Today I finished a coat for a customer. Making clothing is not mainstream to our activities here at Anna Macneil, but both Mary and I enjoy a challenge, so when one of our customers asked if we could make her a coat with some of our embroidery on it we allowed ourselves to be coaxed!
Siobhan came out to choose fabric a couple of weeks ago and to let us work out a pattern with her old comfy coat as a guide. There was not enough of her first choice of fabric, so between the three of us we played around with ideas and decided to use two tweeds that were close in colour, but one had a pattern in the weave and the other was plain. We used the plain tweed for those sections that were going to be embroidered and for the facings.
Before Christmas I had made Siobhan a pouch for her Kindle with a zoomorphic bird design and she asked if I could use the same design for the pockets of the coat. The rest of the embroidery carried on the zoomorphic theme with bird-like creatures entwined in Pictish style vinescroll designs. I used two threads - both dark steely-blue grey, but one metallic and the other in rayon.
Other features of the coat - lined with a quilted lining, but the pockets and hood are lined with polar fleece so that they are warm to the touch. Fastens with a zip which has a tweed flap behind it to keep out the wind. Has a loop inside so that it can be hung up on a coat hook. The bottom edge is shaped so that it hangs a bit lower at the back.
Siobhan and I seemed to be equally delighted with the results, and when she came to collect the coat this afternoon she kindly allowed me to photograph her wearing the coat.
Siobhan and her partner Tom are both creative professionals - see their website Nimba creations - and so it was very easy to work with them as they had a clear idea of what they wanted and were equally responsive to suggestions from me.
Next week Mary will be working on a tweed jacket for another customer and after that she has to concentrate on making a wedding dress which she will have on display at a wedding show in Strathpeffer Pavillion in 4 weeks time. This is part of her new venture - LochDress. Mary will still be working here at the studio and both of us will be carrying on with our work making embroidered Harris Tweed fashion accessories. At the moment we are still busy working through the trade orders but our shop is well stocked and we are just about coping with the pressure!
A bag of hats (Morag and Maggie styles) is just about to head off to one of our new trade customers - The Naked Sheep - in Dunkeld, Perthshire. Here you will find a lovely selection of knitwear and other quality wool cothing and accessories. His website is just a holding page at the moment, but here is the link for when it comes on stream, or visit his shop if you are in the area. For details of other shops that stock our products, visit our website. It is not a comprehensive list but it includes those who buy from us most frequently. Sadly, our longest standing customer, the Harris Tweed Shop in Tarbert, Isle of Harris has decided to close its doors after failing to find a buyer. It is a pity as they have stocked our products since my mother first started the business back in the 1980s. I wish John and Patricia well in their retirement.