Fabulous, handmade, one-of-a-kind, repurposed clothing

Washington, D.C.

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Announcement    THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT
Turning the world more FABULOUS, one garment at a time

* One of a Kind
* Hand Made
* 99% Repurposed

Designs by Tamara Embrey


Last updated on May 15, 2016

Turning the world more FABULOUS, one garment at a time

* One of a Kind
* Hand Made
* 99% Repurposed

Designs by Tamara Embrey


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Tamara Embrey

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Tamara Embrey


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About devilmademedoit

Sales 89
On Etsy since 2006

Fewer "things", Better "things", More Beautiful "things"

1.Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in a small town in Michigan, but left to attend college on Long Island NY. After college I moved into the city and lived and worked there for over a decade, painting and writing and generally being part of the arts community. I supported myself mostly by working in architectural firms, though I did some freelance work for several galleries, and for the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Throughout my 20s I wanted to be a fine artist and/or a literary writer, but could never choose one, so I did both. Eventually I went to Grad school and got my MFA in Creative Writing. I have always made my own clothes, but I didn’t start selling them until after Grad school, and after I became a mother. Making things suited the frequent interruptions you have when you have a baby. Writing, not so much.

2.We know that your love for fashion and design began at an early age and that at one time you even considered going to design school, what changed your mind?

I’ll be brutally honest with you here, after visiting a couple of Fashion Schools in NYC, I was put off by how they seemed to privilege male ideas about aesthetics and beauty (this was a long time ago, I hope that’s no longer the case). And I didn’t like the fashion industry in general. I just couldn’t get behind telling women that there was something they absolutely had to buy, or some proscribed way of dressing in order to fit in and feel acceptable. I thought women were just fine the way they were, and I didn’t want to sell them anything.

But the real reason I didn’t go to design school is that I have many passions and didn’t want to limit myself to just design. In college I studied fine and performing arts, literature, writing, philosophy, psychology, and the sciences; I especially loved neuroscience. All of that informs who I am and how I think as a person, and as an artist.

3.The name of your brand has to be one of the coolest we’ve encountered in a while. What is the full story behind the name “The Devil Made Me Do It?”

I came up with that name when I first started working with cashmere. Here was this luxurious fabric, something people have always treated with reverence, and there I was cutting it up. It felt a little naughty. I guess being an indie designer has the same feeling. You’re saying you don’t need the established structure of the fashion industry to tell you how to think and design and make and distribute your work, you’re going to do it your own way, on your own terms.

4.Why make the decision to create clothing out of recycled fabrics? Have you always been conscious of eco clothing?

There are several reasons. Back in high school, I used to shop at thrift stores a lot because I hated what the malls were selling and loved vintage clothing. I started altering what I bought for fit and style. So partly it grew out of that.

But another big part goes back again to the fashion industry. I didn’t want to be part of the machinery that depends on people constantly buying more and more and more. I didn’t like the use of sweatshops to sew garments, I didn’t like the way so many resources went into making materials that were then tossed aside after a season. Fast fashion is really rough on people and the environment.

I did, however, like the idea of re-using these gorgeous natural materials like cashmere and merino wool, that don’t deserve to be thrown away so quickly. I guess this is my way of trying to mitigate the damage of making fashion. It’s a bit of a “devil’s bargain,” if you will.

On a more artistic level, what I really love about working with recycled materials is that the fiber has a “memory”. What I mean by that is, the fiber is able to “remember”, not just its former shape and function (as the sleeve of a sweater, a pocket, a collar…), but the fabric retains some the essence of the person who once wore—and perhaps loved—it. Add to this my own intervention and reshaping--a sleeve becomes the side of a skirt or a flounce on a jacket; a pocket becomes part of a hat or the petals of a flower—and you have layers of intentions… memories… meanings.

5.Being an indie designer, what are some of the standards in the mainstream fashion industry that you would like to see change?

Well, the way garments are made, obviously. Sweatshops. But also the idea that it’s more important to wear this season’s styles than to own something that’s well made, interesting, and lasting. “Fewer things, better things,” is my motto. I think that’s a much better way to walk lightly on the earth while still engaging with style.

6. Who is the “The Devil Made Me Do It” woman?

She’s someone who appreciates interesting and thoughtful design, good construction, and the touch of the artist’s hand. She’s not afraid to stand out in a crowd and get stares (and compliments). She’s willing to like something because she likes it, not because a magazine told her to.

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  • Tamara Embrey


Shop policies

Last updated on September 1, 2014
All The Devil Made Me Do It garments are hand made by me (so you feel better about the whole sweatshop thing) from 99% fine recycled materials (so you feel better about your impact on the environment), and one-of-a-kind (so you won't see yourself coming and going on the streets). One thing I enjoy is serendipity. I don’t like things to be too “matchy-matchy,” and often prefer a “rougher” finish to spice things up a bit, especially to my appliqués (one thing I NEVER want is for my hand-made appliqués to look like they were embroidered by a machine!). This is part of my design style. So you may find certain “serendipities” in some garments (a flower or two on one side, but not on the other for instance). These “serendipities” are intentional and contribute to the uniqueness and artistry of each piece.
As far as designs go, I definitely do variations on a theme, and so many items may have “sisters”; but since the materials I have to work with are limited and determined by what quality items I’m able to find second-hand , and because inspiration never hits me quite in the same way twice, no two items are ever exactly alike. One thing I LOVE about “Upcycling” materials is—again--that element of serendipity. You never know what you’re going to find. And, for me, finding something extraordinary and unexpected to work with usually leads to designing something extraordinary and unexpected to wear.

