Thursday, 11 April 2013

Swapping on an international level

A while ago I jumped in at the chance to be part of the International Craft Swap as organised by Rachel at The House of Pinheiro.

I was paired up with a lovely girl in Norway by the name of Christina. Rachel paired us up because we have similar interests (veggie, animals, sewing - obviously!) and we seemed like a good fit. Once we established contact we set about discussing what we would make and swap.

We are of differing sizes so I suggested a circle skirt as then we would not need to worry about fitting too much. However - the plan changed for 2 reasons:

When Christina sent me the skirt she made (more on that later) she said she went more for a dirndl version so she didn't need to worry about hemming a circle skirt. Good thinking!

In the end I also made up a dirndl skirt as when I started to do the math for the circle skirt, I just became disillusioned - no, my math isn't THAT bad (although husband would completely disagree) but more often than not a circle skirt may end up bigger on the waistband than you want and I of course couldn't just nip over to Norway to check the fit.

So dirndl it was.

Christina had told me she liked turquoises, pastels and 'chalky' colours. I went to Rolls and Rems in Lewisham (my new regular haunt!) and found some really cute polka dot cotton in a kind of sage green. I just thought it was really pretty and could see it working in the summer with a little t-shirt or blouse. I hope now it's not too 'dirndl' looking for Christina, but hey ho, she might be planning to go to Oktoberfest this year ;)

I decided to add in some pockets to make it a bit more interesting.

Mid construction - pocket inserted

To make up the pockets I used a really cool little tutorial by Amber at a blog called Very Homemade - great tutorial. I chose to keep my lining as the polka dot and I also added a vintage trim I had in my stash, which I totally love. (Luckily I have a lot of it so there's still some for me! Greedy Dixie Lou!)

I tacked (basted) the trim onto the pocket first. I'm a strict tacker through and through and rarely sew with my pins. It might take me longer but everything is pretty much stitched where it should be. Anyone else big on tacking/basting? 

I stitched the trim with a zig zag stitch just kind of going with the flow of the trim. Some edges were left loose, but I kind of liked that effect.

Inside I thought it all looked pretty 'off the hanger'. I overlocked all seams, which pleased me ALOT because it's very rare that me and my overlocker get on with each other. It's a torrid love affair. I love him (it has to be a him, to give me so many problems) when he works and think about dumping him when he's just being pigheaded and stubborn. However, he must like dirndls because he serged like a dream on this skirt. Bit wobbly, but that was more my fault - probably over excited that I was actually serging!

I also slip stitched the waistband so it all looks nice and clean.

Unfortunately I don't have a pic of Christina in the skirt yet...ahem as I only just posted it to her! I also don't have a pic of me in her skirt, as husband working away in Europe right now. But maybe I could do the old Photo Booth thing on the mac again. Watch this space for an update (should you have nothing else to do in your life, that is!)

The skirt Christina made me was very pretty! Loved her fabric choice and finishing, and it fits perfectly. She sent me the most gorgeous parcel. All nicely wrapped up in pretty tissue paper, as well as an extra present of a toiletry bag filled with Norwegian chocolate. So kind. 

I really loved doing this Swap - it felt really nice making something for a stranger. It took me back to being younger and having a pen pal again. 

Thank you to Rachel for organising this. 


  1. That sounds so nice! I'm doing my first swap and it's turning out to be so fun. I should really do more of these. :)

  2. ohh you girls made skirts how awesome

  3. How exciting Clare! I will participate in all this when I am back in the UK :D

    Bundana x