their quilts because I hate to iron. 🙂

Comments are closed.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 205 other followers

Follow Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living) on

Down memory lane

Visitors since 7-1-2013

  • 305,809 Hits
%d bloggers like this: