Wednesday, March 04, 2015

5 tips for making children's clothing last

My kids are growing fast, and not particularly concerned about fashion. So, I've found a few strategies that keep them decently clothed, without me needing to spend a lot of time and money shopping. Since I have boys, these tips are focused on boy's clothing, but they could work as well for girl's clothing.

Here's what I do.

1. Put a cuff on jeans, if they're too long. This is commonly done, except that I go one step further and actually hand-sew the cuff in two spots, so that it doesn't come undone. I will also buy the jeans a little long, as opposed to exactly the right length. Then when my children grow, I just undo the cuff. Jeans with cuffs in them look fine, unlike "high-water" jeans - i.e. jeans that are too short, which look goofy.




2. If the sleeves on a knit shirt are too long, I put elastic in the cuff. I cut a tiny little hole on the inside of the cuff (on a knit shirt, it won't unravel), and thread a piece of thin elastic through, then tie it off at a length that fits snugly around the child's wrist. This looks great and prevents the sleeve from going over the wrist. Then when it's no longer needed, just snip the elastic and remove it.

Note the small hole where the elastic is threaded through
3. Don't get white clothing! Stains in non-white clothing usually disappear without any extra laundry work. In whites, you may have to do extra scrubbing and/or bleaching to remove stains, if you can remove them at all. I'm happy just not getting the kids white clothing.

4. Keep them in shorts and short sleeves as much as you can. The "acceptable length" of shorts is extremely broad - anywhere from mid-thigh to just above the knee. As long as it's an elastic waist, that covers at least a couple years. And t-shirts and polo shirts that fit quite large usually look just as good as t-shirts that fit exactly right. If your child wears the t-shirt both when it's large on him, and regular size, you can get additional years of wear out of it.

5. Patches - this is an area where I haven't had much luck. I've done the iron-on knee patches, and most of them seem to come off very easily. I'd suggest doing some research on which patches work best, and then following the instructions exactly. Of course, the knees are the first to go, especially if your kids still play on the floor a lot.

But - knee patches are never necessary on shorts - yet another reason to favor them!




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