Folksy Ltd

Do you think handmade items have to be perfect?

Hi everybody!

I have an online fabric store, Coco Wawa Crafts, where I sell fabrics at the moment, but I am starting to create my own items, such as hand printed tote bags, cushions, soft toys, lampshades and also I have started to create brooches with shrink plastic. While creating all these things, that will be on my shop at some point, I realised that they are not perfect.

Then it came an important question to my mind, do handmade items have to 100% perfect? Would you buy something made by hand that has a small imperfection due to the fact that is made by hand?

I think that the beauty of handmade creations is exactly that, that are made with your hands and therefore, they are not perfect like something coming from a big company and made by a machine.

What do you think? Handmade items should be absolutely perfect, yes or no?

Thanks for your opinions!

Ana

1 Like

A difficult one - I think it depends on the look that you are going for.
As a trained dressmaker I always think finish and quality are important and I strive for perfection. I’ve certainly seen some badly made garments in my time eg badly finished seams and hems, though some people don’t notice and price is more important to them than the quality of workmanship.
However when making my vintage craft items, especially those I make with vintage fabrics, it is not possible to be 100% perfect, as there will be minor imperfections in the fabric before I’ve even started.

Sue

1 Like

True Sue… It is a difficult one… I have been thinking about it since I started creating my own items and could see that not every item looks exactly the same as the previous one and that you may find a small imperfection.

Anyway, thanks a lot for your answer :slight_smile:
Ana

1 Like

I think things have to be well-made, but not 100% perfect or they will lose that hand-made charm. At a craft fair I was at once, I remember a suspicious man insisting to a glass-maker that her goods could not possibly be hand-made because they looked too perfect!

1 Like

Hi Susan!

thanks for your answer. That is true. I have been to a craft fair once and saw someone items made with the same plastic I use and they were absolutely perfect and each of them exactly the same. That is not possible, I think, when making things by hand…

Anyway, it is good to know your opinions :slight_smile:

Ana

1 Like

I have to admit, I don’t know where I stand on the ‘imperfect/perfect’ debate re: handmade. I can appreciate the individuality of small imperfections, but there’s skill in being able to turn out even, perfect pieces time after time, like a machine.

I can only really speak for crochet items (though I suspect the same is true of knitting or hand sewing), where the skill is in keeping the tension equal across all the stitches. A sudden loose, loopy stitch is an error and something I would immediately want to correct.

I am not a machine and I don’t aspire to be one, so minor imperfections should be fine. But my idea of a perfect crochet piece is one with machine-like precision. I always aim to turn out perfect crochet pieces. So maybe I do want to be a machine?

Excuse me while I dissolve into an existential crisis…

8 Likes

I was also asked at a craft fair if I make everything myself. I was not offended at all, but it made me wonder if people find well made items not handmade. Or perhaps they are used to seeing not so well made things and then they see something better and start questioning.

I suppose you have to wonder…was the imperfection due to you being careless or the ‘flaw’ could not be helped. Say it’s the nature of the material or the process.

I do think you should try your best to make it perfect and maybe practise as much as possible before you decide to list something or send it to the customer. If you’ve practised, at least you’ll have peace of mind that you did your best and the final product looks what it looks. If it’s not looking right, then change the materials or try something else.

1 Like

When it comes to these types of crafts, you must go back and fix the error. With complicated patterns, it is not difficult to make a mistake, but still, you have to keep checking. I’m not sure how that will look to a customer. Some might not notice, some might not be pleased.

1 Like

Hi Claire, Minerva,

thanks a lot for sending your thougths. I think it may be the same as when I do my writing job (my main job) as a journalist. I always look for perfection and when sometimes I find out that when editing my article my editor has made a mistake and a word is misspelled it drives me nuts (in Spanish, my main language).

I agree that practicing as much as possible is the best thing to do.

Well, thanks for your help!!

Ana

1 Like

Sometimes small imperfections can be part of the charm of handmade, so it wouldn’t worry me.

1 Like

I strive for perfection, never get there though. I have to say I recently did an order on the other side for first communion gifts, and it was impossible for every cross to be exactly the same, I did try to make them as consistent as possible.

1 Like

I agree Wendy especially where glass is concerned as it often has a mind of its own. I don’t like doing ‘bulk’ orders as I presume the customer wants them to be as alike as possible and identical is impossible. I actually strive to make everything so it is a unique piece and that is easier than trying to make things the same and artistically much more satisfying. .

Where there are ‘deviations’ from the norm as it were, from an artistic point of view I can always say “this is my creation and I will make it however I please. It isn’t wrong, it is how I choose it should be”. That covers it. :smile:

After all can one ever say whether a painting is perfect or not ?

ps; should say that when I’ve made something, if it isn’t ‘right’ then I either correct it or don’t sell it.

2 Likes

Depends on your definition of perfect! A lot of my items use different shapes that are cut by hand. There is no way you will get a sharp precise cut as you would on a laser cutter when cutting by hand but thats what handmade is all about. Hand stitching is never going to be as straight or even as machine stitching but that is part of the joy of hand made. On the other hand badly put together pieces that do not stand up to use are not acceptable. As others have said it depends a bit on the item, perfection doesn’t have to mean identical every time.

4 Likes

I try to be perfect but sometimes a little dirty speck will magically appear on a card but I can usually hide it by adding a little heart or something similar!

I see cards in shops that have imperfections and it really annoys me.

I must admit though I have sometimes got it wrong and added Happy Birthday instead of Happy Christmas or made spelling mistakes.

1 Like

I think imperfection can have more than one meaning. If it means one item is different to another because of the fact it is hand made rather than machine made, then that is fine. If it means that the item is not well made and has faults then that to me would be unacceptable as a buyer, harsh I know but I think that’s how many people think x

8 Likes

True Margaret.

Thanks a lot for your comment!
Ana

1 Like

Hi Wendy,

thanks for your answer. That happens to me when using shrink plastic. The brooches are never exactly the same.

Ana

1 Like

I agree with you Joy. When you make lots of the same it is easier for the customer to spot the differences and more when working with materials that you can’t control 100%. That happens to me and shrink plastic.

Anyway, thanks a lot for your answer. It was really helpful :slight_smile:

1 Like

True too Roz. Something cut by hand is not like something cut by a laser cutter and so on with other examples. I try to keep that in mind and try also to perfect my own designs.

Thanks a lot for your answer!

1 Like

I know Diane. I try always to be perfect but sometimes when taking the shrink plastic out of the oven or when using the heat tool I can spot small variations on the color that make it imperfect to me, so I do all the process again.

Regarding other mistakes, we are humans afterall!

Thanks a lot for your answer :slight_smile:
Ana

1 Like