thread: Garment sewing: Looking homemade? Ok or not?

  1. #1

    Oct 2004
    In my Zombie proof fortress.

    Garment sewing: Looking homemade? Ok or not?

    As I really want to sew more of my own clothes, I have been doing a fair bit of googling, looking at patterns, techniques etc.
    One thing I notice comes up is the concept that you don't want your clothing to look "homemade".

    Now I think by homemade, they probably mean shoddy, poorly worked/finished, but I am sure some just want/expect the garment to look like they bought it.

    I am confused by this. Why sew if it is look like you bought it from Target? These days it is often cheaper to buy than to sew.
    Growing up, many mothers/grandmothers sewed and I remember there being a bit of a stigma around "homemade". Gosh, I remember being embarrassed by the fact my mother properly hemmed my school dresses by hand, rather than using an iron on hemming tape like popular girls (stupid I know). I do know now a lot of it was to do with price and often it was the only way many girls could have a nice leavers' dinner dress.

    Now there is a resurgence in homemade and DIY in general, should we be so concerned about having a homemade look with our sewing? Do we need a different term? Is the term "homemade" when it comes to sewing tainted?

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Member

    Sep 2007

    Re: Garment sewing: Looking homemade? Ok or not?

    Interesting thought!

    Hand made is a popular term at markets though, and your item can obtain a premium if it is hand crafted by you.

    But I think that home made is more commonly associated with things that look daggy, when it comes to sewing. I have friends who don't really want to receive hand made (by me) clothes for their kids as presents because they don't look "cool" like their kids would want and, for them, hand made means poorly made (a reflection on my sewing skills!)

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Jan 2006

    Re: Garment sewing: Looking homemade? Ok or not?

    DS has loads of home-made knitted jumpers. Everyone knows they're home-made because they look great, fit him and you can't buy stuff like that locally. We get so many compliments on them! However, they're good quality home-made.

    I wouldn't want to wear something with a dodgy hem, a wonky back or that was poorly made. But I do want to get my sewing machine going again soon and would wear something homemade that didn't look bad. But something that fits better than in the cheap shops and will last longer. I guess cos so many of the sewing patterns now are designer-based, they'd look awful if not done "properly". But certainly home-made clothes, on me, will look better than if I bought them!

    Oh, I do have one home-made ballgown. However, it was made by my mother so is still 1-2 sizes too big! She really can't cope with me not being the same dress size as her. Otherwise, it would look amazing. May have to take the waist in slightly and wear it again.

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Sep 2008

    Re: Garment sewing: Looking homemade? Ok or not?

    Now there is a resurgence in homemade and DIY in general, should we be so concerned about having a homemade look with our sewing? Do we need a different term? Is the term "homemade" when it comes to sewing tainted?
    Should we be concerned about a homemade look - IMO no - the ability to create something even if not quite perfect is something to be proud of. I think moving the focus away from how something looks or how it is accepted by others to a focus on the enjoyment and skill and learning involved in creating something is the way to go (the journey rather than the destination).

    I am not sure if the term 'homemade' is tainted - but there is plenty of shoddily made cheap clothing about that people still wear - so I think when people have issues with 'homemade' it is actually nothing to do with the look of it but due to the associations of the past about you only had homemade if you couldn't afford to buy. As you say that is not true anymore at all - is generally far cheaper to buy, so I think it really doesn't make sense to want to make something that you could buy - surely a lot of the point is to be a bit more individual.

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Member

    Nov 2008
    in the ning nang nong

    Re: Garment sewing: Looking homemade? Ok or not?

    Really interesting difference even in the vibe behind the phrases "home made" -v- "hand made". Interesting!

    The former suggests the thoughts of shoddy, cheap, can't afford to buy, Amelia Sedley making funny old shirts for Georgie, etc.

    The later suggests vintage, bespoke, tailored, unique, etc.

    As for "it looks home made" I don't know that occurs to me or comes up much in that context - but whether something looks good and of good quality absolutely does.

    For example, we used to wear a lot of hand made clothes when I was growing up - some was obvious (knitted things from Grandma) which were poo-pooed at primary school as being povo, but esteemed at high school as being unique and lovingly made - and some were not obvious, just as nondescript things sewed by my mum, which you wouldn't necessarily know weren't off the shelf.

    As a grown up, it's really about quality.

    For example, I commented on a client's outfit a few weeks ago - it wasn't my style, but I could tell it was stylish, and I was very surprised to learn that she had made it, and that she made most of her clothes. Now, I would never have guessed that - not because I had any reason to think that she couldn't sew, or sew well, or because I was surprised someone would be stilled enough to make her clothes, but because it was her! She is an incredibly busy woman, who bills at around $600 an hour, and I never had pictured her sewing. In the same way that my clients probably can't imagine me coming home and having tickle fights with my kids, and then doing some watercolours. But my point is that it's all about quality, not where it was made, in my opinion.

    Home made often also means reinforced stitching, buttons sewed on properly, and the zips done well - things that you don't always get off the rack these days. So in a lot of ways home made is actually much, much better

  6. #6

    Mar 2004

    Re: Garment sewing: Looking homemade? Ok or not?

    The quality of mass produced clothing these days is so awful that I would imagine that hand-made would be much better.

  7. #7

    Dec 2006

    Re: Garment sewing: Looking homemade? Ok or not?

    Hand made. Beautiful. Such a craft.

    All those mass produced stuff where the cotton hasn't been lined up properly and they twist and don't sit nicely. I adore seeing my little nieces in hand made clothing. It's mostly easier for girls, I really mean that. Boys shirts and shorts with all the pockets etc are beyond me.

    My mum knitted two beautiful jumpers for my boys. They are just stunning. It tears me up that the eldest is so badly irritated by the wool that he refuses point blank to wear his. I know how much work went into them.

    I would have loved some more store bought clothes as a child. Mum made lots of basic clothes out of old curtains . Now I appreciate it more.

  8. #8

    Oct 2004
    In my Zombie proof fortress.

    Re: Garment sewing: Looking homemade? Ok or not?

    It is interesting and I suspect the responses would be quite different if I asked elsewhere.

    I have read comments about "ill-fitting", which I find odd, as many commercial clothes can be ill-fitting. Commercial clothes are made on such different machines, that are made specially to just sew one thing. How can home sewers compare?

    I think I like the concept of hand made with care

    My mother used to make my school uniforms in the early year. The Uniform department sold the correct fabric and patterns. There actually was no way to tell the difference between home sewn and commercial, as they were made from the exact same fabric. It must have been common enough to home sew 30 years ago for them to actually sell what was needed.

  9. #9
    Registered User

    Aug 2006
    On the other side of this screen!!!

    Re: Garment sewing: Looking homemade? Ok or not?

    I've seen plenty of lovely homemade clothes, but i've also seen some terrible ones. To me the difference is often about the quality of the raw materials. Nasty cheap synthetic wool will never knit up to something gorgeous. And ugly fabric is never going to become something beautiful.