A Rejoinder and Statement of Principles

I don't usually take the time to reply to negative comments that are left on this blog — why encourage people who are spoiling for a fight? I'm not bothered by their criticism, for the most part (and if it's justified I do try to take it to heart, however unpleasant it may be to do so!). But most of the time replying to negative comments falls under the heading "Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and only the pig enjoys it."

However, there have been a few comments on a recent post which I feel I need to respond to, if only for clarification. A commenter, mainly anonymous, but also signing one comment "7/10 split", suggested that I am a "professional what? writer/ advertisers? whose goal is to sell things", and also a "shill."

For the record: I am not a "professional advertiser". I am a writer, but of a very particular kind.

The same commenter (who may be this blogger) also suggested that I don't sew the dresses that I post here. If you would like to see pictures of ME in the dresses I have sewn (and I admit, I don't often post pictures of myself here because, all things considered, I had a better time in labor — and I didn't have an epidural! — than I do having my picture taken) you can see them in five out of the first six pictures here.
(The dresses shown in that link include a Duro, the pink jellybean dress, the blogiversary dress, the stunt Valentine's Dress, and the yellow-bird dress.)

Whether you enjoy my posts or not, I would like to state unequivocally that I do NOT accept money to post about any particular dress, fabric, pattern, pair of shoes, etc. There is NO payola or kickback scheme in effect on this blog.

For book reviews, I am, as is common practice in publishing, often provided with free copies of the book in question, to review or to give away.

The advertisers on the right-hand side are just that: advertisers. They have no influence on content, and I do *not* ask them for free stuff.

I accept pictorial ads ONLY from people who sell patterns, fabric, or vintage clothes, or are otherwise related to sewing. I must approve the ad before it will run. My ad rates are very low; $25/month (with a minimum three-month commitment, because I'm lazy and don't want to be bothered putting up and taking down ads all the time). I also participate in Google's AdSense program, which are the boxed text ads you see on the page, and in the Amazon Associates program, which gives me a commission on books purchased by Amazon customers who clicked on links to books from this blog. (To give you an idea of the revenue from those two sources; my last "payment" from Amazon was a $35 gift certificate which I used … to buy more sewing books. Google pays every two months or so; I think my last check from them was in the $125 range.)

I have set up "Dress a Day Inc" as a LLC company, so that, if I say something libelous and am sued, the company will be the target of any lawsuit (and not my family). This means I file taxes on all the income from this blog — if there is any, after paying hosting fees to my internet service provider.

As for the comments about the sweater in question, I am doing a little research on the subject; the commenter suggested that the sweater probably cost less than $1 to make, and that all the labor involved was sweatshop labor in Asia. I don't think that's right, given that the cost of a pound of even low-grade cotton is about .71 — that's a pound of unspun cotton. From what I can tell, the spinning of one pound of raw cotton fiber produces 840 yards of yarn. That seems to be on the low end of the number of yards you'd need for a sweater — any knitters want to jump in here? — and the sweater I posted about was 14 gauge, which is a fairly fine knit). So, at least .71 in raw materials, plus the spinning cost, plus the fashioning cost, plus the cost of the buttons — I think it would be hard to get the raw goods cost of this garment under $1. Even leaving aside that the garment is made in China (I called and asked) — there's the cost of the coming up with the design, a job almost certainly done by an American at American wages. (J.Crew employs about 7600 people.) The same commenter said that the sweater I linked to could be found in discount stores for under $20; if, in fact, that is the case — why haven't I found it there? It's not like I haven't been looking! Do you factor the salary of the designer into the cost of the sweater? If not, why not? Do you factor in the jobs of the catalog writers (Americans), shop employees (American and for the stores in Japan, Japanese)? The distribution center employees (in Virginia and North Carolina)? The UPS guy who will bring it to me? (Hi Luis!) The short answer, it seems to me, is that a narrow focus on manufacturing jobs is not helpful; if the company can't manufacture goods at a reasonable price, then all those other jobs I mentioned above — they go away, too. Despite conjecture about how much of the price of the sweater is pure profit, large retail chains have VERY small profit margins — one source puts it at 2%. Another source (from 1998!) puts the apparel profit margin at 5.4% … and given the rising costs of commodities since 1998, I can't imagine that margin has gone up.

I apologize for such a long and tedious post, without even any pretty pictures to enliven it; I promise not to make a habit of this kind of thing. However, I do treasure the trust you place in me by visiting this blog, leaving comments, and contributing to a little oasis of dress-loving camaraderie online, and I didn't want to give credence to accusations of shilling, payola, and "blogging under false pretenses" by letting them go by in silence.

