“This is so pretty, it looks like something you bought at the store”
Who hasn’t heard this before? Good, you all have. Non crafters seem to regard this as the highest compliment they can give you, because of course we want our beautifully handcrafted items that took countless hours to make, probably cost more in supplies than the store bought version and needed more skill to make to be compared to a beanie from China. I thought I might list the things that make an item really pop out as a uniquely handmade item made with love and care. So whether you will gift an item or keep it for yourself, make sure it is handmade, not just something you made at home.
First of all a handmade item has details that are special. The buttons were chosen to perfectly match the fabric, a bow here to add a special touch or even a secret message was embroidered in the lining. Whatever it is, always make sure you add the details that are unique to you. If you are sewing make sure you press and choose contrasting or matching thread. When I was making my dolls, I would add some blush on the cheeks, it just added that little touch of detail they needed. I also think that the materials you use are part of the details. Know when to use the acrylic yarn (they do have their uses) and when to use the fancy posh yarns. Look at other pictures for inspiration, check out pinterest, take your time, you are already investing time and effort into this project so give it the extra planning time it needs to turn out wonderful.
Yes, your stitches need to be consistent. Yes, your quality needs to be consistent. There is a difference between consistency and machine made identical. No two items you ever make will be exactly identical, but they should be consistent.
Yes, you must weave in your ends and block your FO, unless of course it is a softie. If you sew but don’t properly hem an item it just looks cheap. I used to ignore the pressing until I realized it really made the difference from something that looked I made it in the kitchen blender and something that was wearable and actually pretty. The finishing also makes an item withstand the use and abuse it will see. If you don’t properly weave in your ends, they will come out and you might end up with an unraveled sweater, not exactly something you want to happen.
Finally, be proud of yourself. If you made something for yourself, use it, display it and wear it with pride. Show it off, you deserve it. If you are gifting it then let the recipient know that this was a labor of love. Many people assume it is cheaper to just make something. We know that is not true. A skein of sock yarn averages 20$, I am sure you can buy more socks for the same amount. It also takes a couple of weeks to knit a pair, again, time you could have spent doing other things.
You made something beautiful and unique, you learned the skill needed to do so and you used up your free time to do it. Be proud.