My Story: Kid's Clothing

contributed by Evenlyn

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As the mother of an active 5-year-old boy, I have a few tips about kids' clothing that I'd like to mention:

  • When you buy new jeans, immediately apply iron-on patches to the inside of the knees. After ironing, sew around the patch at the edge to prevent it from curling up and peeling off (even without heat drying, the glue isn't enough to hold on forever). This reinforcement seems to greatly extend the life of the pants.

  • Buy twill pants instead of corduroy. Corduroy shows wear at the knees faster and can't be patched.

  • Avoid cargo pants (very difficult). They can't be cut off and hemmed into shorts when the knees/hems wear out.

  • Bleach kills fabric. Buy dark colored socks (and even underwear).

  • Buy black running shoes. If they get light scuffs on them, you can always color it over with a permanent marker. And black runners can suffice for all but the most formal of events with dark pants and a decent shirt.

  • If your child has to keep a pair of shoes at school during snowy months, you can buy cheaper ones (not real leather) if they won't be worn outside. Buying anything but "good" leather runners to wear outside is a waste of money; I've had vinyl shoes worn through with toes sticking out, before the charge showed up on my credit card! Meanwhile, the StrideRites (which cost double on sale) have been going strong for a year.

  • Old, too short sweats can double as winter pajamas.

  • If you or someone you know knits for your child, knit the pattern from the top down. This is an old depression-era trick. If the sweater becomes too short or gets holes in the elbows, you can unravel the bottom up to the holes and re-knit down, adding extra rows as needed (keep a couple of extra balls of wool).

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by

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