Handmade Means......

Posted by Luann Harden on

When you see the word "handmade" or Hand.....anything what do you think?  What is the first thing that comes to your mind?

The Oxford Languages defines handmade as "made by hand, not by machine, and typically therefore of superior quality."

Webster's Dictionary defines handmade as "an item made by hand or by a hand process".

The word was said to be first used in the seventeenth century. It is assumed that when we read handmade that it implies there is superior craftmanship and items are of higher quality that that of machine made items that may be mass produces.  

What if the item is machine produced with handmade or handsewn elements on it?  Do you still say its handmade? hand painted? hand sewn???? How do YOU clarify something as handmade?

Well, I consider myself an of  many mediums creating handmade, hand-crafted, or hand-painted items. I personalize machine made items with embroidery, artwork and other materials. I was blessed to be taught how to hand crochet and hand embroider by my Polish great-grandmother, Bushia, during the many days that I spent with her when my parents were working. (Yes, even 50 years ago there were both parents working and the kids had to be taken care of by family.) How would you classify or describe hand work done on machine made items? It has been difficult to write descriptions of some of my work because of it. So that is why I write this quandary.....

Embroidered beanie

I found that hand-crafted and handmade have become frequently used even when only a portion of the item has been completed by human hands and not machines. There is a fine line between turning a machine on that can duplicate the production process with the operators "making" an item by pushing a button and the individualized process of making one item at a time with each line or dot or stitch being done by one person. This pondering has come about as I complete my fifteenth embroidered Carhartt beanie hats for clients.

 Now the next question is also very important.  If something is handmade with high quality and personalized to your likes would you pay more? Do you gravitate to items in your home that are personalized to you and your family's taste?

In 2016 here were some statistics pulled from Google. Where do you fall in these statistics? 

And 30% cited cost savings when buying handmade items. Overall, 72% of all respondents think that handmade items are generally more special than mass produced items. 58% think that handmade items are higher quality than mass produced items. And 55% think that handmade items are more stylish than mass produced items.

What a thing to ponder today....but....it has really been on my mind.  Give me your thoughts and comments below.

Finally....how many of you know how to embroider?  How many would like to learn?


  • I know basic embroidery but haven’t done it in years! I’m willing & able to learn!!

    Cyndi Martin on

  • I am in the last three categories. For me they are more special, created by a talented person that loves their craft, more unique or at least each piece is individual in an appearance (not mass produced to be exact). Anytime I can buy something that was made in a way that is maybe a lost or soon to be lost art it’s a more appreciated.
    Anything different than mass produced items from a store is special.

    Annette on

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