“Did You Make That?” Is It A Compliment Or Not?

did you make that

Word gets around that you sew after a while.  Even for some reason if we don't talk much about our hobby, sooner or later everyone is going to know that you sew your own clothes, or bags or other accessories, or things for the home.

This inevitably leads to the question “Did you make that?” when you are seen in a new outfit, or have a new bag or give a gift of any kind made from fabric, or even hang some new curtains in your home.

How does that make you feel if someone asks?  Is it a compliment when someone asks if you made that new dress you are wearing? Does it make you feel good?  Do you feel delighted that someone assumes you are such a great sewer that you created garments that look as good as ready-to-wear?  Are you thinking that the fit is so good they assume it was custom made?  Is it so unique that you just can't buy anything like it, therefore, it must be your own original design?

Or does it fill you with doubt and dread that they think it looks ‘homemade'? Do you worry about the finish, did you use the wrong fabric, is there a loose thread? Or do they just think it doesn't look very good, like you might not have bought it in a shop?  Is my zipper wonky? Are they only asking because they think it looks bad and are trying not to hurt my feelings?

Or maybe this is an ideal opportunity and just what you want to hear because you are a sewing teacher or have a store selling your sewn items and it's the perfect excuse for you to launch casually into your sales pitch – get a new customer for your sewing classes or make a sale of a bag just like yours.

What do you say?

It could be that how you react to the question is more important than the question itself.

Miserable moggy – Do you cringe, shy away, say “It's not very good but I sorta like it?” Do you point out the small errors and apologise for them?  “It's not puurrr-fect but…”  Do you always assume the worst?  Maybe the person really liked it and now they might feel bad about asking in case you took it as a criticism.  🙁


Happy puppy – Or do you beam and smile, take it as the biggest compliment,  and tell them all about how much you love to sew, how much you love your new dress or bag, and how you would love to help them learn to sew as well (if they want to). Yay!  Feel proud, you did an awesome job.


Why do people ask?

Maybe people are just disappointed when you go out in ready to wear and they look forward to seeing your own original creations, something that makes you stand out from the crowd.  It can be a real conversation starter to ask if you made your own outfit and when you say no, you bought this one, oh, OK.  If you didn't make it, then do chatter on about what you are working on right now, or a recent project you are particularly proud of – that person wouldn't have asked if they weren't interested to know.


My hubby loves it when I wear things I've made myself.  Makes him feel really proud, and he tells everyone that I made my dress I'm wearing.  I don't always have the right thing to wear for every event so when he asks if I'm going to wear one of my dresses, sometimes I have to say no because I might not have something dressy enough, but then he always encourages me to at least take one of my bags.  Makes me feel good about myself and my sewing that he wants to be seen out with me in something I've made.  To me, that's the biggest and best compliment of all.

Your turn

Tell me, what do you think?  Is it a compliment if someone asks if you made something yourself?  How do you answer?

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Happy puppy all the way! I always smile and say that I made it. I do not know if it is luck but most of the time, the question comes after “oh that ____ is so cute!”. Then, people ask where did I buy it. To which I answer, “I made it!”. I guess I am lucky to get positive compliments but never have felt any hint of disapproval. I also think it depends on the context. I lived in a place where people loved anything that was different. In a different place, for instance where people value fast fashion and trends, probably someone who sews would be looked down or in a “so so” way because belief it or not: trendy people have a hard time recognizing that the sewists out there many times have things that are pretty or prettier than what they carry. The trend loving people I notice seem to have an issue when they see others with “prettier things” than theirs. It only adds hurt to injury to find out the item is made by the person who carries it. By no means my comment is to criticize or create controversy, but I have noticed this many times.

Becky T
Becky T

When people ask me to fix or make something because I sew, I frequently tell them
” I do not do it well enough to charge for it and I do not love you enough to do it for free.


Years ago I asked someone if they made their dress. She asked me if it looked homemade. I told her yes but not for the reasons she might expect: that she either made it or she paid an exorbitant amount of money foor it! She smiled and told me it was a friend that sewed so well. She was beaming! It wasn’t just the style it was thecareful placement of the print, too.


I am a teacher and I love sewing little things for my students. All my students and parents alike are excited when I make something for my kids. They are the ones that tell their parents that I made it and that I sew. When I bring things into the classroom that I have made, curtains for my windows, fabric desk organizers or bags, really anything, the kids want to hold it and look at it. They are some of my biggest supporters. I teach 4th grade and every year I am invited to some of my previous students’ graduation parties and they almost always have an item I made for them on display. They actually kept it for 8 years and it means something special to them. That makes me happy to know that they appreciate it. I also have my younger family members asking me to help them sew something for a special occasion, the last one was a prom dress. I made all my nieces Christmas dresses for years when they were younger and now I see their children wearing them. So I take it as a HUGE compliment since I have seen just how special some of the things I have made are to those I give them to.


I feel complimented. My sister told me one day I wonder why your stuff looks different. And most of my stuff looks good when I was young I was always envied by many cause I sewed.