Domestic Crisis of Conscience

(This diatribe brought to you by my pile of mending)

Sewing Machine Footer
A Stitch In Time…Two Hours To Be Precise. Image courtesy of foto76

When did clothing become disposable? I ask this because I have noticed an alarming fashion trend.  (No, I am not referring to Juicy Couture.) Instead, I am ranting talking about wardrobe malfunctions. I have purchased shoes that fell apart almost the same day my son wore them for the first time.  Admittedly, it was the poorly attached Velcro that came off rendering the shoe absolutely useless but, whatever happened to quality control?

This suit ought to last a lifetime...providing the child doesn't impale himself on his sword. Image liberated from Interview Magazine.
This suit ought to last a lifetime…providing the child doesn’t impale himself on his sword.
Image liberated from Interview Magazine. fashion/chris-harveaux/

Do you remember clothing that was made to last? Back in the day, Garanimals and Oshkosh B’Gosh were the children’s clothing equivalent of body armor. To be fair, I only know this by repute; we weren’t rich enough to have designer brands.* The ads promised ‘sturdy fabric’ and ‘long-lasting construction’. You could be sure that the clothes would be handed down–even if someone didn’t want them to be. Sure, they might get scuffed if you flew over your handlebars heading downhill over sharp gravel. But even if you ended up going to the E.R., your clothes would probably survive. Those days are gone. I just spent hours of my life (which I will never get back, thank you very much) patching and reattaching my son’s front pockets to his lime green coat.  (Let me tell you, the sewing machine was very cranky about trying to maneuver around the puffy material and boxy pockets with darts.) My son shoves his hands in his pockets a lot, so he is at part to blame, but this fabric just seems to rip so easily as to be intentional.  Why else would a small tear nearly rip the pocket–and the fabric it is attached to–off the coat when it went through the wash? I have only one answer: because it is designed to.**

You know that little rip on the side? The one you should have fixed before sending it through the wash? Learn from me, people.
You know that little rip on the side? The one you should have fixed before sending it through the wash? Learn from me, people.

“Well,”  you say, “it’s bound to happen with something shoddily made in China.” But the problem is, it doesn’t actually seem to be poorly made.  It is made with a material that shouldn’t dare to be called fabric.  In my attempts to repair the jacket today, I tried to iron some fusible web to the inside to help support the sewing project. Instead, I melted portions of the jacket. Only slightly, but still, it made fusing the giant tears difficult.  I finally figure out that cutting away the tiny portion of the pocket that was still attached made maneuvering the torn area much easier. Only a measly two hours later, and I proudly hung the coat back up.

I am very glad that I took the effort to repair the coat.  It is warm and very bright and I know winter isn’t done with us. But the fact that I had to rescue the coat after only a few months of wear is disturbing. Last year I was doing a similar stop-gap fix on my son’s backpack–the entire bottom seam had ripped out.  At least it had the decency to wait until near the end of the school year.  My fix then only had to last a few weeks.  We shall see if this year’s coat lasts the season.  This is the second winter coat that has had major clothing malfunctions. It is a disturbing trend that sends a shiver down my spine. (Of course, that could be the spasms from being hunched over a sewing machine for so long…)

My takeaway from this experience is that, next time, I am buying quality. Either that, or I am going to become wealthy enough to just throw the coat out. But since that’s what the manufacturers want you to do, probably not even then!

Pocket done
Ta dah! I am so glad I didn’t have to use my Pocket Veto! (Come on, that was funny!)

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*This butt has never known the pleasure of a golden, Jordache zig zag.

**I have a serious bone to pick with the Nautica people and not just because they put the word “USA” on the sleeve and then dared to have the product made in China.

14 thoughts on “Domestic Crisis of Conscience

  1. If you can’t afford to buy quality new – I certainly can’t! – then consider second-hand. I just will not buy “made in China” stuff any more – not just because of the lousy quality, but because of the hateful, horrible sweatshops. (Not just China, I know.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know, the consumer guilt would eat us alive if we had to contemplate what other people do to make our lives easier. I try to buy American, but sometimes, you just gotta buy the lime green puffy coat because you can really spot your child at a distance in the thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The bachelor credo of “It’s not laundry day, it’s time to buy more underwear” seems to have leaked into the textile mills where foreign children are chained to sewing machines making shirts and pants in ever-increasing waist sizes for the American consumer. They know that we’ll never repair anything. We’ll just throw it out and get another one.

    I have some sweaters made in the 1950s and am amazed at how well-crafted they are.Compared to most modern garments, they almost seem like armor. There are a few exceptions. Corcoran boots are still made the same as they ever were. In fact, lots of shoe and boot manufacturers still crank out great stuff. You can get decent underwear if you;re willing to pay for it. And American Giant makes t-shirts and hoodies that should last you until you’re too old to wear such garments.

    But on the whole, most of the crap you see is single-stitched garbage. The fabric bunches, shrinks, fades and does every other awful thing that makes it ugly.

    I want to send a complaint letter to the child garment workers in Pakistan, but I don’t think they ever learned to read. Too busy doing a half-assed job sewing the zipper of my ninety-dollar leather coat, I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am both impressed and humbled by your comments. You make such eloquent points on my throw-away post I am now tempted to cut and paste your commentary and claim it for my own. Does that count as recycling?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s quite a compliment. Thanks.

    Just remember, those Walmart checkers getting seven bucks an hour are the highest paid people associated with making and shipping that product to you. Top of the food chain. I think the bottom of the food chain is the guy who got killed so they could take his land to build the factory on.

    Not to be too much of a bummer.

    Too late.

    Dang. Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, my sewing wouldn’t win any awards and at least the pockets don’t prevent the coat from functioning…but I hear you. At about the second hundredth time the sewing machine needle got stuck, I was ready to throw the thing out. Fortunately, I am much more stubborn than I am talented in sewing!

      Liked by 1 person

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