Monday, March 24, 2014

Handmade vs Homemade

Handmade and Homemade always meant the
same thing to me...until I started sewing.
Most of the time, each person is their own worst critic when it comes to making things, and I am no different. What some people see as wonderful, I see all the flaws and what I should have done better.
I was looking through my albums of pictures of things I have sewn in the last couple of years, and two words came to mind: Handmade, and Homemade.
When I saw something I was very proud of, my first thought was "that was handmade with love". It took time and effort and lots of care to make it looks its best.
 When I found something that I wasn't particularly proud of, I always thought "that looks homemade", kind of like a bad craft project.
I started making myself a list of the qualities in both projects that I felt gave them their titles of Handmade and Homemade and wanted to share them with you.

*these are all related to sewing, as that is what I spend most of my craft time doing*

How to make your sewing projects

-Take care matching patterns
If you are using a patterned fabric, try to make the pattern repeat, stripes, dots, plaids meet nicely at the seams. This isn't always possible, but it looks great when your pattern is even all the way around!

-Use special feet

I was always scared to try new sewing feet for my machine, but once I learned to use them they made a huge difference! Give your zipper foot a try, use a walking foot for thick fabrics to avoid shifting and puckering. They really can make your sewing easier, and make your finished product look great.
-Press as you go
As you are sewing, especially with garments and quilts, take the time to press your seams as you go. Not only will it help lining up seams and sewing go quicker, your finished product will look more crisp.
-Press when you're done
This seams like a no-brainer to me now, but for a long time I didn't do it! When you're finished sewing, whether it's a clothing item, pillow cover, or curtains, press your seams. They will lay nice and flat and look more professional
-Topstitch where you can
This is another trick to getting a really professional look. Once you are "finished" with a garment, see if there are places where you can topstitch. Not only does it add some final detail, but it will lock those seams in place and keep them neater through washes and wear.
-Add little details
Use fun buttons instead of "functional" ones. Sew a decorative stitch on the edge of a hem. Add a little monogram to a cuff or pocket. It's the little additions to garments that make them so personal and truly one of a kind.

I know sometimes we just want to "throw together" a quick project, and that's okay too. A pair of fleece pajama pants just doesn't require the same attention to detail as a boutique-style dress. But just a few little adjustments in your sewing process can really take your finished project from looking "homemade" to being "Handmade" and handcrafted with love.

Give these tips a try and see how your next project turns out!


  1. I think that pressing is the single thing that most changes how a sewn project looks when completed. I also am a huge fan of "finishing" - whether it is edge of a facing or the seam edges, everything looks better finished edges. I learned to sew watching my mother and that woman is a perfectionist! I can't tell you how many times she made me rip out stitches if they were not done correctly. I can safely say that nothing she ever made for me or one of my siblings looked "homemade". Great tips for newbies!!

  2. This is something I always struggle with when doing my sewing projects. I don't have a lot of patience, but my sewing projects are helping me to learn. How do you finish your raw edges?

    1. I don't own a serger (yet), so if I can't do a rolled hem, I always use a wide zig zag stitch to keep frayed edges in check. It usually works well for me.

  3. Totally agree with pressing as you go and when you are finished. It's a must! :)

  4. Great post! I'm an impatient gal, and the things I throw together I mostly never wear and am not proud of. Slowing down and doing things right certainly is the way to go!

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  6. These are great tips and so true. I love to sew and definitely get more compliments on things I take a few extra minutes to top stitch or add a little detail to than something I don't.


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