Handmade or Homemade?

One of the things I’ve come to think about during Me-Made-May is how to make my clothes look less homemade. For me there are plenty of things that go into a garment looking too homemade, or Becky home-ecy as Michael Kors would say during a Project Runway judging. Fit, fabric, style and finishing are just a few. As I this year have begun working more with fit, I also need to work on the other aspects to bring my whole look together and make a wardrobe that works, without looking too homemade.

Reading other posts and tips in the subject it was stated that there’s also a difference in looking homemade and handmade. I don’t mind my clothes looking handmade, but if I’m asked the question “Did you make that?” it should be because it looks superior to RTW, not inferior.

For Me-Made-May I make myself look objectively at my garments, anything I don’t find up to par will go. Must go. I should show no mercy just because I made it. Some examples from my very own wardrobe on looking homemade vs. handmade.

Polka Dot Skirt

Burdastyle Vanessa, sewn 2008
Handmade or homemade:
Reason: Bad fabric and pattern combination. Fabric is too lightweight and doesn’t hold the pleats well. The pleats aren’t properly sewn down neither is the belt. Pleats in back look sloppy and definitely not something you’d find in RTW.
Midnight Sun Skirt and Top

Self-drafted skirt. Sömnadsmagasin XX for top
Handmade or homemade:
Reason: Quality fabric, suitable for the garments (poplin). Well-fitting garments. Don’t look RTW as they aren’t looks you’d find in retail, but don’t look homemade as the fabric works and looks finished.

I have learnt plenty during my 8 years as a hobby sewist, plus my standards have increased. What I was proud of six years ago I wouldn’t be proud of today. We all grow and I intend to learn from everything I make, including the mistakes. I’m still proud of most of my makes, even though some so not represent my skills or taste today. Had I made the Polka Dot Skirt above today it would have awful, but when I made it I made it with my best abilities and knowledge. This was before I started finding the online sewing community and really before it boomed and I didn’t have thousands of resources to research fabrics or techniques.

Today I wish for my clothes to look handmade and well-made. Personal and unique. Something you would want to buy in a store (but probably couldn’t afford due to the fact that it is custom-made) in regards of fabric choice, style and finishing. I don’t want to copy RTW and trends, I want to make clothes for me, stuff that fits me and my style, but pay extra attention to fabric and pattern matching, finishing, style of fabric. My clothes should be better than RTW.

Further reading (don’t forget to read the comments, lots of tips there):
Sewaholic: How Do You Make Your Sewing Projects Look Less Home-Made?
Megan Nielsen: How To Aviod Your Creations Looking Handmade

Is there a difference in looking homemade or handmade? What do you think characterize a wellmade garment?


4 thoughts on “Handmade or Homemade?

  1. I think well made garment is made in suitable weight material, has balanced proportions, good fit and well executed finishes. Such garment can be made at home, by hand or both. I think when garments are referred to as “home made” we imagine a sloppy something made in a strange fabric, unsuitable for the project, but with the quality of factory made clothes dropping, the tables might turn.

    1. I agree with you. With handmade I meant that my hands have created the garment, possibly with the help of my sewing machine. I definitely strive for wellmade garments, but I wanted to distinguish that handmade clothes were made by me. Homemade sounds a bit degoratory and not something I want my clothes referred to.

  2. I like it when my friends ask me if I’ve made something, because they know that I sew. But with other people it’s much nicer if they compliment me on my clothes and I can tell them I made them myself (and usually surprise them).

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