22 Jan 2014
January 22, 2014

Why Hand-made Always Wins

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The number one reason I’ve heard people say they love vintage clothing is because it’s one-of-a-kind. You’re almost guaranteed to walk into any room, anywhere, and be the only one rockin what you’ve got on.

But there’s another level up when it comes to vintage, and that’s hand-made vintage.

A prime example is this shirt I found at one of my favourite haunts for $1.00. ONE DOLLAR!


When I had my shop, I’d often have people ask why there were so many pieces without labels (more importantly perhaps, without sizes). I loved explaining that, while there is big money in vintage clothing that have manufactured labels, my personal pension for hand-made pieces.

And here’s why:

1. When something hand-made is made well (and unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, think high school  home ed projects), it’s made EXTREMELY well. The proof is in the hems, the darts, the invisible zippers, etc. Folks took a lot of care to make their hand-made pieces look store bought. In the case of the shirt, the quilted pieces are seamless, and the piping that surrounds the patchwork is flawless. Well done…stranger.

The back


Front – right hand side

2. As I mentioned above, hand-made pieces are the only ones that can truly be called one-of-a-kind. While vintage pieces with labels are, for the most part, a pretty safe bet, they were still mass produced to a degree (though no where near to the extent that we could consider today). When someone made something from a pattern however, they then had to pick a fabric, buttons, and zippers to complete the project. Never mind all the different variations you can make to a garment (think pockets, decorative neck pieces, and sleeves). The end result is a truly personalized piece of clothing.

3. Fit. I don’t know about you, but my measurements were made for a different era. And while there’s definitely an advantage to walking into a modern day retail store and selecting “your size”, nothing beats the thrill of putting on a hand-made piece made by someone with YOUR meaurements. It’s like you’ve paid big bucks for someone to custom make something for you…except you didn’t. Please note – the above shirt is not the best example of fit.

Back in the day, I can imagine there was some stigma about not being able to afford store bought clothes. Today however, sewing is a skill that is being taught less and less, so I’m of the mind that a hand-made garment is infinitely more valuable than anything you would find at any of the fast fashion stores today.

So there you have it – why slow fashion (there, it’s a thing now) knocks it out of the ball park. Every time.

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