Made to order, made to measure, custom made or bespoke? There are so many different terms in the creative, handmade clothing world that it can be difficult to keep up it.
One company offers ‘custom made clothing’, another only uses their own website and yet another has an album of fabric on a Facebook page, a ‘pinned post’ and releases ‘slots’ weekly, or monthly, and you always seem to miss out.
Confusing isn’t it?
The world of handmade clothing can be a minefield and it is often really difficult to know where to start.
This blog post looks at a few of the most common terms in the handmade clothing industry and will help you find your way through the world of WAHM's (I'll explain what they are soon!), handmade, ordering through facebook groups and more!
By the end I hope you will be able to successfully be able to buy handmade children’s clothing from a variety of different places online.
Confused? Muddled? If that is you, then read on…
Handmade Clothing Terminology
W.A.H.M - Not to be confused with Wham of ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ fame W.A.H.M. actually stands for Work At Home Mum.
In the handmade clothing world is means a mum that works out of her home making and selling clothes, or other handmade products.
Custom Made - A piece of custom made clothing is something that is made especially for you. You often choose the fabric, style and size and it is then made for you.
Made to Order - Something that is only made once your order is placed – and usually paid for.
Made to Measure - This would often go hand in hand with bespoke. It is an item of clothing that is made to the exact measurements you provide.
Bespoke - If an item of clothing is bespoke it means it is made to you exact specifications. It is often unique and individual to you.
In Stocks - In stock refers to items of clothing that are already made and therefore are ‘in stock’ and ready to post.
Personalised - This is often where a name or significant date is embroidered or printed on the item of clothing.
Fabric Album - This would usually relate to a photo album on a Facebook page or in a Facebook group. The seller puts photos of all the fabric that they have in a photo album on Facebook and you can choose what you would like your clothing to be made of from it.
Slots - I must admit, this one took me awhile to get the hang of! Often a small handmade seller can get really busy and a way of managing their workload is to only take on a few orders at a time. The order spaces are often called slots.
One way that sellers offer this is to release ‘slots’ through their Facebook page or group. For example, if a seller only had space for 10 orders they might say “I have 10 slots available first to comment gets the slots”. They would then direct you to an order form (usually a google form) to fill in with your details of what items you want.
But what are the differences between all these different types of ways to buy?
What is the difference between custom made and made to order?
When something is custom made, or bespoke, it is made to your exact specifications. It could also be called made to measure if you were to provide the measurements of the child and the pattern is altered to fit.
You can have control over the item and can generally ask for anything you wanted – sleeves in different colours, or cuffs made longer or shorter – as long as the maker was capable of it you could ask for anything!
Something that is made to order is not the same as custom made. You would see a listing on a website or in a Facebook group and would ask for that exact item to be made in standard size i.e. 0-3 months or 9-10 years. The item would be made after your order was paid and you would receive it within that companies turnaround time. What you would receive would be exactly as the picture had shown in the size you requested - with no alterations or special requests accommodated for.
You can read more about how to measure your child for a custom made item in this article: Measuring Your Child for Handmade Clothes
Is Made to Measure Better than Made to Order?
The answer to this is – it depends! It depends on your requirements and it depends on what you need!
Neither is really better than the other, for they both offer different things.
If you have particular needs or requirements then custom made is probably better for you. However, if you like to see exactly what you are getting before you order then a made to measure might be a better choice.
It is also important to note that made to measure items or items that have been personalised with a name or date for you are also exempt from the Consumer Contracts Regulations. This means that unless the item is faulty then you are not able to return a made to measure or personalised item for a refund – so you must be sure that you have taken the right measurements and spelled any names correctly at the time you order.
You can read more about your rights when returning handmade clothing in this article: Can I Return Handmade Clothing?
Why Do Handmade Sellers Have Facebook Groups?
Increasingly small handmade businesses are using Facebook groups as a way to do business. Sneak peaks of new prints, buying and selling of preloved items and the chance to hear about new releases first are the most common threads in these groups.
Some handmade sellers also only take orders through their groups so if there is a particular brand that you love have a hunt around and see if there is a group to join!
Tutti Frutti Clothing has its own Members Club on Facebook. As well as the usual sneak peaks of new releases I also offer members the chance to get their hands on limited edition items before they go on general sale – do join us - I'd love to say hello!
If a seller offers custom made items and releases ‘slots’ as I talked about before you would probably find more information about them in their Facebook group alongside any fabric album where you could see what fabric was available for you to choose from.
How Can I Order From Tutti Frutti Clothing?
Everything from Tutti Frutti Clothing is available to order through this website. It is all made to order and will be made to the size, sleeve length and colour you have selected.
My listings include clear pictures so that you can see exactly what you will be getting if you order. Drop down menus allow you to select the size you need and I offer everything in standard sizes from newborn up to 9-10 years.
I decided early on that I wanted to offer a handmade product in a clear and easy to understand way. There are size guides on my website and each product description includes a clear turnaround time. Plus if it doesn’t fit you can send it back – no questions asked.
I hope that it is easy to order but I’d love to hear from you if you think I can make improvements!
I love handmade clothes and have been buying from small, handmade businesses, since my children were tiny. From knitted items to custom made cloth nappies I have been immersed in the WAHM world for over 7 years. I know it can be a confusing place where everyone seems to offer something different and you can feel lost if you don’t know what you are doing.
I hope this has helped you get a little more of a handle on the world of handmade clothing and how you can buy from a variety of different sellers that sell in different ways.