Mending Time

You know you’re really frugal when you find yourself mending, well, rags.

When I was about seven months pregnant with Big Brother, I headed over to my mother’s house (I lived in my hometown then) to make cloth diaper wipes out of old receiving blankets, T-shirts, and pajama pants, plus some new flannel my mother had lying around. My mother, you see, has a serger; I highly recommend having a mother with a serger. She did all the tedious threading and most of the actual sewing, while I just sat around looking huge, cutting things out and playing with the machine now and then.

We made a big stack and I use them for everything. I love them so much that my mom made me a new stack last Christmas out of brand-new clearance flannel, but I go through so many that I still use the old ones. I have a butt-wiping stash with my cloth diapers and an everything-else stash in the kitchen, which I use for wiping noses, cleaning up toddlers after a meal, cleaning up spills that are too small for a whole towel, etc. Tissues? Paper towels? No, thank you, I prefer not to buy things just to throw them away.

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Hopefully, the zigzag will keep the frayed edge in place.

But they got ragged, my beloved stash of rags. Some are double-layer flannel, and those seem to be holding up pretty well three and a half years later. But the ones that are one layer of T-shirt and one of flannel are separating and the T-shirt part is sort of dissolving with every wash.

Since I now live halfway across the country from my mom and her serger (sniff), and that might not have been the best tool for the job anyway, I used a small zig-zag stitch on me regular ol’ sewing machine to reattach the T-shirt layer.

While I had the machine out, I also mended some prefold cloth diapers that were getting raggedy around the edges, too. I probably could have just taken them out of the rotation as I’m hoping we’re close to potty training, but that’s all the more reason to use the cotton ones! They feel wet, which the fancy ones do not. And I can sell them, Freecycle them, or pass them on to a friend.

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With all the washing and drying cloth diapers take, this frayed edge was getting noticeably worse every wash.

Since the fabric was still in usable shape, I think it was a worthwhile exercise to mend them rather than just throwing away. What do you think—just the right amount of frugal, or on the nutty side?

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About frugalparagon

I'm a part-time librarian and mom to two small boys. I blog about striving for the long-term goal of financial independence while running a tight ship at home.

5 responses to “Mending Time”

  1. Amy K says :

    I think mending was a great idea! I use the plethora of baby wash cloths we got as shower gifts as wipe up after meals cloths, so I can totally relate to how useful they are.

    I mended my daughter’s muslin swaddling blankets last weekend. 3 out of 4 had holes, but after 3 years they’re still her favorite nap blankets. Definitely going to keep those usable as long as possible! One mend didn’t even make it through the wash though; you can tell I’m not a pro at this.

    • frugalparagon says :

      When I mended my jeans, the seam held, but the surrounding fabric wore out so soon that it wasn’t worthwhile. But I figure I’ll get better with a little practice! Nap blankets seem like a good thing to practice on, too!

  2. mrs. winter says :

    I think it’s a great idea! I’d not considered using rags for wipes, although we do have a pile for spit-ups, snotty noses, and so on (they’re old towels, though, so a bit rough for little bottoms).

    • frugalparagon says :

      Old washclothes are great for bottoms–they clean even better than disposable wipes. But yeah, towels might be a bit much If I try to use disposable wipes with cloth diapers, I often accidentally wash them :-). But maybe that’s just me!

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