How to Tell if your Clothes are Cheaply Made
You get what you pay for. We’ve heard this saying over and over, and yet nowhere is it more true than in the world of fashion. It’s easy to walk into a discount outlet and be seduced by their low prices. Instead of buying one dress, you can come home with two or three. But what happens after a few washes? The garment loses it’s shape, the colors fade, and worst of all, the seams start tearing. How, then, is a consumer supposed to know if her clothes are cheaply made? Hint: Judging by price alone often isn’t enough, because sometimes, even those garments are cheaply made.
One of the most important qualities to look for in a garment is the stitching. When sewing a knit (stretchy) fabric, it’s very important to allow the fabric to stretch. Because of this, only very specific types of stitches can be used: Zig-Zag, Three Thread, Four Thread Overlock Stitches, and the Cover Stitch.
Zig-Zag is not commonly used in manufacturing because they take too long to sew and it’s very difficult to make a straight and even seam with them. This stitch is commonly seen in home-sewn garments... the kind that use a single needle machine.
Three Thread Stitching is the most common. It’s the fastest and easiest stitch and uses the least amount of thread. The problem is, two of the threads are dedicated to sealing the edges of the fabric, and only one thread is used to bind the two different pieces of fabric together. The end result is: it’s very common for this one piece of thread holding the seams together to break. And when it does, a hole inevitably follows.
Four Thread Stitching is used to hold seams together in high stress areas. There is an extra thread running down the length of the seam. This makes the seams more durable, preventing holes from developing.
Cover Stitch (uses 5 threads) is used when it's intended for the stitching to be seen on the outside of the garment. The fabric is placed flat, side by side, and then sewn on the top. It's also used on binding and hems. This stitch is strong as well as decorative.
TwirlyGirl uses the Four Thread Overlock stitch on all of our seams. And when the design calls for it, we supplement with the Cover Stitch. Does this add to the cost of our garments? Absolutely. It requires more thread, more labor, and special sewing machines. And it’s worth it! Instead of one thread binding two pieces of fabric, there are now two or even three. The extra thread makes all the difference. It ensures that all of our seams are strong and durable.
We know that girls play hard in their clothing. Simply putting them on and taking them off is taxing on any fabric. But because of these sewing techniques, our garments hold up to multiple washings, long days of wear, and endless twirling.
The next time you go shopping, count the stitches. Because you’re not saving money if your garment falls apart after only a few wears. You're wasting it. With TwirlyGirl, the Four Thread Overlock and Cover Stitches are just some of the ways that we ensure you get what you pay for. Quality.
In 2011, after 5 years of running a relatively small business, TwirlyGirl decided change gears. We knew we had a great product that customers raved about, but we needed to focus our message. Populating our website with simple product shots was not enough. We needed to add more to the story. To do this, we sent out an email survey to 1243 customers who had purchased TwirlyGirl clothing from our website.
The study was designed to discover:
1. Why certain clothes for girls ages 2-12 are purchased
2. Why girls buy certain pieces of clothing and then never wear them
3. Compare our clothing brand to "brands worn most often"
Here's what we learned:
In order of importance, the most important factors in purchasing a piece of clothing were: comfort, how often she will wear it, looks like it's fun to wear, price, and style (cool factor.)
To validate, we asked our customers the reason why they won't wear certain items again. Respondents were asked to check all that apply.
1. Itchy and uncomfortable (33%)
2. Gift did not suit her personality (13.1%)
3. Didn't fit well, even though it was the right size (12.6%)
4. Boring (12.4%)
5. Didn't pick it out themselves (11.2%)
6. It doesn't do anything special (5.6%)
Then we asked what percentage of the clothing in her closet will she not wear again.
The average was 18%.
We also asked, "What brand does your girl wear the most?" Here are the top 5:
The conclusions from our study validated our core philosophy.
1. We came in second amongst brands worn, after The Gap. We realize these are out customers, but -- it does say something about our clothes. They are not simply special occasion clothes. Girls can, and do, wear them every day. Hence our slogan, "Girls love to live in them."
2. 18% of all clothes are never worn. Yes, TwirlyGirl can cost more than other brands. But a customer is not saving money if that garment isn't worn. The old adage, "You get what you pay for" seems to be true.
TwirlyGirl eliminates many of the reasons why girls don't wear a percentage of their clothing. To elaborate, our clothes aren't itchy and uncomfortable, because we make sure all the seams are hidden. In response to "specialness," many of our dresses twirl and are reversible. This is a huge selling point for young girls. It makes them fun to wear, and they get two dresses in one. Girls can give an impromptu fashion show, just by running into the bathroom and turning their outfit inside out. Our Original Reversible Twirly Dress is our top seller because it has all those features.
To build our brand out, we focused on creativity and fun. Our dresses already fulfilled that criteria, but it needed to be reflected in our marketing. To do so, we tore our old website down, and built a new one its place. Instead of using bland and dry copy to describe our product line, we replaced them with professionally written stories and poems that were as fun and whimsical as our clothing. This has been so successful, that customers often browse our catalogue just to read the copy!
Approximately a year later, we spun off those stories into TwirlyGirl Theatre, a podcast of original short stories for children. Listeners can download them for free at iTunes:
Or directly from our site:
Plans are currently underway to convert some of those stories into an eBook that customers can download for free. Like TwirlyGirl Theatre, we will encourage our customers to share with their friends.
The end result is that our website is a place where adults and children both like to linger. It's less of a marketplace, and more a world of fantasy and imagination.
Next week, I'll post more concrete examples of how we built out our brand. Thanks for reading!
We realized long ago that TwirlyGirl was more than just a line of girls clothing, but we couldn't put our finger on how. Yes, our dresses were cute and comfortable and very well made. But it felt like we were still lacking a unified theme... a brand. So we asked some of our customers to fill out a survey about us. One of the questions was to describe, in one word, what our dresses do to the girls who wear them. The results we received delighted us. Customers remarked that our dresses made their girls faces light up with joy. They spun and twirled, imaging they were in another world. They immediately felt like they were someone else, somewhere else. A princess. A butterfly. A magic fairy. That's when it hit us. If there was one word to summarize our brand, it was "transformative." It took the girls who wore them to far off land of imagination.
From there, we refined our image. Rather than using boring text to describe our clothing, we asked a professional Hollywood screenwriter to do us a favor. We gave him our newest design, the Treasure Pocket Jacket, and told him to have at it. A week later, he came back with this lovely poem:
Eleven small pockets
for all sorts of treasure.
Coins or feathers,
Whatever your pleasure.
It's your secret reserve,
That's stuffed to the seams,
One just for candy,
Another for dreams.
Things small or things smaller,
You gather each day,
A fuzz ball! An acorn!
Don't throw it away!
So if it is loved,
Or if it is lonely,
Give it a pocket,
It isn't your only.
From A to Z
No matter the order,
There's room for everything,
Except, of course, water.
We were so moved by this delightful poem. It was exactly what we wanted our brand to be. So we implored him to write the rest of the magical content on our website. I think you'll agree, this was a wondeful decision. Now, instead of just selling dresses for girls, we're giving away tickets to a magical word of wonder and creativity. And that's how the World of TwirlyGirl came to be!
Last year, we travelled back east for the holidays. The grandparents insisted, and we were long overdue. Flying with two small children is never a cup of tea. There's the long lines at the airport, the claustrophobia of being stuck on a plane for 5 hours, the fatigue of being on the road, and of course, the crankiness of jet lag. We're not exactly rookies, mind you. We know what to expect. We stuff our carry-on with lots of snacks, water, crayons and games. Yes, it's heavy and inconvenient. But I'd do anything to buy five less minutes of complaining. My daughter's knapsack was completely stuffed with comfort items. But fortunately, or wisely, I made room for one more item. It was a pair of girls capri leggings.
It didn't take much either. I rolled them up real tight, and just shoved it into a small crevice. They pack small and weigh next to nothing. My child was none the wiser. But halfway through the flight, when she spilled juice all over her pants, boy was she glad we had them. I took her to the lavatory where she changed out of her wet pants, and right into the capri leggings... which were as comfortable as a pair of soft, comfy pajamas. Not only was she grateful to be dry, but she was even more comfortable than being in a pair of thick jeans. The flight was saved!
We spent a week in New York. The first few days were absolutely freezing. Rather than going out and buying long underwear for her, she just wore the capri leggings underneath her pants. And when it warmed up a bit, she wore the leggings underneath her skirt. I'm not joking. It was the most versatile piece of clothing we took on the entire trip. Any accomplished traveller will tell you it's all about packing clothes that can be worn in layers.
At TwirlyGirl we're very pleased to offer a wide selection of capri leggings. Not just because they look good. And not just because they feel good. But because we're parents, and they make our lives easier! Happy holidays.
Bowl full of sunshine…
According to the Huffington Post, a survey from NPD Group found that 31 million Americans of the U.S. Population do not eat breakfast. Ever since we were little tikes, the importance of eating a healthy breakfast to start our day was highly stressed. It’s simple, food fuels our body... but what fuels our mind and our thoughts? Or better question... What fuels you and how you think?
I believe that along with breakfast there is another key element to fueling our day/lives, and that’s how we perceive things. Honestly, eating breakfast every morning doesn’t always happen for me, but being optimistic and positive thinking have been the fuel in keeping my day on track. This mindset is something I've really strived to implement in all things over the last year, and I can truly see a difference.
With media talk of natural disasters, recession, school shootings, and too many tragedies to list, it’s easy to hone in on the negativity surrounding us. These things can be so overwhelming that it's easy to forget staying in the positive mindset. Don't fall victim! It’s important to not let the pessimist get the best of you. Yes, bad things do happen, BUT good and great things happen every day.
Stones of all shapes and sizes get thrown in our lives. Sometimes you have to learn to laugh it off, see how you can grow from it, and decide to not let it destroy your day.
Here's some food for thought...
Try to find the light in dreary places and determine what makes you happy and inspires you. Do you find happiness serving and helping others, is it viewing the beauty in nature, or is it in creating/ fixing things?
Whether you fall into the category of skipping out on breakfast or not, try to start your day off right. Make the decision to be positive and not let the negative things get you down. An easy way to think of it is like having a bowl of sunshine for breakfast.
Look for the beauty in all things, learn to let things go, and make the decision to be happy. By taking in your daily fuel of optimism, I believe you can impact your life with great change. As the famous quote states, “Life is what you make it,” so make it happy!
Dear TwirlyGirl Friends,
From time to time, small businesses pop up that infringe on the TwirlyGirl® registered trademark for Girls
and Women's Clothing and Accessories. The latest instances are small businesses using "Twirly Girly."
Choosing a name similar to TwirlyGirl is against the law because it creates "confusion in the marketplace."
Imagine a new business calling themselves Coca-Cola-ly, but saying they sell an energy drink instead of soda.
It's just too similar, and Coca-Cola would never stand for it. While we are not as big as Coca-Cola, we do share
the same rights they do.
When violations like this come to our attention, when possible, we contact the business with a cordial letter.
99% of the time they have no idea they are in violation. We never get nasty and we handle it respectfully and
professionally. Recently, we notified Etsy and Facebook about these particular trademark infringements.
Etsy and Facebook both have safeguards in place to verify that we are justified in making this claim. Facebook
and Etsy do not take trademark infringement lightly and they have told these new businesses to change the
It's not our intent to keep keep anyone from selling children's clothing or accessories. We just don't want anyone
selling under a version of our legally protected name.
Sounds reasonable, right?
Well, apparently not. One of these businesses is asking their "friends" to spam us with negative statements on
our Facebook page. We've already removed three postings. Their actions and their "friends" actions, are tantamount
to slander, and they are doing this simply because they didn't do due diligence in choosing a business name.
The owners have no one to blame or be angry at but themselves. A simple as search on the United States Patent
and Trademark Office website would have revealed that "Twirly Girl" or "Twirly Girly" should not have been used in
the first place. It's public knowledge.
If you see a comment about us anywhere that is slanderous, and we haven't yet removed it, please understand
why this is happening. Our lawyers have been notified, and the aforementioned businesses will be warned about
the ramifications of slander. We hate having to go to these lengths, but sometimes, when pushed into a corner -
you have to defend yourself by using your wits, and not by getting mean. A good lesson for our kids for sure.
TwirlyGirls can be fierce when it's called for.
Thank you all for taking the time to read this, and for your continued support! We believe strongly in standing
up for who you are, and speaking your truth.
...And now back to your previously scheduled twirling!
Teaching My Daughters About Friendship - And Myself
It's really clear to me, now that my girls are 10 and almost 12, that having girlsfriends has ALWAYS
been a little complicated. I used to think that because I was an "only" child, that I had a different
way of making friends. I didn't have a sibling, so, naturally I would be more eager to please and
wanting approval from my friends. They were all I had and I cherished them, I would do anything
for them. I'm still like this to a certain extent, sometimes to a fault.
It was a little shocking to see my younger daughter feel the same way, and she clearly is not an
"only" kid. My older daughter wants her friends approval too but also is very sensitive to being
petite and thinks her friends won't want to hang out if she's smaller than they are. Where does
she get this stuff from???
Sadly, she probably gets it from a combination of me and just the way we girls are wired. I have to say,
I'm not a competitive person but I'm constantly wondering what others think of me and unfortunately,
I care a little too much. So much so that if I think someone is upset with me, it can totally
ruin my day. I'm much older than 12 and while I'm able to function and not break down into
a full on trantrum - inside, it bugs me.
