Review of Dobbin Clothing

I’ve been thinking about sustainable and ethically produced clothing recently, and my clothing consumption habits. I buy a lot of thrifted and second-hand items but I’m not so sure that that doesn’t just make it easier for others to buy disposable clothing knowing there’s an outlet for getting rid of it. I’ve been inspired by the example of several wardrobe and sewing bloggers who are doing “second-hand and handmade first” pledges this year. (Side note: is there more ‘made in Canada’ than ‘made in USA’ clothing these days? It seems like it.)

So when Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen posted about Dobbin Clothing, a new line of women’s clothing that is designed and made in the US, I was intrigued. I really liked the look of a lot of the items, and since their winter line was on clearance and there was an additional discount for new customers plus free shipping and returns, I made an order.

The items came the other day and I thought maybe folks would be interested in a review. I’ll say that all the communications were nice, the shipping was about a week cross-country (totally reasonable) and everything was wrapped nicely and included a hand-written note. The quality of the pieces was really good and the fabric was all fabulous.

The first top I ordered was the Griffith stretch pique top. I was afraid the fabric would look too 70s tennis player, but it was actually quite nice. The shape was good, but there was a manufacturing flaw – the front shoulder dart detail was quite uneven between sides – the dart on one shoulder was noticeably longer than the other shoulder.

The second top was the Harper stretch silk blouse, which was lovely. The fabric was a stretch silk with a crepe texture on the outside and charmeuse on the inside. The cut was good, the raglan sleeves with gathering were really nice as was the neckline. Unfortunately, the color was a true salmon orange and made me look horrible (I was hoping for a pinker hue) so it’s going back. I would also note that the lowest point of the neckline was pretty low – I could just barely wear it without showing my bra, and I’m taller than average, so most ladies would probably need to layer with a camisole.

I also ordered the Juliet ponte dress in black, which was just amazingly nice. The notch-neck neckline was faced, the fabric was thick enough so that no underwear lines showed through, and all the details were well-done. The only problem was where the waistline hit me – above my waist at the bottom of my ribcage, which is what happens to me a lot because I have a long torso. I vacillated for a long time about keeping it, but I just couldn’t justify spending most of a hundred bucks on a dress that didn’t fit perfectly.

Size-wise I would say that the fit is generous. I ordered an XL or 16 in everything and it fit well, and I am currently a 16/18 in mall stores.

It may seem weird that I’m recommending Dobbin even though I had to return every item I ordered, but I would totally try them again for tops, or if they ever have tall/long torso sizes in dresses. (BTW, all their current pants are cropped – what is that about for winter?) The cuts were flattering, the fabric was great, and the service was stellar. When I contacted them about the return and the issue of the darts on the white top, they were quick to respond and very friendly and helpful. If paying a bit more gets me this quality, I could get used to it. Anyway, I recommend them if you’re looking for a high-quality product that you can be pleased to wear. (I am not affiliated with them in any way and my thoughts are my own.)

Yay, more sewing

I finished the first piece in my SWAP today, an aqua knit tank (KS 2759) to go under the Built by Wendy top. Also did a quick shrug out of sweater-knit fabric.

I had hoped to get my NL 6634 robe done tonight, but I knew it was time to stop when I beautifully eased in a sleeve at the armhole…and sewed it on inside out. Sigh. But all is done except the sleeves and hem.

The new newsletter from Christine Jonson has a handy worksheet for calculating stretch on a knit, ease wanted in a pattern, and how the two work together. The kind of transparency you see here, where she gives all the measurements and ease for all of her patterns, is really great and unheard of in a big pattern company.

Weekend wrap-up

I reviewed the Decades of Style bias-cut apron and Butterick 3418 victorian skirt patterns; both reviews are on PatternReview.

I went to Artistry in Fashion for the first time this weekend. The student fashion show was interesting to watch, although I saw a lot of fitting issues in several of the garments. I was a bit disappointed in the sale; I got some polymer clay and some regular buttons, as well as a pair of earrings, but the clothes didn’t impress me. There were some gorgeous handwovens, but a) I don’t wear handwovens very often (aren’t they too warm for this climate?) and b) I would have had to take out a loan to afford them. The primary influence on the sewn garments seemed to be raw seams and deconstruction. In some pieces it looked edgy, and in some pieces it just looked like they were taking the easy way out in finishing. I liked Erin Mahoney‘s stuff the best, and she seemed to have a few pieces in larger sizes as well.

If that ain’t love I don’t know what is*

I posted a review of Fabric in the City, Portland OR, on PR. I also visited Josephine’s Dry Goods and Fabric Depot on my visit. Fabric Depot is out in a suburban area of Portland (but a couple blocks from the MAX) and in an old Kmart-ish building. It’s *huge* and the prices are quite good. I got a couple cottons. I got some nice printed cordoroy from Josephine’s and some quilting cotton from Fabric in the City. I didn’t get to Mill End, Rose City Textiles, or Ruth’s Rags, the other fabric stores in the Portland area that are highly recommended online, since none of them was easily reachable via public transit. Ruth’s Rags was only a half mile from the MAX line, which is a totally doable walk for me, but I was so busy I couldn’t get a few hours free during the day to actually make the trip.

*Loretta Lynn, “Portland Oregon”