OK, what do we have here? I see gray cashmere. There's a flannel interlining. Seams are catch stitched down to the interlining. Peeking out in the upper left corner is a bit of the silk charmeuse lining. Hair canvas with some tricot fused to it to build out the back. My narrow shoulders need that double interfacing with the weight of this coat. All in all, a pretty well made jacket that will last me years.

I had this out today to open out the lining and take in the sides. I always felt the original pattern was a bit boxy, something fellow PR-ers seemed to also find. So today I opened the coat up and built in some shape by taking the side seams in at the waist. About 1 3/4 inches total was removed. It looks much better. I should get lots of years wear out of this classic princess seamed jacket. It's well made and of quality fabric.

This is not a brag. This  is all to make a point about the "high cost of cheap fashion" as the rest of the title of Elizabeth Cline's book "Overdressed" says. If this were cheap fashion the following would apply:

  • It would be made of some poly blend or all poly or even "faux wool" which I mentioned in yesterday's post, something using up our petroleum resources and causing pollution in the process. 
  • No interlining
  • No catchstitching
  • No custom fit
  • No silk lining
  • and certainly no retro fitting the garment because number one, it was cheap to begin with and the seams are near non-existent.  Number two, most people don't know what good fit standards are anyway today. But you do dear sewists. 
  • It would more than likely be  donated to a good charity who really doesn't want it either because of it's crap nature and it would eventually end up in landfill. Or, it could go to the back of the closet with mound of other cheap, easily replaceable forgotten fashion.
  • The coat would have been constructed using  labor practices that would make you cringe.Our economic competitors evidently don't know or care about the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire.
You know what quality garments are and what it takes to make them. Your clothes, should you choose to go the well sewn, good fabric route will last far longer than the trash put out by the subscribers to Fast Fashion, the Targets, H&Ms, Walmarts, and truthfully, nearly every clothing retailer  dotting our landscape.  You won't be contributing to the massive carbon footprint taken up by tens of thousands of cheap fashion factories. You won't be contributing to horrific labor practices either. You sew.

I know you can tell I just finished reading Cline's book. EVERYONE should read this, not just sewists. You will be so proud you sew. I am proud you sew. This is not new stuff. I've been hitting resale shops since I was a teenager. I've also been making nearly all my clothes and doing serious recycling since then as well, way before the word even existed. It's fun. I enjoy it and its very satisfying. Cline just seems to put this all so well into words. She uses loads of interviews, facts, figures, and trips around the world she personally took to make her point.

So I will get off my high horse now but you are totally welcome to join me. Make your clothing. Use the best fabrics you can afford. Take every class you can. You are impacting your world when you do.....Bunny


  1. Very well said. I love the inside coat details...beautiful.

  2. With so great reviews I got to read it too

  3. I too love the messages in this book and hope that it gets out to the people buying that cheap c..p out there. One of the things I found gratifying was that as my sewing skills and fitting skills improved over time, my recreational shopping time dropped even more. I'd rather have a sewing success that a bag of stuff from some mall that didn't feed my creative spirit for more than a moment.

  4. The book had the same impact on me. In fact, I studied the book carefully because I was editor at Vogue patterns magazine when a contributor wrote a review if the book. My edits emphasized the same things you are mentioning, especially that sense of pride that we sewists do not participate in fast fashion. What a validation of our craft.

  5. You have convinced me and I am off to see if I can get a copy.!!! I love your blog Bunny you are so talented!!

  6. Thank you for validating buying the "inputs" I can afford, and taking every class I can!

    A hearty "AMEN!" from my corner!


  7. Great post! I'm hoping to get back into sewing for myself - but what with work and all my other projects I really have to carve out the time. I generally try to buy only good pieces, and as a result have a fairly limited wardrobe. I definitely will get Cline's book, thanks for the information about it!

  8. You have beautifully illustrated your point.

  9. Speaking of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, it was mentioned in an article about the Bangladesh fire.

    1. Thanks for bringing that to our attention, Victoria, so important not to forget the conditions many garment workers work under.

  10. Thanks for the post Bunny, I couldn't agree more. The appalling amount of cheap fashion in our society and the constant message to consume is very detrimental to our world on so many levels. I teach sewing to adults and kids, and I feel so strongly that I am making the world a better place - 1 student at a time. "Overdressed" is on my reading list - can't wait!

  11. As a child of the 80s, I grew up clothes shopping at Mervyn's and Shopko. I've only seen high quality clothing construction twice in person, during trips to New York and San Francisco. Most of my knowledge of beautifully constructed clothing comes from books, movies, and the Internet. Those resources are great, but there's nothing like examining a high end piece of clothing and realizing that you are touching a piece of art that is completely unappreciated by almost everyone. It's beautiful and sad, and almost spiritual.


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