So how am I supposed to teach my girls to be strong, stand up for themselves, be true to
what they believe and think if I'm blowing in the wind over someone else's opinion of me?
I think by knowing the pitfalls of friendships I can impart my experience. That's it, just my
experience. From hearing that I went through it, go through it and survive it - while also
learning from it - I can only hope it will make her feel better and less prone to whims of
other people's behaviors.
So here is the incident that got me hung up - still hung up actually - and it's packed with
lessons from both perspectives.
First, let me say that I took a big risk in this friendship by telling this girlfriend that I
thought she was creating a problem where there wasn't one, insulting me in the process
and that this conversation was wasting my time - and I got up and walked away. HUGE for me!
Yay - I didn't stay in a situation that was totally uncomfortable and inappropriate.
I think years ago, I would have tried to fix the situation for her and sacrificed
my whole day doing just that. But that day? NO - I wasn't going to miss something
very important to me and my girls. She didn't want to stop talking about it and wouldn't
listen to reason. Conflict begins.
Of course, it took about 20 seconds for me to feel bad about being so abrupt - so
I texted her right in the middle of the class to tell her that I was sorry for my curt behavior.
She never responded.
Later that night, still felt bad, and emailed her about what was going on for me. Totally
from the heart - not mean, but just honest and forthright.
She never responded.
WOW. Here's the thing about friendships. Everyone has their idea on what a true
friend acts like. To me, a true friend is someone I can be myself with, someone I can
fight with, someone I can express my feelings to honestly (whether it's about them or
someone else). I'm not sure what this other person's idea of what a true friend
should act like, but clearly - it wasn't me. And definitely her not responding after the
2 times I reached out to her, proved she wasn't my idea of a true friend either.
Done and easy, right? Ha, that's a laugh.
When these things happen, I have to look at myself. What makes me want to double
back and doubt who I am and what I need to do? What makes me want to trash myself,
because someone else isn't digging me? Why do I feel the need to control what a friendship
should look like, when all I can really control is the kind of friend I WANT TO BE.
I have a lot to teach my daughters, but I have a feeling we will be learning all this together
with every situation that comes up. Some lessons I learn once and get it. Others are
more complicated and complex, revealing layers I never knew I had to deal with. I think
friendships contain these kinds of lessons and in turn make us better people.
As long as I can know in my heart that I'm willing to communicate and talk things through,
I feel good about that. Yes, I'll make mistakes, I'll offend someone, I'll hurt someone's feelings
unintentionally and maybe even intentionally - but I'll always be willing to hash it out and
get to the other side. If the other person is willing to go on that journey with me, then I
consider them a true friend. If not, so be it - thank you for teaching me something else.
In the end, we are all just trying to find a connection to each other - hit or miss -
it's all valuable.
And...a true friend (no matter how you define them personally) is worth their weight in
gold and more.
Owner of TwirlyGirl
And Mother of 2 Daughters
Living in a Bubble
I was watching Project Runway the other night and one of the contestants was doubting
herself - typical, I know. I wanted to scream at the TV, "YOU'RE THE MOST TALENTED ONE
ON THE SHOW!!!! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELF!"
It's so much easier for others to see the greatness in us than it is to see it in ourselves.
I got frustrated with her, because I do the same thing to myself, over and over again.
My only salvation is living in a bubble - even if it's in my own imagination. When I'm not
comparing myself to anyone else, not caring what others think of me, not trying to please
anyone but myself - I'm actually confident and happy. There is never a thought in my mind
that I can't do something, I believe in myself without question.
The minute I go outside my bubble and start comparing myself to others, my sanctuary is
burst and all the doubt and insecurity creeps in.
I do think it's important to remain humble, always striving to learn more and push one's
personal comfort zones. But there is a fine line between being inspired by others or using
what's out there to beat yourself up.
It's a constant struggle of mine. At least I know I'm not alone. When I think of comparing and
doubting myself, I remember that other people I admire have felt and often feel the same way.
This actually does help take the sting away and focus my energies on where they should be, on
being the BEST I CAN BE. Because, after all, there is only one Cynthia Jamin. I'm not in a race
with anyone, there really is nothing to compare in reality.
We are all unique, perfectly imperfect people and each one of us is going to express our ideas
and creativity in our own individual way. The need to create isn't there for us to be in a competition.
I believe that need is there to express more of the divine, more love, more joy. That's definitely a
way to keep me on track, I have a responsibility to actually show up and deliver what only I can do.
So back to TwirlyGirl and what I truly believe in my soul. Expressing our individuality is empowering
and necessary - I want girls to take that and run with it. The world needs to see and hear what we
all have to say.
Advance confidently and with love.
