Handmade vs. Store Bought

At what point does being a quilter/sewer drive you over the edge of handmade craziness? Back before my son was born two and a half years ago, I really wanted a Vera Bradley diaper bag but ultimately decided to make my own version since the VB bags were so pricey. Of course, I ended up spending at least half as much as the bag cost on fabric, and then there’s the time involved. But it was fun, and I loved being able to choose my own fabrics, so it was worth it!

We’ve been doing some rearranging in our house in anticipation of baby #2’s arrival, making enough room to use both toddler toys and baby gear in our family room. Flip flopping a leather couch and a more child-friendly futon of course demanded some new throw and floor pillows, and also some new curtains. (Or, maybe the rearranging was just an excuse for me to redecorate a bit…!)

Anyway, for both pillows and curtains, I hemmed and hawed…store bought, or make my own? At this point (due date T minus 2 weeks and counting), both time and money play into my decisions.


I wanted two big (20” square) floor pillows for the playroom floor. I found two large red pillows at Home Goods for $25 each (plus I had a gift card for $25!). Or I could buy two large pillow inserts and 4 yards of fabric and make my own. Doing the rough math, store bought was cheaper, and ultimately, I could sew covers for these down the road if I got bored of them and/or found some fabric I loved. Decision: Store Bought


I needed two fairly neutral curtains with tabs on the top for hanging, each approximately 48” x 84”. Ultimately, size played into this choice, plus the fact that I was looking for something that blended rather than choosing a really fun print fabric. At 48” wide, I’d need to piece these curtains widthwise, and it just wasn’t worth it. Decision: Store Bought

Store bought doesn’t usually win out for me—I enjoy the sewing process and love the flexibility of selecting every last detail rather than just finding the best of what’s available in stores.

What about you? Are there times when store bought wins over handmade? In what situations? Why?

Lisa Swenson Ruble

About the Author: