Monday, February 20, 2012


I have been bartering my sewing services for things I want or need for almost as long as I've been sewing. I love the idea of trading expertise I have for expertise I lack! (which reminds me, I owe my friend with the embroidery machine a pattern from ages ago - yikes that's slack!) In this instance it was a way of getting something I really really wanted but didn't need. (With five children there is always someone who needs something more than I do.)

My younger sister asked if I could make a jacket for her and two friends to give another friend who had recently had her first child. They wanted to give her something special, custom made. Which led straight to me. This is the jacket whose hood was giving me a headache a couple of weeks ago. Size two, modelled very willingly by Nicholas. Aged three years, nine months.

The recipient has one English parent, one Kiwi.

And this is what I asked for in return.

I've been through it cover to cover several times since she gave it to me last night. I love everything about Alabama Chanin, from the design aesthetic right through the simple but time consuming techniques and on to the championing of sustainable living. I have never been a designer groupie, but I love Natalie Chanin. If I ever win the lottery I'm going to Florence Alabama for a workshop. Or twelve.

Anyway, I have fabric already for a dress, but have much musing to do over it's embellishment before I start. I also have to finish this.

Yep, doing another one. This one is for my younger sister (the same one I bartered with for the book). She has always really admired the corset tops I've made for myself, and wondered whether she would be able to make one herself. Which she would, but I offered to make her one. There is a very very VERY short list of people for whom I would spend this amount of time and she is right at the top, for a lifetime (well, after we got to our teens and stopped fighting) of generosity and generally being great. I joked to her last night that I was so desperate to make another one (I love the process that much) that I'd almost have paid her to let me make one!

She chose this petrol blue (I laughed my head off when I saw it because I chose the exact same colour the same day for my dress-to-be!) with a white underlayer. Because there wasn't to be any painting I figured that the easiest way to mark the roses on this dark colour was going to be good old stitch through a tracing then pull out the paper.

And in parting, a shot of Nicholas proudly showing the lining of his jacket. (Which I originally made for Cayden!) He is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine and despite wearing this jacket last year only just noticed the lining a couple of weeks ago. Now he does this to anyone who gets close enough.

And because my twins now each have to do anything potentially fun looking that the other does, Isabella wanted a shot of her coat lining too.

Twins are funny.

1 comment:

  1. Gee - that friend with the Embriodery Machine must be very patient......
    Or, perhaps she is so disorganised that the waiting time is a blessing in disguise!!! LOL!
    That book looks a bit nice. So glad you bartered for something for yourself. :)