Owner of TwirlyGirl
Fashion School - A Glamorous Place of Misconception
Fashion school: a place of glamour, high fashion and easy work… that is if you’re a stationary
dress form adorned with a beautiful design.
I’ve always been amazed with the response I get after I tell people I went to FIDM (the Fashion
Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles) for Fashion Design. People automatically
assume all you ever do is sketch and go shopping. Shopping… news to me! That sounds like fun!
Fashion school is fun, not only because you get to do something that you LOVE, but you learn
the skills and have the tools you need to establish your dream career. It’s a lot of hard work
and dedication but is certainly well worth it.
Students generally attend 5 different classes that are nearly 3 hours long but only attend each
class once a week. Sounds easy, right? Not exactly. I guess you can compare it to Project Runway,
in a sense. Like the show, there is a short time of instruction and a long period of time for a
Unlike Project Runway, not only are Fashion Design students working one project, but multiple
for each class (Pattern Making, Draping, Graphic Design, Sketching, etc…) along with studying for
other general classes such as History, English, and Textiles.
It takes discipline and especially time management to keep on task and give each class the
required attention it needs. True, you do spend most of your time in labs, or working on detailed
projects late at night, but if you manage your time properly you can always make time for yourself.
And whether or not you are attending school,everyone needs time for themselves otherwise we
would go crazy!
One thing that fascinates me about any art or fashion school is the type of people you meet there.
There are so many people with different backgrounds and styles. It’s like getting to see the rainbow
come to life in people form.
I think the one fact about the students that is shocking to most people is that the Fashion Design
students aren’t the most fashionable students there. Crazy, huh! The Merchandise Marketing students
are actually the MOST fashionable. It seems a bit ironic at first, but think about it... Fashion Designers
focus on putting their creativity and energy into their designs and what they are creating.
Merchandise Marketing students typically are the most fashionable because that’s their niche. They
are merchandising and selling not only products, but selling themselves with their dress and appeal.
See, now it makes sense.
So next time you think of fashion school, think of not only the high fashion, glitz and glamour, but
think of what makes it that way. It’s really the creativity, passion, dedication, and hard work put in
by students that way pave new paths in the fashion industry.
The only ones living the life of glamour in fashion schools are the dress forms that fill the classrooms.
They’re the ones just waiting for their next fashion debut.
Assistant Designer, Style Coordinator & Head of Office Operations
(Yep, she does it all with a smile and tons of talent!)
TwirlyGirl's fashion designers Cynthia Jamin and Heather Marquardt, discuss fashion tips.
At TwirlyGirl, we firmly believe in buying what you LOVE. If you don't love it, you aren't
going to wear it, that's why we try to make everything unique. Every girl has their own
personality and they don't want to look like everyone else (and this remains true, even
as we get older!).
Obviously, most young girls don't have credit cards (which is a good thing). And, often
the person buying the clothing for their girl might have conflicting tastes. We strongly
encourage the person buying to really allow the girls to choose what they love. If she loves
it, she going to wear it all the time and your money will have been well spent. Same goes
for the buyer, if you LOVE it, you will wear it.
So forget about the trends, forget about what other people will think. Wear it with
confidence and be a trendsetter. Confidence comes from within and our clothing can
let our personality shine, which in turns, brings our confidence OUT.
Click on the image to view the video. Shine on!
Welcome to TwirlyGirl!
I wanted to personally share with you the thought that goes into TwirlyGirl with
the video below (click the image). We are more than just another girls clothing line.
Since I never thought I would ever be designing girls clothing in a million years,
my motivation for doing this stems from a deep desire to inspire girls to express
themselves confidently and creatively through their own self-awareness.
When I started sewing 7 years ago, I had no idea I would become an entrepreneur
at all. I had been working as an actress for several years, met my husband on the
set of Just Shoot Me, got married, had 2 daughters and took a sewing class just
for fun. If you had told me that I would be a girls clothing designer and successfully
run my own business, I would have said you were crazy. I never finished college
(although I wanted to go back before I had my daughters), so I had no background
in business or marketing let alone any technical apparel construction skills.
TwirlyGirl is a huge confidence booster on so many levels for me. As well as a crash
course in business, design, and marketing all in one, a college of my own making.
I guess deep down, I was craving an outlet where I didn't have rely on others to express
myself, could be independent, build my self-confidence and continue to learn new
things, which I love to do. I get to do all this and more, which I'm so grateful for.
Enjoy! And thank you for being a part of the journey.
made in the usa from imported and domestic fabrics
© 2014 TwirlyGirl LLC all rights reserved
© 2014 TwirlyGirl LLC all rights reserved