Friday, 1 February 2013

Handmade not homemade

Not so long ago, Sewaholic posted a selection of notes about how to make your handmade items look less handmade. As she said, there's a fine line between "Did you make that?" (Wow, it's bespoke and you have skills) and "Did you make that?" (Because the skirt's hanging a bit funny, and I wonder if it's intentional), and sometimes, the more unique the item, the more likely it is that the general public will notice and comment on how unusual it is.

Our responses to such comments show a little of how complicated our response to and relationship our projects actually is. After all, we make pieces because we want to create something different, something unusual, something that might fit, so why panic or feel uncomfortable when someone notices? Are we worried they might judge our choice of hobby? Critique our work? After so much time and effort expended, of course we're protective of the outcome of our creativity, but I find my response also connects to more general anxiety about how I look, and a very broad concern that someone might spot that all I'm wearing is fabric (very Emperor's New Clothes).

Despite this, I find I can no longer accept buying items that will always fit badly, or be uncomfortable. I walk around shops thinking that I'd like top a with longer sleeves, or dress b in a blue version of that fabric, or longer, or more A-line. So I pretend I know what I'm doing with dress-making, and I play with fabric, and enjoy the process of knowing where the garment comes from (especially if I can use remnants in other projects). Sometimes, a pattern just works, and what in one fabric appears quirky and individual, in another becomes somewhat sophisticated and uniform. Sometimes, as Sewaholic says, simple is a disguise for the handmade.

1 comment:

Liz said...

All good points - but more importantly, what is that awesome dress pattern?