Anita Carter’s grandfather began making eiderdowns in Wellington in the 1940s. 70 years later Anita is following in his footsteps with her home business Eiderdowns by Anita. She still uses her grandad’s original “downmachine” patterns and until recently, even one of his sewing machines!
What do you make?
Eiderdowns by Anita is a small home based business where I remake old tired, threadbare eiderdowns into new items to last many more years, or make completely new items.
How did you get into your craft?
I can remember my mum asking when I was about 16: “Would you like me to teach you how to make eiderdowns?” – well that was the last thing I wanted to do at that age! I had been sewing since I was about 10, making my own clothes and selling rag dolls and other crafty bits and pieces before I started high school.
I began to work for NZ Post and with early starts, I had the afternoons free, so yes I did learn the making of eiderdowns. I had been filling eiderdown, duvets, sleeping bags as a teenager, but the making of a complete eiderdown took some time. Making up a small frill for a eiderdown took so long, I would watch my mum making it up so fast, thinking I could never do that – well I can now.
Being able to work from home when my four children were young was great. So each grew up, using my old sewing machines and overlocker, with an endless supply of fabric scraps, and of course feathers.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I have no formal training for this, just a passion for fabrics, and a very creative mind I guess.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I enjoy sewing and love some of the amazing fabrics that come to me from customers to make their new eiderdown in. I’ve made so many up, but still have a few of my favourites. (more…)