I appreciate a lovingly handmade gift — receiving them and giving them to others. But, once upon a time, I worked with a lady who would say, “I don’t want it to look like ‘handmade at home’. I want it to look professional.”
I often took this to mean, “I don’t want your handmade crap, knock-off from something cooler that you wouldn’t just buy.” It was hard to not be offended, but I did understand her point.
Tips for a Professional Finish
Having the right tools is definitely a start to making your handmade items look store bought. For example, previously, we talked about how you can use a serger to get the store-bought professional finish on clothing.
Well, here are some additional tips to give your projects a nice, polished look.
Prepare Your Fabric
Some will tell you pre-washing your fabric is a must. Why? This will prevent shrinkage when your finished product is washed by the buyer. However, if you’re creating something, a bag for instance, that is spot-wash only, you don’t have to pre-wash your fabric.
Regardless of pre-washing, ALWAYS press your fabric before cutting. Once you have crisp, flat fabric it will be so much easier to achieve accurately cut pieces. Plus, after you’ve finished the product, it might be impossible to get out those stubborn creases.
Fabric Care During Construction
You must continue to iron throughout the construction process — no matter what you’re creating! Press seam allowances, iron pleats, to make neat handles for bags, press the folds, etc. keep your iron close at hand.
Finishing Seam Allowances
You don’t want your product to start fraying on the buyer (which might cause them to leave a bad review or never purchase from you again). If you’re not using a lining, then zigzag stitch near the edge of your fabric or fold the edge over twice and press it like you’ve never pressed before.
Do it! It will give your finished product (bags, totes, jackets, etc.) strength, stability and body. It’s like making a quilt without the batting — you’d never buy something like that and you’d never make it without.
No, a lining isn’t necessary on your finished product. But, it is a big selling feature. Not only does it make the finished product look better, it also allows you to add pockets (and get serious, who doesn’t love pockets?!). The lining is a place to add a unique “stamp” on your finished product as well — use a fun or funky fabric, stitch a decorative stitch around the top of the lining, embroidery your handmade logo, the possibilities are endless!
Top-stitching is a functional and decorative form of stitching, which is seen from right side of fabric, not hidden away. It can hold pieces together as well as adding decorative detail to your project. Simply put, it’s a straight stitch, nothing fancy.
With these little bits of attention to detail you can take your finished product from “handmade at home” to boutique fabulous! Just think of how awesome it feels when someone asks, “Do you make this?!” The look on their face when you say, “YES!” is priceless!