Pop Quiz #468

Eric H and I went shopping at Dillard’s yesterday. He needed slacks for work. We bought two pairs from Dillard’s private label (Roundtree and Yorke) which had exactly the same style number but in two different colorways. One was navy, the other was black. Below is a photo comparing the lengths of the two. Although a tad blurry, the black is longer.

Answer the question below if you please. You may also use comments to elaborate if you like.

Is anybody working, today being a holiday in the US? Eric has the day off and much to do. He chased me out early. And you thought I only annoyed you…

Get New Posts by Email


  1. Alisa Benay says:

    Annoyed, I’m guessing. Or at least I would be. Does it have to do with them being cut in huge stacks? I worked by way through college stitching in a boat factory. Our cutter was a kicked out of the navy for stealing drugs, mohawk wearing, extremely pierced, chain smoking, opera singing drunk who was fond of napping on the fabric. He never cut a whole stack even top to bottom.

    I have had a rich life, let me tell you.

  2. Christy B. says:

    When I did alterations, the lady I worked for told me to never cut the same amount off each leg of one pair because they were often different. I always measured the inseam after that, and sure enough, some times they were different. If it’s just off length between the colorways I guess that’s pretty good by some standards! (I voted annoyed.)

  3. J C Sprowls says:

    I think there are several things to rule out.

    I would expect the black to have different distortion grading applied, so the length difference doesn’t surprise me, much. I’m of the opinion that the style number listed on the package’s label does not need to match the style number of the pattern. This would expose pattern room management to the Buyer, Consumer and Competitors as well as make the line sheets more difficult to read. I’m sure a reasonable argument could be presented for simplicity, though.

    I suspect this analysis would end, here. But, if not, I’d continue:

    Secondly, depending how the factory is set up, the cutter may not yet be at fault. I have typically seen trousers all cut one length (e.g. 37″ inseam) and then trimmed using a guillotine just before finishing the cuff/hem. If a problem does not lie with packaging, I’d rule out an error at this stage before investigating the cutters.

    Thirdly, I would rule out, like Alisa says, cutting. If the stack is deep, the angle of the upright knife becomes more pronounced, especially under strain (i.e. cutting too fast, forcing the knife, etc.). In some cases, the top ply might be an entire 1/4″ smaller than ply closest the table. The cutter needs to know if the knife has an angle and then needs to use that angle consistently. If the entire stack cannot be cut | |, then it should be cut / / instead of / \.

  4. sfriedberg says:

    Being short and stout, I have to hem every pair of pants I buy. So neither annoyed nor giddy, just resigned. Although if I felt any ownership for Dillard’s QA, I would be annoyed.

  5. Big Irv says:

    Just how shorter is the navy pair ? I guess Dillards give varying degrees of tolerance when they miss on such a key measurement.

    If more than say .5 ” , I’ll bet they chargebacked their contractor.

  6. Vesta says:

    I voted giddy, because I would be annoyed, and Kathleen rarely reacts to things as I would. :-P

    Seriously, though, if you’ve already washed them and determined that the black shrank more, then you’d be giddy, I’d say. I would be, as the manufacturer, for figuring differential shrinkage into my products. Oh, and I agree with JC. I shield my customers the machinations of patterns to a great extent, for simplicity.

  7. Todd Hudson says:

    You would be giddy to find the black a different length. You’ve said this before that different colorways, especially black, shrink differently. Therefore each colorway would be graded for shrinkage differently. After washing, both colors should shrink to the same size.

    This difference in length tells me that the manufacturer did testing on each colorway (or at least black versus other colors) before making the markers.

    If this was a pre-washed garment, such as jeans, and the colors turned out to be different lengths off the rack, I might say that the manufacturer did not test for different shrinkages before making the marker.

  8. Eric H says:

    Ok, here’s a hint: there was jig dancing and other merriment (not by me) when I came out and pronounced the black a little roomier than the navy.

  9. Dana says:

    I’m with Diane. Very common for large private label people to use multiple factories. One large mail order company I used to work for had as many as 3-5 factories per style. Usually one domestic, the others overseas.

  10. Colleen says:

    Ok, giddy with glee?! Thanks, Eric, for the hint. If there is 1/2″ tolerance at the inseam, the navy could be -1/2″ while the black is +1/2″ making for an 1″ difference in inseams. Both pants, though, meet spec within tolerance. So, why are you giddy with glee?

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.