SIZING: Please know that because most The Devil Made Me Do It items are made of fine knits, sizing is APPROXIMATE and flexible. Believe it or not, due to the nature of the designs and materials, most garments will fit 2 to 3 different sizes nicely (I do my very best to give measurements and sizes). Hats generally fit everyone (including kids). Please see notes on each item for specifics and exceptions. If, however, you buy something and it just doesn’t work for you size-wise, you may return it for exchange or refund (see Refunds and Exhcanges).

Accepted payment methods

Paypal Mastercard Visa American Express Discover Apple Pay Klarna Giftcard
Accepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
Returns and exchanges
I am happy to accept returns provided the garment is clean, unworn, and in sellable condition. If you are unsatisfied in any way with your purchase, please contact me within a week of receiving the item and let me know that you are sending it back. After I receive the item you are returning, I will issue you a refund for the purchase price of the garment (sorry, I cannot return shipping fees).

Please note that sizing is approximate. Please check the actual measurements of a garment to see that they would fit you and convo me with any questions. I should be able to tell you if a garment will fit you or not if you give me your size and measurements.

Custom orders are non-refundable.

PRODUCT GUARANTEE: My appliqués are meant to be “rough-edged” (not look machine made) and to loosen and become more organic (and interesting) with wash and wear. While I pride myself in fine craftswomanship and careful sewing, each piece is an experiment. So, if you ever have a problem with THE SEWING on one of my appliqués or in my garments, I will happily do a “touch up” or correct the problem, absolutely free (provided you have cared for your garment gently and properly).
My pricing is based on a need to remain consistent with the wearable art galleries that show and sell my work here in the US. It is my responsibility to honor these relationships in this way.

I glad accept checks, money orders, credit cards, and Paypal.

If you choose to pay by check or money order, please arrange for payment within 7 business days. If, after 7 business days, I have not received payment (or word from you so that we can make arrangements), I will cancel the sale and return the item to the sales floor.


For help with the checkout process, please go to http://www.etsy. com/help_ guide_checkout. php
Getting your order to you as quickly as possible is very important to me. I usually ship in-stock items the next business day. Custom pieces that require additional production time generally take from one to several weeks, depending on the item, availability of materials, and time of year.

I make every effort to get your purchase to you ASAP, but please keep in mind—especially for custom items--that all pieces are handmade by me, in my little workshop. On the very rare occasion that I will not be able to ship out your purchase within a few days, I will contact you via email and explain the situation.

I will ship to the address on your Etsy account. PLEASE MAKE SURE THIS ADDRESS IS ACCURATE AND CURRENT. If you wish to have your item shipped to an address that is DIFFERENT FROM WHAT'S IN YOU ETSY FILE, please include that in the message to the seller at checkout. Thanks!

Shipping times refer to the number of days your item will take to travel through the mail once it leaves my hands. If you have a specific "due by" date, I strongly suggest you put that information in the “message to seller” field when checking out. You can also call me at 541-729-8063 to find out more detailed delivery information. Or, you always have the option to send me a separate convo or email at tamara [!at] I have no control of USPS but will make every effort on my end to meet your requested date.

Explanation of shipping options:

WITHIN THE US: I ship USPS First Class Mail with delivery confirmation. This generally arrives in 2-3 days. If you have paid through Etsy or Paypal, and your delivery address is on file, I will create a shipping label through Etsy or Paypal. In this case, you will receive notification from Etsy or Paypal once I create your shipping label which will include your tracking number. Tracking details are also available upon request, just convo/email me.

If you would like Priority Mail (which, again, generally arrives in 2-3 days, but is not guaranteed) or ExpressMail Next day service (which IS guaranteed), please email/convo me upon purchase and I can include additional shipping charges.

INTERNATIONAL: Items will be sent US First Class International Mail WITH INSURANCE. Shipping charges do not include insurance but will be added on once I know the total amount that will be shipped. I will also use the sales price through Etsy to fill in any customs forms that are required. The customer is responsible for any and all customs and duties fees.

For other countries I ship First-Class International; if you would like faster delivery, please indicate this in your message to me and I can arrange for this for an additional charge.

Also, be aware that overseas shipping may take up to several weeks (though this is not usually the case). Thanks for understanding.

Int'l Priority 5-10 days (Priority Mail International US Postal Service). Please convo/email me for rates.

Gift Wrapping can be purchased for an additional $5.
Additional policies and FAQs
GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE, please convo me if you're interested in purchasing a gift certificate.

GARMENT CARE: Because most The Devil Made Me Do It garments are made of fine fabrics such as wool, cashmere and/or angora, I am obliged to recommend professional dry cleaning; however, I've found that gentle hand-washing with a quality fine fabric or wool wash works just as well, and shampooing with natural shampoo is actually BEST. If you go the hand-wash route, NO DRYER PLEASE! (Or you might end up with teeny tiny The Devil Made Me Do It clothing ). Also, if hand-washing, please lay garment flat to dry to keep from s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g.

IF ITEMS STRETCH WITH WEAR: Honestly, I care for all of my own TDMMDI items by popping them into the washer on "Delicate" and using cool water and a gentle wool wash to clean them (like colors only, or alone--you don't want running from other garments). Then I put them into the dryer--GASP!--with low heat on the gentle setting. No lie. If you are careful not to use HEAT in the wash or dryer, and make sure to use the gentle cycle (to limit the agitation) you too should be able to machine wash your wool and cashmere items, especially if they've stretched a bit. I don't recommend the dryer (lay it flat instead) if your item is already a bit snug. Remember, YOU MUST BE MINDFUL if you use this method. Dry cleaning is always the safest, but this works if you're watching what you're doing. You do want to limit your machine washing if you've bought something with a lot of appliques. The agitation from the machines is not great on appliques. With appliques, hand-washing or dry cleaning are really safest. And if you try machine washing, it is at your own risk.

CUSTOM ORDERS: Please ask.

Please enjoy these clothes I make!