A friend came to visit me recently, with her she bought 4 department store dresses that she had purchased from well known brand names. My friend’s complaint, she had only worn each of the dresses a couple of times, but they were coming apart at the seams, she then asked me “why has the quality of clothing gone down”?
I explained that in today’s ‘fast fashion’ the turnaround to get garments into the shops, and in peoples shopping baskets, quality often takes a backseat as it is worn today, and dismissed tomorrow. The Oxford dictionary describes quality as ‘a degree of excellence‘; so what makes quality clothing? The essential components are cut, fit, construction and fabric, without these pieces all working together there is no harmony, the design itself is the icing on the cake so to speak. A great design, poorly constructed made in fabric that after either dry cleaning, or machine washing has lost its lustre will never return to its former glory.
In the case of my girlfriend, the dresses were beautifully shaped, complimentary style lines, fit her like a glove, which was also part of the problem; the seam allowances were tiny, less than 0.5cm. Made in woven fabrics these dresses had minute seam allowances especially in the waist and hips, with no ease added in, this means there is no ‘wiggle room’.
Ease is added into a garment to allow for movement, jersey fabrics do not require as much ease as woven fabrics, with the majority of jersey’s there is some form of elastane, think of t-shirts and leggings. A wider seam allowance, with ease will allow for strain in key areas, allowing for human functions such as walking, breathing and eating! If my friend were a mannequin the tiny seam allowances would not be problem, and have no cause to tear open. The industry standard used to be 1.5cm, and with couture garments 1.5cm – 2.5cm. Therefore in an attempt to squeeze more garments out of the fabric length, the quality of construction, and therefore fit will suffer. (The picture is of a seam allowance in a bespoke garment).
Why buy quality clothing? In the long run you are actually saving money, its an investment. The next time you are out shopping when you go to try on your garment, see how it feels, is it straining in any areas, have a peak inside and see if there’s a decent seam allowance, look at the finish, how does in feel in your hands, your body will thank you for it.
For more information have a look at the YouTube video we’ve prepared https://youtu.be/sR-k4TTj_-c