Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Ethical Question

Let's say...

You are a person who sews a lot (for most folks reading this, that's not much of a stretch).

You've made clothes before with, um, poor print placement, so perhaps you are a little more aware of such things than the average bear.

Now, let's say you happen to be somewhere with a friend. The friend is wearing a very cute top with a swirly print...but one of the printed swirls is, you notice with your hyper-awareness of such things, um, rather poorly placed.

And let's throw into the mix that said friend is not having a particularly good day. you say anything? Or just be embarrassed for her?

What would YOU do if it were YOU? ;)


  1. That is a good one. If it is something that would be embarassing for her and I thought others would notice I would say something. Maybe in a light-hearted way but nevertheless still bring it up so she would know.

  2. I don't comment on other people's clothes unless they specifically ask, or they look extra special that day. I don't think you need to be embarrassed for her either. Just go for coffee and talk about the things that are making her day so bad.

  3. No, I wouldn't say anything. If she's already having a bad day, this could be the straw that breaks the camel's back. She's probably not even aware that this pattern has poor placement. Either wait for a better day, or just let it go. Obviously, she has bigger issues than a poorly placed print.

  4. This is an easy one. I learned from an etiquette column years ago that you do not comment about a problem with someone's appearance unless it can be immediately fixed. So, you tell a friend she has spinach in her teeth, but ignore the run in her stocking (I told you this was years ago!). In your example about the bad print placement, say nothing.

  5. If my friend had no important meetings or client visits, this was just a typical workday or outing I might not say anything, since if she is having a bad day, any negative info would probably feel more awful than it really was.

    If my friend did have important contacts to make that day - Oh, no, what a barrel to be over.

    Since you are a sewer, when you see a garment and register something "off", your seamstress eyes go to work to solve the puzzle and identify the problem. Others might just glance at her shirt, feel something is off in the back of their minds, and then move on to whatever is occupying their thoughts in that moment.

    I don't know if I have helped or not. I hope the situation resolves itself satisfactorily with no hurt feelings.

  6. Lisa, you're so funny. I love the way you write. I'd keep my lips zipped up tight. Everyone of us girls looks at ourselves in a mirror after getting dressed, if she noticed the bad placement or not she felt good enough to leave the house in it. That's how I see it. Poor friend. She's lucky to have you as a friend though.

  7. I'd keep mum about the print. Unlike spinach in the teeth or an unzipped fly, it's not anything that can be fixed then and there, so it would just be another feature to an already bad day. If it were me, the only time I'd appreciate the comment is if I were trying to decide whether to keep the item or not. Then out it would go!

  8. I wouldn't say anything unless she herself sewed.

    Most people will never notice it, and those that will won't say anything because she doesn't sew. Make sense there?

    RTW is crappy anyway. And I'll be honest, I AM busty so print placement or not, I wouldn't be embarrassed just because they are ALWAYS OUT THERE. Therefore, even if I noticed it, I wouldn't be bothered, and not enough to ruin a blouse for her anyway.

  9. all are so on it! No, I didn't say anything, but I had to fight it all day, and I even knew the 'spinach in the teeth' rule of etiquette, too.

    I honestly think folks who sew are much more inclined to notice things like that; it's worth remembering next time I have something on a garment I've made that screams 'wrong!!' at me that probably no one else will even notice it...

    Thanks for all the replies! They were fun to read!

  10. I wouldn't say anything either. I agree that most people don't notice things like that - or for that matter unmatched stripes, plaids, crooked seams, etc. I think we notice details because our eyes are trained due to our sewing.

  11. Y'know, if it had been wildly mismatched plaids, I probably would've shuddered inside in very much the same way...but I wouldn't have even considered whether or not I should say something. I would've assumed she didn't care about mismatched plaids. Knowing my friend, I couldn't make that same assumption in this case. It would straight up ruin the top for her. But this point it's not about telling her about something she can't fix; should I warn her before she wears it again?

  12. I would not say anything at all unless specifically asked. If she's happy wearing it what does it matter. And especially on a tough day a friend needs your support and not criticism.