How To Assess Quality Of Garment [Quality Miniseries Part3] – Eco Fashion Sewing

Have you ever wondered in a second hand store: ‘Is this garment worth my money’, and exactly how to assess quality of a garment? If it felt confusing you need to know – it happens often.

I remember my first years of buying secondhand clothing in charity stores and op-shops. Back then I was only looking for ‘shiny objects’ and clothing items that can grab my eye immediately. Is that what happens to you, too?

Over time though, first, I found I acquired too much clothing without really knowing what to do with it all. But, second, I noticed that not everything ‘shiny’ was worth it, quality-wise.

Then, refashioning old into new for a while, I realised one thing. If I was going to put my time, money and energy to rework a piece of clothing I wanted it to be the best possible quality from the get-go.

So, I began noticing and figuring out what in particular makes an item of clothing true treasure. Here you'll discover my findings.

The Quality Miniseries

The idea of the Quality Miniseries, as so many other insightful pieces of valuable content, actually came from you, my audience and workshop students. It was the question, ‘How to assess quality of a garment’ that inspired this Part 3.

However, if you like the idea to rework some of those finds, then check out the rest of the 3-Part Miniseries on Quality:

  • Part 1 talks you through the sewing standards that can elevate an upcycle project. It explains in details what to keep an eye on when sewing. Easy to apply, the 10 Sewing Tips and Tricks sets you up for great results.
  • Part 2 explains what makes the overall look of a garment perceived as high quality. Regardless of colour or style, there are certain things to look for. It is all covered in the Top 10 Design Tips here.

What Is Key To Assessing Quality Of A Second Hand Garment

We used to think that the brand is a good indicator for delivering quality, right?

Today though is nothing like this. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to find branded clothes in the thrift store in the first place.

My experience tells me that even if you find branded clothes either the price would be double or triple compared to the same regular items, or the style won’t be what you are looking for. And all that on top of second hand clothes being already too pricey (especially in some countries like Australia and Canada).

So, things are changing and is different now comparing to the last five or 10 years.

Nevertheless, treasure finds are still out there waiting to be found. And since the brand label doesn’t tell is it quality or not there are other things you could check and decide whether the purchase is worth your money.

The last Part 3 of the Quality Miniseries on the Art Of Refashioning show (now available as a podcast and a video) explains how to assess quality of a garment regardless you get it in a thrift store, second hand sale, a swap party or elsewhere.

In particular you’ll learn:

  • Is it about the brand, is it the fabric or what else tells you ‘good quality’
  • When you need to consider taking it regardless of the quality
  • What I avoid, again regardless of the quality, that will give some food for thought for when you buy or acquire second hand, to wear 'as is' or refashion

How To Assess Quality Of A Garment

You can also listen to this episode below:

Or listen on the podcast page HERE.

Some Highlights Inside This Episode:

[0:55] 3 Tips to keep in mind for when you are at the thrift store 

[1:60] Some thoughts on brands not being a reliable check for quality.

[2:50] How to assess quality of a garment by the fabric. What is important to inspect and how.

[7:00] Since recognising value just by expecting the fabric is hard, next thing to check is the construction of the garment itself. Here I summarise some of the pointers. However, to get the whole picture on what and how it should look in a garment, listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of the Quality Miniseries.

[11:25] And finally, another how to assess quality of a garment gauge is the presence of details. Here you’ll get it all explained, plus real examples on items of clothing that I’ve found over time.

[15:30] In addition, one more great example the three pointers - fabric, construction and details – demonstrating how to assess quality of a garment.

[17:30] Furthermore, check out when is worth to consider buying regardless the quality. It is really great way to get ‘value for money’ add-ons for other upcycling projects.

[19:20] Lastly, I share what I usually avoid explaining why. As buying clothes is very personal though take it as a starting point for your own treasure hunting.

 [22:30] Quick wrap up on how to assess quality of a garment when buying second hand clothes.

Rate, Review & Subscribe On Apple Podcasts

If you love the conversation, please consider writing a review and rating the show. Podcasts are great way to get the word out to others who want to make change by buying second hand and/or refashioning.

Your actions will help me reaching out more people and helping them learn the ins and outs of refashioning. The ultimate goal: the more we are, the more valuable textiles saved from being wasted!

Go to the show page here and click “Listen on Apple Podcasts”. In iTunes then select the “Ratings and Reviews” tab and click 5 stars to rate and select “Write a Review”. Make sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

If you haven’t done so yet, subscribe to the podcast. It will secure you never miss out, including the free downloads which I’m adding to some of the episodes. Subscribe here.

Other Podcasts Episodes Mentioned In This Episode:

Articles Mentioned In This Episode:

Projects Mentioned In This Episode:

Hopefully, these findings make you more confident on how to assess quality of a garment.

Thrift stores (or op-shops as we call them here in Australia) are great places to update your wardrobe.

As they are also some of the best places to source wonderful clothing items to rework into unique garments that no one has! Still, at the best bargain price :)

Happy thrifting

Mariana x

Mariana Kirova

Mariana is passionate about garment upcycling and helping others making their own upcycled clothing. Graduated with Award in garment construction from WAIFT, Perth WA, Mariana is not a main stream eco fashion designer. She makes unique eco-friendly garments from unwanted clothes and materials and believes that small fashion professionals and DIY sewers can embrace sustainability in garment creation, thus changing the fashion world for good.