Happy Fri-YAY, ladies! How do you like getting the regular stuff on the blog on Friday? A brand new newsletter just went out this morning to the lovely ladies subscribed to the email list. It’s filled with all of Friday Favorites old content, plus more exclusive goodies. If you wanna get on the list, just click here! Anyway, today we’re talking about how to spot quality handmade or low-production clothing. Specifically the kinds of details to look for that scream that a piece was made with love and care. I picked this dress up on my recent trip to Peru, it fits all the things I’m talking about below, and I’m obsessed! It’s something that will stay in my wardrobe forever and ever.
CHECK OUT THE SEAMS
When a piece is handmade, you’ll find certain qualities on the seams. First, you’ll often see top-stitching around buttons, some thicker edges, or on the lining. This just means you can see the little dashed lines of the threads on top of the fabric instead of being hidden between the layers. But you won’t find a lot of top-stitching. It’s a technique reserved to more well hidden areas where the arm of the sewing machine can’t get in to hide the stitch.
Second, when you inspect top-stitching, you often find that the distance between the stitch and the edge of the fabric is not uniform from one end to another. Although sewing machines have guides, when you hand-sew a garment on a machine, you are holding it to that line. That means it probably sways in and out a tiny bit as you try to keep up with the speed of the machine and contours of the garment. Something mass produced has a more perfect line because both the sewing machine and the guide into the machine are mechanically aligned.
INSPECT THE LINING
There’s almost always a lining made for handmade pieces, especially if they’re really of a good quality. But what separates a quality handmade garment from a mass-produced one is that the lining is made using the same techniques, not using wider stitches or other techniques meant to speed production – so the seams look the same as they do on the right side. The lining is also usually made with either the exact same or of a similar quality but slightly thinner material. Finally, the lining will always be made with the right side out. So when you look at the lining, it almost looks like the garment could be reversible
LOOK FOR THICKER FABRICS
In general, higher quality fabrics are thicker, even polyester. Just think about it this way, if you’re not willing to cut costs on production, why would you cut costs on material? Especially when thinner materials are more difficult to sew and work with. The material may also feel a little stiff, like it has a little starch in it. Or like it’s been ironed a bunch – because it has.
The more exposed you are to quality handmade or low-production pieces, the better you’ll get at spotting them. And I just love the uniqueness of a handmade garment, don’t you?