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Hand-spun, Hand-woven, Hand-made, Custom-made, and Bench-made

The online shopping world has been recently bombarded with the terms like ‘handcrafted’ and ‘handmade’ clothing. While it was always a part of the fashion industry, it has been observed that these terminologies have gained exposure in the recent few years. The search for these words on Google has doubled globally. How is it? It is certainly with the widespread use of sustainable fashion. People are becoming more aware of the ill effects of the fashion industry and how our choices are creating a massive impact on the planet. They are ready to cultivate more and make changes accordingly. 

Handmade fashion is one of the solutions to the issues created by fast fashion. It is representative of the superiority, individuality and exclusivity of the garments that provides a more customised and personalized experience. Unlike machine-made garments, handmade fashion takes time and effort, it involves more labour, precision and dedication. It requires less natural energy, creates less pollution and provides more employment opportunities, and hence, handmade fashion could actually save the planet. 

A huge number of emerging and existing brands are now selling handmade clothing and use terms similar to that while presenting themselves. People who are not familiar with such concepts often find themselves confused among the diaspora of handmade fashion terminology. We are here to make it easy for you, let’s understand this.

What is hand-spun yarn?

In the simplest words, a yarn that is spun by hands. The majority of the fashion industry creates fashion for the masses and these mass-manufactured garments are not made by hands. Instead, they are made by heavy machines. However, hand-spun yarn is created by human hands with the help of a spinning wheel or drop spindle. The fibres collected from natural resources are washed and combed before spinning. They are then twisted and spun into a cord structure and winded into a bobbin to create a textile.

Since these yarns are generated with human hands, it is expected they do not give uniform thickness. In fact, the character of hand-spun yarn is such that it looks raw and inconsistent.

What is the hand-woven fabric?

Woven fabric is made by interconnecting the yarns on a loom. Handwoven fabrics are made on a manual loom. Operated by human hands, a handloom is typically a frame structure made from wood and ropes. The threads are set in the frame horizontally and vertically to be interlaced with one another to create a fabric. 

Compared to the outputs given by power looms, handloom fabrics are generally restricted in terms of width and irregularities, but we believe that’s the charm about it.

What is handmade clothing?

Any clothing that involves some part of its development done by hand is generally considered handmade clothing. It could include processes like hand cutting, hand sewing, hand printing or hand embroidery. Different people categorize handmade clothing differently. It could mean the fabric is handwoven or the fabric is cut manually etc. But, as a whole, handmade clothing is a clothing item that has been developed by manual labour in some way.

But, let’s not confuse handmade clothing with handmade tailoring. Hand-made tailoring is specifically used for garments that are stitched by human hands while handmade clothing can be generally categorized as any process done by hand while developing the garment.

Is handmade clothing better than machine-made clothing?

Until sewing machines were invented, handmade clothing made its way and they certainly lasted longer. Today, to compete in this fast-paced world, technology is more sustainable than clothes. The garments we wear are quickly made and even quickly discarded. It is undoubtedly true that handmade clothing provided better quality and finish than machine-made garments. But, it also comes with the fact that handmade clothing is labour intensive and expensive.

What is the difference between custom-made, hand-made and bench-made clothing?

Custom-made clothing is a clothing item (could be handmade or machine-made) made according to the specifications and taste of the wearer. From the material and design to tiny details of the garment, anything can be made according to the wearer’s choice. Instead of providing customization wholly, most of the brands provide some degree of customization to their clients. You can ask them!

Handmade clothing is any item that involves hand labour to any extent. As we explained above, different people can define handmade to different degrees, but in general, it means that human hands have been used to develop some parts of the garment.

Bench-made clothing is a clothing item developed by the way of hand and machines both, but their degrees are not specified. It states that the garment is made by one person in one go, rather than the assembly line production pattern that most mass manufacturers follow.

Photo by Aditya Wardhana on Unsplash