Knowing what tiny quality details to look for in garments is easy – once you know what you’re doing!
I was lucky enough to learn by proximity: growing up, my mom was always sewing. She made her own clothing throughout her teenage years in the 1960s & 1970s, when I was a child she made all of my favourite outfits (I always got to pick the patterns and material!), all our Halloween costumes, sometimes worked professionally part time in a local bridal shop when they needed extra help or had tricky jobs, and to this day helps friends and family with minor tailoring.
Here are a three tips I’ve learned from my mom:
1) Flat seams: if they’re bumpy and lumpy the tension was wrong on the machine, and the person making it didn’t correct it. The garment can be salvaged, but only if you want to take it apart and re-sew it.
2) Missed stitches: this can happen from a bent needle, pulling the fabric too tight or the needle hitting a pin. Again fixable, but if you’re buying a brand new item with missed stitches I’d question the integrity of the brand’s quality control!
3) Matching prints at seams: when stripes, checks and other printed material matches at the seams you know you have a quality garment. Doing this is easy, but needs a bit of extra time and focus: print repeats need to be measured, pattern cutting needs to consider this, and then extra care is needed while pinned and sewing.
When I was shopping fast fashion I always knew my garments were not made well, but I always let this go because I wanted those styles for cheap. I knew it was a trade off. But when I learned about the environmental and societal impacts I knew it was not something I could continue doing.
What are your top tips?
Blouse: Racil overstock sale 2019
Skirt: 1970s vintage via ebay 2019
Much love, Katie xo