Two and a half years ago Cam and I tied the knot and decided on a sunny excursion to Thailand for our honeymoon. Being carefree and of the opinion that overseas travel in all its glories requires a wardrobe update, we made our way to our local cheap and summery clothing store (let's call it ForeverCheap). We all know them, I bet you're thinking of one now, characterised by items of weight that would only suggest you lived in a perpetual summer. God forbid that you actually try and wear one of their coats in the wind you will certainly die of the frost in a 20 degree breeze.
So we are in 'ForeverCheap' and Cam finds a pair of cool blue summer shorts. He tries them on and rather absentmindedly throws them onto the counter, while thinking of all of the other tasks we have to do that day and five minutes later we whisk as quickly out of the store as we had entered it. I have since come to regret this brief purchasing moment in time as, on average, they have ripped once every three months. That's a grand total of 8 times so far!
I often post pictures of my sewing adventures, rather misadventures, and earlier this year I posted phase six of the repairs made to this particular pair of shorts. At first it was a little project of mine, to see how long I could keep these shorts going for. It was somewhat entertaining but we are currently in phase 8 and I'm about ready to turn ape and start throwing poo.
How is it possible that in two and half years this one pair of shorts has ripped in 8 completely different places? It's not just the seams that are breaking, the fabric has become threadbare and that makes me wonder what quality of fabric we are dealing with? Is it that the structure of fabric has degraded slowly over time? At this rate we'll be wearing toilet tissue in five years.
And, of course, to make matters more political, Cam refuses to give up on these shorts as they own the title of 'favourite pair'. This is a very difficult spot to move from as many of you know. So I have decided to go with the tide and instead of complaining, I utilised the 7th tear to teach Cam how to sew and now it's become somewhat of a game. Tear 8 occurred just two days ago, spurring this rant! To our surprise it wasn't where we had expected it (you see, we have become accustomed to predicting the impending demise of the garment) I had assumed that the next stop was a clean tear over the threadbare left butt cheek, but lo, it was a totally blind-side tear across the right front seam. Sigh! It looks like we'll see phase 9 shortly.
And it seems that I'm not alone in my dilemma...
As I googled around I came across pages and pages of people saying the same thing and it's not just about cheap clothing either. It seems that some of the items produced by higher-end brands are just as low quality. What is, perhaps, more interesting, is that I struggled to come across any information regarding the apparent decrease in fabric integrity. As mentioned in my previous blog 'How To Make The Perfect Linen Burrito' we know that fabrics are often encased with chemicals that help to prevent creasing and consequently increase the thickness of the fabric, making it feel as though it is higher weight then it actually is. Maybe, because of the increased use of chemicals, fabric companies are creating thinner fabrics to begin with? Who knows! but it does make me wonder how convenient it must be for clothing companies when their clothing disintegrates after 6 months... just in time for their new line.
What's the solution?
I'm not 100% sure on this one but I'm determined to find out! I am curious about garment quality and this journey has spurred an information hunt, so watch this space for round two of this garment quality series. My next blog will be full of tips for how to identify items of quality. From what I already know I have one small hypothesis and this is that certified organic fabric will be the hardest wearing cotton fabrics. But you know, it really isn't enough for one to simply assume this. I think that's a very good excuse for me to buy something new... perhaps that organic cotton top by Kowtow that has my heartstrings all around it...purely for research...watch this space.