A Handmade Dilhema


Handmade is important to me. I want to support handmade business’s. It is very tough to be successful as competition is fierce and it is hard to charge prices that actually reflect the time and skill that goes into the products. So what do I do when I am approached by a very good friend who asks me to make something a bit like…….?


My first instinct is to say yes of course, I can do it. I then realise that the item that she is asking for is for sale. My first thought is that I have been asked for two and they come in three’s. Also mine will not be anywhere as near as professional. My friend has her own touches that she wants to include and I honestly doubt that the original designer would be able to fulfill her request in the time left with the posting times.

But then I wonder how I would feel if someone did the same to me…. How would you feel? In the end I have decided to do it for my friend. It is a one-off, not to be repeated so I don’t feel as if I am really setting up in competition. I have to say that I have enjoyed the challenge of coming up with something to a brief. Of course writing about it on here may be a bit silly as I am publishing it but I am wondering what other people think about this issue? Would you have said no on principle or would you take the view that you are taking an idea and adapting it to your own specification? (After all isn’t that a lot about self designing? Taking something on and making it your own?)



26 thoughts on “A Handmade Dilhema

  1. hijennybrown

    I feel your pain! Like you did, I try to think if there’s any way the original will work for them. If you’re the only one that can make what they need, then no harm done.
    Another thing that helps me: “It would cost me the same amount to make it, but it probably won’t look as good” – that usually helps them make the decision to buy the original. πŸ™‚

  2. youngatfifty

    These are such dicey issues really. There are so many issues with patterns too. Some of them are extreme and just plain ridiculous. Anyone with a reasonable crochet/knitting skills can duplicate many a easy/basic pattern without having to buy the pattern.

  3. KerryCan

    I think it’s pretty amazing that you are even concerned about this! And very thoughtful! But I also think that we all spin off ideas from others and tweak them and make them our own. Plus it’s meaningful to your friend that the items are not only handmade but handmade by her friend. No worries, I say.

  4. Nice piece of work

    There’s no competition here, your friend wants a handmade item by YOU, not what someone else (or a factory) has made. I would have said Yes, because making something I hadn’t thought of before is often the way I discover new designs/patterns/stitches or whatever, so it’s all experimentation and learning, plus it might well be that your design is better or more appealing to other people. In which case, you’ve got a new skill and a new product πŸ™‚

  5. helen

    I don’t think that it is an issue to take an idea and adapt but what you do rightly say is that “it is hard to charge prices that actually reflect the time and skill that goes into the products”.

  6. tgonzales

    I would have said yes as well. Your friend could easily enough bought the item but she wanted a one-of-a-kind item made especially by you. I agree that there is a lot of competition out there, but she asked you. So go for it! Hugs, Tamara

  7. Gertie

    As long as you’re not copying it ‘word for word’ so to speak, then I can’t see what the problem is. We’ve all been asked if we could ‘make something like this’, so don’t feel guilty xx

  8. JenR

    I’ve been thinking about this since you posted and really enjoyed reading all the comments. This is something I’ve thought about as well. I think youngatfifty had a great point about all of being able to duplicate just about anything out there. I like to take ideas that inspire and put my own spin on them when I can. I’m careful about reading instructions on patterns and following the pattern writer’s request regarding the ability to sell items knit from the pattern. I think being respectful and aware is the most important thing. Hope it turns out well!

  9. e1aine

    A difficult one. I’d say yes too, my version would be different enough I think, but I’d worry a bit and do it as a one off – if I wanted to then make more I’d have to change the design.

    Gertie’s reply seems sensible to me.


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