ANOTHER COMPARISON of Old Embroidery versus New

Yes, I am an embroidery snob. But… I believe that things must be produced with inherent quality and thoughtfulness.

The following photo shows a modern Turkish style pile loop cotton towel that has been embroidered with lovebirds. This towel is a major brand, called Yves Delorme and it cost over $40 in 2008. I loved the colors and loved the design but the quality of the embroidery is deplorable. I even turned it over to look at the back, thinking that the front side was the “wrong” side and that the back would be the better side. Nope.

There is no comparison between the clunky, crude stitches of this modern machine-sewn towel and the infinitesimally tiny stitches that were embroidered by hand a hundred years earlier on the white linen towel at the left. However, I do like that I can fold the towels easily in half and the embroidery appears on the front. (no triple-folding)

Thoughtfulness should extend to the overall piece.

The pillow shams that match this Yves Delorme towel are of cotton printed with a delightful design of cockatoos, parrots and peonies that are spaced far apart against a leaf frond lattice background. They are attractive and well made but the makers did not make the one last effort that would have made them acceptable, or even extraordinary: I expected a cockatoo or a parrot to be centered on each sham. Moreover, since one side is white fabric and side number two is aqua, I expected a major design element to be present in the center on each side! But, they are made from any pieces of fabric and one has half a bird but most sides just have the lattice background. They do not include the motifs that I would consider most desirable and most expected. Instead, they feature the plain background with no centered birds. Yes, it’s cheaper that way to use leftover fabric scraps and turn them into shams. I think it’s also shoddy and lazy. They just don’t expect anyone to notice.


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2 Responses to “ANOTHER COMPARISON of Old Embroidery versus New”

  1. Jet Says:

    I definitely agree with you as regards the lack of quality in modern textiles. The notion that mass-production with a vague “look” of quality, really withers when one gets it home and begins to inspect it…I have often been duped by something in the store, then get it home and begin to live with it, and end up dissatisfied with the lack of quality. But, the more I live with antique items, the better I’m able to scrutinise modern wares during my now rare trips to stores.

    My agreement with you on this, in fact extends towards much more than just textiles or clothing…furniture, and even flatware, electric fans, telephones and countless other sundry (even rubbish bins!) were Built To Last. I can’t even begin to tell you how many modern things I have thrown out and replaced with (better-quality!) antique items. My vacuum cleaner is a 1949 Electrolux which beats the pants off the silly modern vacuum which I’d been using before it! It’s simply a superior design.

    “Cheaper is better” is not only absurd and false, but it’s something which has unwittingly removed all of the benchmarks of quality out of modern living. I hope it’s a fad! “Built To Last” may not be good for the economy, but it’s good for the soul–and I think that’s what matters!

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