Cobbler’s Children

I used to work on customer satisfaction surveys and once remarked to a (US) colleague that our agency never carried out market research with its own clients.  He agreed, saying, “Cobbler’s children wear no shoes.”  The expression, with hints of wretchedness and medieval-style child neglect, amused me no end.  Though it’s not in use here in the UK (that I know of), I’ve thought of it every time I’ve had occasion to wear my old leather jacket but couldn’t bear the risk of friends who know I sew glimpsing its shocking insides.  Which, once removed, looked like this:

Yes indeed, nice bum cheeks… 😯

But the jacket itself is going strong.  If truth be told, it’s acquired that slightly sickly whiff of leather in thrift shops but we have a history, my  jacket and I, and never will I tire of its petrol-slick shimmer. 

I gathered the courage to make a new lining for it after seeing this article.  I didn’t need to follow the tute too closely, as my jacket is very simple.  I was mostly spurred on by this promise from the contributor Cal Patch: “once you learn to reline your coats, you’ll never again have to carefully fold your coat over restaurant chairs so no will see the tattered lining inside.” 

Good grief, so I’m not the only one?!  Meggipeg recently commented that she rarely has time for making her own alterations so I was wondering if you too have a shaming equivalent to “cobbler’s children”?!  Are you perchance a hairdresser with inches of roots?  An IT specialist with years’-worth of photos dumped in hundreds of incorrectly dates folders?!  Or do you also remove your coat with stealth!?


Tips for Sewing with Leather

I have no wish to teach granny to suck eggs here (to use another favourite expression), but I’d like to finish with a few tips I picked up from sewing leather for the first time.

1. Buy a pack of leather needlesI broke the first one immediately when it got caught in the glue with which the pocket welts were stuck to the inside of the jacket. 

2. Keep stitches long, slightly short of the basting stitch.  Your machine will seem to advance in leaps as a result, so if you can, keep your speed slow for control.

3. Keep the lining on top.  When sewing leather to lining, keep the lining on top if you don’t have an even feed/walking foot.  Otherwise, the leather will advance more and the lining might stop short of the jacket.

4 thoughts on “Cobbler’s Children

  1. Ha ha, yes that is a great expression. Well done you being so industrious with your jacket and coat linings. It must be so satisfying to have done them. I think for me it’s even less inclination than time to do alterations! I’m terrible as I sew custom cushion covers to make a bit of money on the side, but my own outdoor setting is in a very sorry state. I’ve had the fabric to re-cover it for ages but somehow I just can’t face it! Oh dear.

  2. Hmm. Yes I have a huge stack of mending & alterations to do. Buttons to sew on, patches to put on my boyfriend’s jeans (why are men so hard on clothes?), fitted sheets which need a seam taken out of them to make them fit the bed…..you get the picture. None of these jobs will take long or are partcularly difficult but some how I never seem to get around to them.

    • Hi Jane
      They’re never particularly creative or interesting jobs, are they? No wonder they’re at the back of the queue.

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