Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What do patches mean to you?

A few mornings ago I had no school trousers for Quin to wear to school. Were they on the clothes line? No. Were they in a crumpled heap in the corner? No. Were they accidental put in the wrong draw? No. They were all in the mending basket. Why? Because my 6 year old prefers to get from point A to point B mainly by rolling and crawling, ninja style, which leaves gaping holes in the knees of his trousers (at least its not his knees!). I was left with two choices; Target or patching (there is a third choice here involving going over to Mum's to use her fancy machine, or even better having her mend our clothes on her fancy machine - I'd make the tea...but this was urgent). So, of course, I dragged out the old faithful Singer sewing machine. 

Often I try to patch with the fabric on the inside and then just zig zag like crazy. Its not as noticeable as a full on patch on the outside. But this time, I went for fully visible and proud pirate patches. 

And as I was zig zagging away I was thinking 'why doesn't everyone do this?'. I think its because we are too worried about what a patch means. I think we no longer value thrift or kooky creativity which a patch can symbolise. Or worse than thrift, maybe a patch means downright poverty. 

To me it means none of that. These patches, the six that I sewed over ripped knees of school trousers mean 'Get stuffed Target!'. They mean 'up yours Kmart'. They say 'no' to fast fashion where billions of items are made in third world countries with un-unionised workforces, then sold to us cheaply ('Ooh lets get one of each colour!'), then chucked because its poor quality or we just don't fancy it any more. I love patches and so does my boy. 

Okay, he does look a little bit povo because I was in a rush and didn't even bother hemming the edges, but you gotta admit, he looks happy!


  1. LOVE IT!! Well done, Amy, I love that you are teaching Quin that something loved and worn has value and more soul than some new cheap stuff, am inspired to repair some things :)

  2. I am totally with you on this one Amy. School jumpers were my issue. My DD wore through elbows and frayed the sleeve edging in no time at all. Now at her school the uniform is compulsory and there are very strict guidelines about what is and is not acceptable. A uniform that fits and is well cared for is a must but at the rate she was wearing through her jumpers would see me buying a new jumper every year. Last time I looked, a jumper was priced at $85. I just could not afford to spend that much too often. My only choice was to darn the elbows and sleeve edging. My first attempt was a bit crude and the darning wool didn't quite match but I got better with the second jumper. DD managed to get through 5 years of secondary school with just 2 jumpers, one was purchased second hand. That note from school asking me to buy a 'decent' jumper never arrived. DD learnt how to make do and hold her head up high (she truly did not mind me darning her uniform) and I saved a heck of a lot of money that was better used on buying her bookds and paying for school fees.