Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fixing an old coat

Last night I replaced another zipper. This was in an old winter coat of Owen's that I want to get operational for the Little Emperor for this winter. After studying the construction, I decided that I couldn't do the quick cheat of cutting off the teeth on this one. I set to work picking out the stitches holding in the old zipper. Get this: each half of the zipper was held in by no fewer than 4 rows of stitching! Yes! Now, why go to such lengths to over-engineer the sewing on the coat and yet, not spend 50 cents extra per zipper for a more durable finished product? It defies logic.

Then Owen & I had to have a discussion on the merits of fixing an old coat vs. replacing. Ok, I spent a couple hours in all picking out all that sewing, basting in the replacement, and stitching in by machine. A cheap big-box winter coat would cost about $50. Probably the zipper would break in February. A Lands End coat that would last the little guy until he outgrows it would run over $100. But both coats would probably be made by sweatshop workers in a third world country. And any new coat would have had some environmental impact. Even if I researched the most environmentally responsible coat on the market and paid whatever it cost, no new coat would have as little impact as repairing the functional coat we already own. So, a $4 zipper and a couple hours of my time is worth it to me.

8 comments:

Bezzie said...

Hee hee, my mother could have written this post. I remember many a winters searching, searching, searching for the PERFECT winter coat with a metal zipper. Those tend not to eat it as fast as the plastic ones. She hated shelling out all that $ for six winter coats only to have their zippers crap out X months later. Granted she probably never had to buy 6 at a time with the hand-me-down factor--but it was still always metal zippers for us.

Chelle said...

Geez, I could use a tutorial on zipper replacement! (one of my girls is particularly hard on them)

For the record, the last two zippers that have auto-destructed chezchelle have been on Lands End parkas. They were both accepted back by LE graciously for full credit, but still, I would have expected a sturdier product.

LizzieK8 said...

Above and beyond the $$ issue is the sense of accomplishment of being able to fix something. It's like darning socks. I can fix it. I can make it myself. I don't have to depend on manufacturers regardless of their politics.

I am woman...hear me fix!

Marcy said...

I'm curious what Owen's take on it was. Did he agree? Or was he pushing for the new coat?

MollyBeees said...

You need to teach Owen how to rip seams. Just tell him you'll time him and it's a game. That way you get your two hours back! :-)

I've had clothes like that. You work for an hour to get out the heavy-duty-super stitched down, shoulder pads out only to have all the buttons fall off or the fabric some loose somewhere other than the seams. Go figure!

spinndiva said...

I don't buy new either. I repair as much as I can or go buy in our local thrift store!
WAY TO GO fixing the old coat!
(beside... I always have fond memories looking at the stuff... I remember him/her wearing this when.... )

Kathy Kathy Kathy said...

Zipadee doo daa

Leslie said...

Good for you for making the repair and getting more wear out of a perfectly good coat!