Nina Murden - The Lewes Seamstress

Unalterable trousers: Glued hems

glued trousers

A customer brought me a pair of trousers to do a perfectly normal and many times done, hem shortening.  This entails,of course undoing the invisible machine stitching, however, this pair of trousers from Marks and Spencer were virtually undo-able. Why? Because their supplier (in Vietnam)  had put a line of very strong glue around the very edge of the fabric.  It took me three times as long to carefully pull apart – and even with due care and attention this did cause visible damage to the outer side of the fabric – fortunately this is hidden in the new hem line, it being shorter.

I contacted Marks and they said:



“we test all our products to ensure they’re tough and durable. We don’t suggest that you alter our products as we therefore can’t guarantee them in the future”

I said:

“Well that is ridiculous – if I can be blunt – many people either do not conform to the standard inside leg measurements or as they get older, shrink in height, and need existing trousers altered, also this gentleman was forced to buy the incorrect length as there was no other stock in your store of the correct length…. Anyway it is not about guaranteeing the product, it’s about selling something that can be used in the longer term. It’s not a sustainable policy to have clothes that are not altered. There is no fault with the product , the fault is in the decision to use unnecessary glue.”

I have encountered glue before –  on the seams, a quick cheap fix to make them lie flat, but not all the way around the hem. This is another example of clothes that are not made to be adapted – so another example of throw away culture.

 ‘tough and durable’.

Do we need things to be so tough and durable that they firstly cannot be unpicked and adapted, and secondly with reference to the polyester/plastic post, that they won’t decay once they are thrown away? I did manage to alter these but won’t be able to do so in the future as the possibility of damaging the fabric and the extra time it takes to undo the glue means it’s not worth it!