(Comments of the kind "all her taste is in her mouth," "this is soooooo ugly lol", and "i cant believe u wear this!" will still be ignored. De gustibus, etc.)

If you ever have any questions about me or this blog, well, my email address is on the right-hand side, towards the bottom. I do try to answer all the email I receive.

214 thoughts on “A Rejoinder and Statement of Principles

  1. I like reading Erin’s blog. It often brightens a dull day! I do believe Erin is a real person, but to be honest, it wouldn’t matter if she weren’t. The blog is fun and friendly, it lets me look at lovely dresses I can make, it lets me ogle things I can never afford, it links me to other cool things.The sweater is cute but not something I would ever wear. At 65 (trying to work out how much that is in ‘real’ money…33?) it is not so expensive. In most middle range high street stores here, I would expect a cardigan of that type to sell for between 40 and 80. You can get cheaper but quality is often compromised, you can get (lots) more expensive.7/10 – you are entitled to your opinion, but please remember that that is what it is – not a statement of fact.Anna – not a troll, just someone who doesn’t have a blog.


  2. Oh My.I’m glad I’m a complete fabrication. That means the argument I had with my husband last night didn’t happen.Yay.Tuppenyrice GC100Conspirator


  3. Dear Erin, I love your blog, it’s so very inspiring: I might start making something myself one of these days 😉


  4. omg you all have the best senses of humor evah! There is some really good stuff in here. I am especially grateful for the introduction of Sewing Conspiracy Drag Names.signed Dixie S. Hoyt(cos the street name is technically South Hoyt)(hmm if I went with the very last pet I lived with I would be Spitoon Kentucky. I think I am glad that was my ex’s cat and not mine.)


  5. Wow, Erin, it looks as if I’m coming in a bit late on this. Anyone’s entitled to an opinion, even if it’s dumb beyond belief. The rest of us can just sit back and love your fantastic blog — it’s full of unexpected pleasures and delights and always makes my day. Thank you from an absolute fan — your site’s the first one I go to when I’m sewing surfing. It’s intelligent, witty, inspiring, imaginative and fun. What more could anyone want?The bitter troll? Well, the bitter troll is just sad. So very sad.


  6. Dear Erin, Your post was not tedious, was not too long, and was absolutely necessary. Once again you socked it to the Harper Valley PTA — twelve lashes, well laid on.Warm regards,Michael


  7. Hey erin, this is the first time I read your blog. girl you are different I like you style of writing.


  8. Oh this is just so stupid. I come here to ESCAPE! Erin, your site represents the JOY, the reason I got into the apparel industry in the first place. If I want to read about the minutia of apparel manufacturing, designer-dramas, outsourcing, costing, sweatshops, economics, poverty, international trade and the loss of manufacturing jobs, I can visit my own blog.


  9. Oh this is just so stupid. I come here to ESCAPE! Erin, your site represents the JOY, the reason I got into the apparel industry in the first place. If I want to read about the minutia of apparel manufacturing, designer-dramas, outsourcing, costing, sweatshops, economics, poverty, international trade and the loss of manufacturing jobs, I can visit my own blog.


  10. hahaha. I skimmed most of the comments until I got to 7/10 split’s. Honestly I don’t understand why someone would spend that much time being negative to someone else when the whole point of having multiple blogs/pages/etc. on the Internet is that you don’t have to read the ones you don’t want to – you can click on another, go to another URL, whatever. Why ruin someone’s day with conspiracy theories about whether or not they’re a real person?That said, it’s so awesome that you have this great blog and someone out there thinks you’re not real. I know that there are company blogs that pose as real people, but those are generally pretty obvious. I wish someone would think I wasn’t real; it’s just so funny.I love your blog! and I love that Jcrew sweater too.


  11. I know I’m late but I’ve been away. 7-10 split said “You will also note, if you really care to, that some of the people that are dressed as women, actually appear to be men in drag” which made me laugh out loud. It sounds like someone I know named Charles, who writes stuff like that just to response farm. (Charles, is that you? Cut that out now.) And Anonymous followed it up with “do we sense sheep flocking?” which is just more response farming. There are people who feed off of others and I call them energy vampires. Erin, I actually met someone this week who has met you so I know you are real, fer shur. Fun stuff! And you other commenters – a vast sewing conspiracy!? I love it! VSC name = Arabella Sydenham (not leaving link to avoid trolls – shiver – I hate trolls)


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