Recognizing the quality of a garment
Responsible consumption means buying less and buying better. When we talk about clothes and their value, we are often told at the workshop that it is difficult to measure the quality of a garment. We know that a garment made here is worth more, but how else can we distinguish good quality from bad? Where do we start to determine if a garment is worth the investment? Here are some starting points to help you analyze the quality of a garment, whether you buy it in a store, a thrift shop or even online!
If the garment is found at a thrift store or if it is a new brand and you don't know the cut, it is important to take the time to do a good fitting. The size of a garment, its fall and its comfort are important aspects to consider to make sure you want to wear it! It is suggested to walk, sit and move around during the fitting. Yes, you need to see yourself in the mirror, but above all, you need to focus on the comfort that the garment provides.
The straight line
Does the garment look well cut? In a fabric, straightness is defined by the direction of the weft or warp, as opposed to bias (diagonal). When the garment is on a hanger, you can check if the threads seem perpendicular to the hem. Each piece of a garment should be cut parallel to the edge of the roll of fabric. Unfortunately, some companies, in order to fit more pieces into a yard of fabric, cut them crooked, slightly at an angle. If you don't pay attention, you may not notice it. On the other hand, once washed, clothes are twisted and don't fall as well when you wear them. If this happens, try to straighten them when they come out of the washer, still wet, before hanging them up to dry. Be careful, sometimes the washer's wringer can give the impression of twisting, but the garment will straighten out as it dries!
It is important to check the composition of a garment before buying it. This is indicated on a label sewn inside the garment, either on the back neckline, the back waist or on one of the sides (the side seams). Natural fibres are of plant (cotton, linen, lyocell, hemp, etc.) or animal (wool, silk, etc.) origin, whereas synthetic fibres (polyester, acrylic, etc.) are chemically manufactured. Natural fibres, in addition to being biodegradable, can be more easily maintained. For example, it is possible to remove pilling from a natural fibre knit with a razor or a small machine designed for this purpose. For a knitted fabric made of synthetic fibres, the blade may create a hole in the fabric, so this is not recommended. In general, natural fibres breathe better and retain less odour, so they require less regular washing.
The quality of the assembly is as important as the choice of finishes. A garment sewn with a thread that is too fragile or poorly assembled will not last very long and may quickly become punctured. During the fitting, the seams can be tested by gently stretching them. The use of bias finishes, French seams or siding is a guarantee of durability. Generally speaking, the less you see the seams, the more steps they have taken to make them, so the more durable they are. The price will obviously be accordingly!
The guarantee of quality
Local designers usually offer a personalized after-sales service. Repairs, button replacement, addition of reinforcements are offered in our workshop to help extend the life of each garment atelier b. It's easy to check with your favorite brands what they offer in this regard, and don't hesitate to contact them for a repair. This prevents a damaged garment from sleeping at the bottom of your closet!
What about buying online?
Obviously, a garment purchased online does not allow for a fitting and seam inspection. You can check the composition and care information in the product sheet, it should be there. In the policies or the about section of the website, there should be mention of the quality guarantee offer. If in doubt, send an email! A company that has been in business for many years and has not changed its manufacturing location should have a consistent quality. It is possible that even a very experienced brand may make an occasional quality mistake. A fabric that is less resistant to washing, for example, or a seam that puckers over time are mistakes that can creep into the production process. To avoid getting the wrong impression, let them know how disappointed you are and see what you can do about it. It's easy to build a relationship of trust with a brand that has quality at heart!
Video capsule directed by Victor Saliba.