Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Luca is most particular about his clothing. No denim worn at home. Or "cords". That's strictly for going out, according to Luca. At home he loves to wear tracksuit pants (otherwise known as "tracky dacks" in this house). I realized the other day, that he only had a pair or two left. Most "at home" clothes for the kids comes from the op shop (as does a lot of their going out clothes too). But no such luck with pants for home.

I counted five pairs of Luca's (mostly) school pants, in the mending pile, that had worn very badly at the knee. So I cut some squares of vintage wool and corduroy that I had and roughly sewed them onto the knees. Plain zig zag, and not too neatly I might add.  But, hey, it's just for home.

So for less than one hours worth of cutting and sewing he now has a full wardrobe of patched tracksuit pants.

I don't think many people use patches anymore for worn knees.  I think it's a shame as they do prolong the life of clothing, while at the same looking quite cute in a nostalgic kind of way. Funnily enough, you do see them pop up in stores occasionally, on brand new pieces of kid's clothing, to give them that handmade look.

So now my boy has a wardrobe full of his favourite type of pants ready for rough playing outside.

If anyone has tips on prolonging the life of kid's clothes, please do share.


  1. Hi Tania! I just came over here from the Down to Earth blog, and I love your writing and photos! (and your family are GORGEOUS!). I'll definitely keep reading. My blog is at, I've taken a break as I just returned to the states after 8 months in New Zealand, where my writing was mostly our traveling and day-to-day life, and now I'm ready to get back to writing about simple living, gardening, etc. Come and visit!

  2. Great post. In an age of a throw away mentality to see clothing being given extra life brings me joy. I know of someone who buys cheap joggers for her 2yr old,in bulk ie 5pairs at a time so she can just throw them out when they are dirty. She says that at such a cheap price they are disposable!!!That mentality really does upset me. So I am so glad to have found your blog and your simple living skills with 3 littlies.

  3. Great patches!! My grandmothers, my mum and I all respectively put patches on clothing...I even remember my nana's darning socks :) it certainly is a lost art nowadays. I love the look of patches and when my boys were younger and I did a lot of sewing for them I made pants with patches on them. You would think after five children I knew the trick to prolonging the life of clothes but alas it's still a mystery to me too :)

    BTW...pretty much everything we wear bar our undergarments are op shop brought too...a passion instilled in me from my childhood.


  4. We still patch knees occasionally and I agree, they look very homespun and cute and extend wear. We also call them 'tracky dacks'. I would wear mine to school drop off until one day Zig asked me not to... Strictly 'at home' now.

  5. Isn't he cute about what clothes are used for what purpose, my younger one is particular about her clothing choice too:) I think that your patched pants look great and a great way to get more use out of something that really is still good to wear. xo

  6. They look great and I think not sewing them too neat and tidy looks much better. I love the way they contrast x

  7. Coincidentally, I'm watching Seinfeld as I read your blog - and guess what they are talking about!
    tracky daks!! (okay, they call them sweat pants) AND also coincidentally I profess my love for the comfort of tracky daks on my blog today (and my hatred of pantihose).
    There must be a very strong tracky dak vibration in the universe at the moment.

  8. My small boy wears through his knees too. I love the patched look and was planning on doing some patching until I realised that nearly all his pants were at least 2 inches too short!
    I love the vintage wool patches, they look so lovely. They even make tracky pants look cool!

  9. a little boy after my own heart...I love my tracky-dacks too and would wear them all the time if I could. Maybe some patches would make me look less frumpy in mine...

  10. I couldn't agree more that mending and patching is a great way to save money, extend wear, and look adorable and and homespun to boot! It is a shame everything, even clothing, it thought of as so disposable by my culture-at-large. I find it sort of heartbreaking. Thus, your blog post is a breath of fresh air.

    Oh, and Freefalling, I totally watched that episode of Seinfeld yesterday! "strong tracky dack vibration in the universe" indeed!

  11. I found your blog at Down to Earth---so glad I did!

    Where I live we mostly call them "sweatpants", but, either way, they do wear out rather quickly. The patches look lovely and are a great idea!

    My best tip for children's clothes is to buy gently-used good quality in abundance. My favorite brand when my boys were young was Osh Kosh----they lasted FOREVER! In fact, my oldest and youngest are 10 years apart in age, with another brother in the middle, and I was able to pass down the sweetest pair of overalls to my youngest that had been worn by his two brothers years before him (and, when we were finished with them, they went to my sister-in-law for her boys). Now that's quality!!

    I look forward to stopping by Ivy Nest often---you've created such a nice place to "visit".

    Blessings, Patti

  12. patches are absolutely gorgeous things, glad you did them. If my kids allow I would too


  13. I love the patching! Actually I just put a bright patch on the backside of my 3y.o.'s tracky dacks! I have patched school tracky dacks a couple of times, but it's a lot of work to do it 'nice' enough for school. Instead I've started investing in much harder wearing school pants that cost more, but can be bought big, hemmed and let down later. The $9 Big W trackies for school have turned out to be false economy - that disposable mentality. I love posts like this that challenge throwaway culture. Your blog is lovely, I'm glad to have found it :-)


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