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Thread: How do YOU judge quality of hand-sewn goods?

  1. #1
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    According to your standards or by what you read in magazines and books? Is the matching of points and seams important? The embellishing? The colors? The flatness or puffiness? Do you follow the "rules" or do it your way?

    It doesn't matter whether it's a quilt, doll, handbag, jacket, or potholder, I seem to judge the same way. I want it all the way I want it, the way I would make it. I don't want to give it away or use it with that glaring error taunting me.

    My question is: for all of what your expectations are, if there was one thing, just one, that was not appealing but really insignificant, would you still purchase it / give it away or would you not purchase it / rip it out and fix it?

  2. #2
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    i buy hand made because i like it..no attention to perfection.

    so i guess you could say i don't judge the item.

  3. #3

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    Same here I will buy handmade because I love the appeal of it perfection is not important

  4. #4
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    Senior Member klc's Avatar
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    Me too. I buy what I like because I like it. I don't expect perfection in handmade items.

  5. #5
    Super Member Rebecca VLQ's Avatar
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    Well, for handmade clothing I look for:

    Serging
    Topstitching
    Seams that don't have the thread showing (like too big of a stitch)

    If it's something that is "worse" than my skill level, I wouldn't buy it. I might say "oh that's a cute skirt, but not serged. I could make one myself..." and put it on the list of things to do. No offense to the designer, but that's how I like it.

    And the "perfect matching seams" thing? Nope. I like a little bit of wonk as apposed to mass-produced perfection. :D Clothing, the standards are tighter because otherwise a garment wouldn't fit right, but quilts? Love me some wonk. :D

  6. #6
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    Within reason a bit of imperfection is part of the charm of handmade items. If on the other hand it looks just thrown together I most likely will pass it by. It also depends on the purpose of the item how picky I'm going to be.

  7. #7
    Super Member LeeAnn's Avatar
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    There is no such animal as perfection. Not in my book anyway. I love for my quilts to look good but I don't sweat the small stuff. If I'm selling one I work really hard for perfection but it's always elusive. The customer could never find my error but I could point out everyone of them.

  8. #8
    Power Poster blueangel's Avatar
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    I buy it because I like it.

  9. #9
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    For me it depends on who made it. If it's from a loved one I don't care if it's full of mistakes! But if I buy something at an art fair, for example, I want the quality to be good. As someone else said if it's below my level of skill I'll pass on it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member SparkMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sueisallaboutquilts
    For me it depends on who made it. If it's from a loved one I don't care if it's full of mistakes! But if I buy something at an art fair, for example, I want the quality to be good. As someone else said if it's below my level of skill I'll pass on it.
    I agree exactly. I'll never pass judgement on someone else's work--unless it's for sale for profit (not for charity). If they expect to make a profit, I expect them to do better work than I can do myself. I think that's fair.

    ETA: There is a bit of fudge-room in that assessment, too. If the design is inspired and unique, I'll allow a few minor hiccups in the construction. But if it's a traditional pattern with traditional materials, attention to detail is very important.

  11. #11
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    That's a good way to put it - below your level of skill. But that would mean your level of perfection, or maybe a better word is expectation?

    Gifts from special people don't fall into my question. As far as those, if they take the time to make something for me I'm going to love it!

    It's like this: my handmades aren't going to be as good - as perfect - as some of these on this board or those who win best in show or mag covers or awards - but I don't aspire to be that proper, either. I expect offness, or wonkiness, and agree that's part of the charm. I wouldn't think it handmade if it wasn't.

    I just wondered if your standards became higher when purchasing than when creating, or if the reverse happens - you expect your definition of perfect in what you sew but are more forgiving when buying from others.

  12. #12
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    Old quilts and tops just seem to jump to me! My kiddos always said that I purchased the ugliest in the batch..not so, I call them unique. Unusual color combos or fabrics really catch my eye. I wish they all came with their story attached. I use to tell kiddos somebody's Mama made this to keep her family warm and that alone makes it valuable to me.

    Newer things I look at stitching, points, etc but that doesn't stop me from buying something that is appealing. It is usually just for inspiration and in admiration for the talent and patience involved. No judgement at all!

  13. #13
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I grew up in the world of artists and craftsmen so that may have influenced my thinking somewhat, but I look for and expect excellence, not perfection, in any handcrafted item I purchase, sell, or gift. Doesn't matter what it is…paintings, pottery, jewelry, quilts, whatever. If I'm going to offer/take money for it or gift it to someone, it must exhibit the pride of the artist in his work from start to finish; design, execution and packaging. For me, mismatched seams and cut off points are not charming; they are basic construction flaws...thus deal breakers. I wouldn't buy a mug with a crooked handle either.

  14. #14
    Super Member Glassquilt's Avatar
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    I want what I pay for.

    What is it for?
    How will it be used?
    How long do I expect it to last?
    Might any memories get attached to it?

  15. #15
    Super Member JanetM's Avatar
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    I buy handmade things at craft fairs all the time. I may notice the "quality" but that is of little consequence. If I like it, and can use it, that is all that matters.

    Having said that, if the item was expensive, I would expect matched seams, sharp points, etc.

    Funny thing though, I expect perfection for anything I give to someone. I "expect" it, but never acheive it :cry:

  16. #16
    Super Member SueSew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider
    I grew up in the world of artists and craftsmen so that may have influenced my thinking somewhat, but I look for and expect excellence, not perfection, in any handcrafted item I purchase, sell, or gift. Doesn't matter what it is…paintings, pottery, jewelry, quilts, whatever. If I'm going to offer/take money for it or gift it to someone, it must exhibit the pride of the artist in his work from start to finish; design, execution and packaging. For me, mismatched seams and cut off points are not charming; they are basic construction flaws...thus deal breakers. I wouldn't buy a mug with a crooked handle either.
    I agree. I have an enormous respect for craftsmanship and I have had years of enjoyment using handcrafted items, most of which I had the pleasure to purchase from the maker directly.

    That said, everyone certainly has the option to make and sell whatever they want at whatever skill level they have and there is a huge market for items which are handmade, regardless of the level of craftsmanship. Just because an item might not make a juried exhibition doesn't mean someone wont like it and pay for it.

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