Mending Cheap Designer Clothing: A Pictorial

Mending Cheap Designer Clothing: A Pictorial

Mending clothes sucks, especially when you paid for a name brand.

Recently I posted about fabric shopping in Dallas. I ranted (only a little!) about the sorry state of our textile industry. Thanks in advance for indulging me in another rant. I promise not to become one of those angry bloggers. It’s a tiny rant. Really. Bear with me?

Mr. SewsNBows was kind enough to drive 3 hours to Dallas, and follow me aimlessly through warehouses full of fabric. That’s probably the equivalent of me shopping for power tools. Absolute torture. So, I hit the Galleria mall and made his sexy butt try on some casual summer clothes. I felt guilty for dragging him all over. He’s so good to me, and patient. He never bats an eyelid when I get a wild hair up my….you know.

Even though I knew better, my desire to reward my awesome husband with some new gear won over my conscience. I bought a t-shirt, some sandals, a couple pairs of shorts, and a ball cap. There may have been a bracelet. Okay, fine! There was a bracelet. Sheesh. I paid over three hundred dollars for this stuff. Maybe closer to $400.

These stupid shorts ripped the first time they were worn. The thread is cheap, the tension was improperly set, and I paid to much. I got got, people. Do you hear the shame as I’m writing? I don’t mind spending money. But wasting money on crap? That’s for dummies and I’m no fool!

I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a bargain shopper. I love quality designer clothing. I don’t mind paying more for it. If its well made and sustainable, a piece of quality clothing can be a wardrobe staple that can be enjoyed for many years. I’ve found great, used pieces at boutiques and online shops, and I’ve even thrifted couture clothing on rare occasions when I’m lucky. I rarely pay retail, or even sales prices. I don’t mind busting out the needle & thread and altering a piece that isn’t the right size either. I have an expensive looking wardrobe, even though I don’t spend as much as most people.

99.9% of our “designer” clothing is sweatshop quality garments that are stitched poorly, using low grade fabrics and threads. They are often made by children, in dangerous work conditions.

A lot of couture designers have introduced ready to wear lines. Donna Karen has DKNY, Armani has the Armani Exchange, etc. This makes designer clothing more affordable to the masses. But designer is not couture. Couture is well made pieces, with quality fabric. They last forever, because they are stitched with quality thread by experienced seamstresses. Quality clothing saves you money. That’s why I spend so much less than my friends. I don’t have to buy a new coat every year or two. I have a couple high end coats that will last longer than I will. You see, nowadays clothing (and everything else) is made to be disposable.

Please read Clothes: A Manifesto. It sums up exactly how I feel about the fashion industry, and you’ll know why I sew. Even though I’m having to re-learn everything about designing, I vow to make quality garments for myself and my family, and make smart shopping decisions henceforth.

Have you ever had to mend something you overpaid for? I’m disgusted at myself. Lesson learned! (Again.)

About The Author

Amy Mayen

Hello. I'm Amy and I'm addicted to sewing. I borderline-hoard fabric, buttons, & patterns. Sometimes I wish I could pile my fabric up on the floor and just roll in it!


  1. Linda

    Thanks for linking to what to do weekends party. Have a great weekend yourself. Linda
    Linda recently posted…What to do Weekends #22My Profile

  2. Angela

    Glad you are so handy! Thank you for linking up at HickoryTrail

  3. Natasha in Oz

    I’m so used to this but it certainly doesn’t make it acceptable. I feel just as irate as you when that sort of things happens to me.

    Isn’t it amazing what you earn through blogging…here I am in Australia and I have never heard of the brand that Pam (a fellow Aussie) mentioned in her comment! I will have to look into it.

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz
    Natasha in Oz recently posted…#TuesdayTune ~ Release Your Inner Child!My Profile

  4. Janlynn

    Unfortunately, spending a lot of money no longer guarantees that you are buying a well made item. It just guarantees that someone is making a lot of profit. Most people have accepted the Walmart mantra of buying more for less. Quantity over quality. They accept poorly made items of low quality fabrics made by poorly paid children working in unsafe conditions. So called “designer” items are made there too. When is enough enough?
    So carry on with your rant! Others will join in.

  5. Pam

    You’ve done a great job fixing the hole, Amy, but as you said, it shouldn’t have happened in the first place and most definitely not on the first wearing. Unfortunately, clothing, like everything else we buy, is not made to last. We are truly a throw away society and that is sad!!! I recently went to a Postie clothing party at a friend’s… Australian clothing line; not super expensive, but not cheap either. To my great delight, two of the garments I purchased, were actually made in Australia. The company originally made all clothing in Australia, but due to costs, some is now made off shore. It is very rare to be able to buy clothing still made in Australia, so I was thrilled and will be supporting this company.

    Thank you SO much for the kind words you left on Heather’s blog!!! I’m still blushing…
    Pam recently posted…Darning a Hole in a Woollen Cardigan…My Profile

  6. Christina

    Thanks for stopping by the Mom’s Monday Mingle. I’m so glad I dropped by your site… what a great tip! I’ve PAID people to do a mend like this… following you now!

  7. domestic bliss squared

    I totally agree! Quality has taken a huge nose dive since the average consumer no longer knows about fabric quality or construction like they did through the 50’s and 60’s. This is exactly why I both sew and thrift store shop! It makes it so I am able to afford much higher quality then I would be able to otherwise. I am so picky about clothing, how it fits, and especially fabric. I detest cheap fabric!
    domestic bliss squared recently posted…DIY shower head cleanerMy Profile

  8. Katie Vyktoriah

    Oh I would be so cross about getting got! It’s wonderful that you’re so talented, though! Thanks for linking up to Pin It Tuesday!
    Katie Vyktoriah recently posted…The Toddler DictionaryMy Profile

  9. Lisa Nelson

    Okay, I don’t have a clue as to what I’m doing here. It took me 5 minutes to figure out why there are two sets of comments.

    What a dope i am.

    Here is my reply again.

    What a complete pain. You did a great job though.

    Honestly, I have never ever bought quality clothes that I had to then mend. Shoes however…I remember buying a pair of $300.00 shoes (mind you – these were the days before children – when I only catered to myself). They were gorgeous – and so comfortable.

    Those darn shoes – the heels came off on day 2. They were wedges, and the heal was sort of flapping. So I brought them back. Do you know they looked at me cross eyed?

    I was like – I paid $300.00 for these shoes and they shouldn’t have done that. They reluctantly exchanged them (they wanted to fix them). Low and behold the new pair did the same thing.

    Totally annoying.

    I feel for you.

  10. Rosey

    If I purchased Armani anything and it ripped first time from poor quality, I’d be ranting and raving too, those prices can be pretty hefty.

  11. Gina

    I can’t believe that happened the first time you wore the shorts! Good thing you are handy with the needle and thread and saved the shorts from the garbage bin!! Going to pop overto read the article you linked. Hope you enjoyed your three day weekend!! ( I voted for you over at Project Sewn :) )
    Gina recently posted…Vintage Strawberry GownMy Profile

  12. ingrid@nowathomemom

    glad you were able to take care of it Amy! wow! can’t believe this happened on the first time they were worn! I would love to be able to fix things like this, my mom is really good at it! but yes, unfortunately this happened to me before too and I was very upset after spending a lot of money on it! It’s OK, you can rant when you want! :-)
    ingrid@nowathomemom recently posted…DIY mini kitchen rolling cartMy Profile


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