The Handmade Life

A few days ago, as I sat making my nieces 16th birthday presents I wondered to myself how many people involved in the handmade community make their own gifts? At the start of this year I had made a little pact with myself that all birthday, mothers/fathers day and Christmas presents would be handmade or vintage. It doesn’t matter whether I make them myself or buy them from another crafter, just that I’m not contributing to the colossal consumerism throw away nature of the highstreet and it’s clones, and that I am getting people something really unique and (hopefully) not dispensable.

Linziloop Handmade Crochet Ski Hat

Handmade crochet ski hat made by my own fair hand (currently for sale in my shop)

Then I got to thinking, I wonder how far I could take this handmade or vintage “pact”? Would it be possible for me to buy all clothing, homewares, furniture, bath and beauty products even? I started to ask around on the Folksy forums – how far do people take their pledge to the handmade world?

The results were varied (more varied than I would have thought for a handmade site community forum to be honest!) and it certainly made for an interesting read.  If you would like to take a look at the discussion, you can find it here.

Personally I don’t think it would be possible to completely re-haul my “house that ikea built” to a lovely Kirstie Allsopp’s style homemade home anytime soon, it would cost a blinking fortune, so perhaps that’s something I will endeavor to do piece by piece, over the years, or when things inevitably break due to their fragile honeycomb middley bits.

Clothing however, clothing I think I could do pretty immediately. I’ve already started making my own, and at the moment with trying to lose quite a lot of weight, I don’t want to be buying anything new for a while.

Linziloop Handmade Skirt

A skirt i made for myself that i am wearing to death at the moment!

People seem to have the perception that handmade clothes are expensive, and sometimes they are, if you compare them to the likes of Asda or Tesco, or even up to the likes of your usual highstreet stores such as TopShop or Zara. BUT, in my opinion, we need to get out of our relationship we have with these cheap, throw away clothes made in factories abroad paying people mere pennies. We need to support the fair trade.

PLUS with handmade clothes on the most part get you a little piece of uniqueness, something you will not find on the highstreet. It’s like finding your own little designer boutique. And there are LOADS of them, and they’re MUCH cheaper than designer stuff – take a look at some of these beauties I’ve found on Etsy, see if any of them could convert you away from the highstreet. There’s not just dresses, but shoes, t-shirts, trousers, kids stuff – anything you want! And all at varying prices, from shops like Natty Boho (UK seller!), The Generation (eco friendly shoes!), Inner Evolution (ladies clothing), Flutterby Daisy (UK seller!), Vortex Trading Company (screenprinted t-shirts), and Treehouse 28 (ladies, mens AND kids clothes!).

Eco-chic Ballet Flats in Beige and Brown by The Generation

Eco-chic Ballet Flats in Beige and Brown by The Generation

Now, when it comes to bath and beauty – soaps, shampoos, conditioners, all those lotions and potions that grace the supermarket shelves with their matching ingredients but alternatively branded exteriors to sell you a little bit of luxury or a cheap and cheerful way to clean your hair, I’ve never (yup, I’ll admit it), ever bought a handmade product. I am not quite sure why, never really thought about it – not found THAT many UK handmade sellers of bath and beauty products to be honest, although there are a few out there, and their products look scrumptious. So do tell me in the comments if you can recommend something – I’ll give it a go!

I’m coming to the end of my speculative post now, it’s given me a lot of food or thought, I’m certainly more conscious now than ever of trying to buy fair trade, UK handmade products, and it’s certainly fun finding out just how far I could take it. I’ll keep on pushing those comfort zones, I’ll be searching through the antiques fairs next month (moneyless or not!), and I’ll be cutting down on the amount of temporary items I buy and trying to purchase things that will last a lifetime and are made with love. Afterall,there’s enough waste in this world already, whether that be children’s lives forced into slave labor, your ikea furniture down the dump, or those talents you don’t know you have yet, cos you never tried to make something.

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1 Comment

  1. I would like to always buy handmade where it’s available but can’t always afford to. I try to get (or make) handmade gifts as well.


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