Category Archives: Alabama Chanin

Stitching – Alabama Chanin Style

Recently I finished up my first garment that was stitched in the style of Alabama Chanin.  This is a far cry from heirloom stitching, but I love the look and enjoyed the process.  Everything about this was new to me.  I’ve never stenciled before.  I’m not great at the stenciling!  But I will persevere and hope to improve on that front.  Thankfully, most of what is stenciled is cut away!

When I first came across this style, I quickly bought a couple of her books – they come with patterns included.  The first book had paper patterns included in the back of the book while the second book had a CD with some of the same patterns, but some newer ones.  Be aware that if you choose to have the patterns printed, it can be expensive as they are on large paper.  One of the ones that I had printed ended up being $13.  I may try tiling them on the home printer next time and see how that works.  The books include detailed explanations on how to achieve the look.

To create the garments, the pattern pieces are first cut, then stenciled and then layered (stenciled fabric on top of base fabric) and pinned or basted together.  Then the handwork begins.  Each stenciled design is stitched around – I chose the easiest method, which was a running stitch.  After stitching around all the stenciled designs, the inside of each design is cut away, leaving just a bit of the stenciled area behind.  I love the resulting effect!

After all the stencils are stitched/cut, then the garment is hand stitched together.  There are many options for this as well – I chose a traditional (inside) seam allowance and then topstitched the seams for additional strength.

I ended up using a pattern that I drafted for my first garment.  It has been quite a learning experience, but a delightful one.  I know that the second garment will be better and I’ll do some things differently.  However, this one is one that I am happy to wear – it’s comfortable, and I am proud to have completed it.

I have my fabric, paint and stencil chosen for the next outfit.  I need to decide on the pattern so that I can get started!  However, last night I discovered that Alabama Chanin is offering a new class on Craftsy, so I immediately signed up and will be watching that before starting the next project – I’m sure that I’ll learn some new things from her – even if it is just watching her hands while she is stitching.  I can’t wait to start!

Since this is a slow process, I’m undecided if I should sew for cooler weather that is coming, or sew another warm weather garment since there are so many hours involved.  Decisions!

I hope you’re continuing to try and learn new things!  It’s always an adventure!!!

Buried in the Sewing Room!!!

If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted lately, it’s because I’ve been buried in the sewing room!  It’s as if I have had ADHD in that room and it’s been chaos in there.  😱

After making the pillowcases for the little girls, I decided that Liam should get a pillowcase for Christmas as well, so I found some cute pirate fabric and whipped up a pillowcase for him.

Once that was completed, I decided to make a knit dress for Ella.  Well, that involved pulling out my tote of knits, going through patterns, Ottobre magazines, etc. and then tracing off patterns, washing knits, and on and on.  In the end, I couldn’t decide what to do as all the patterns I traced off were going to be too big.  Ugh!  I shoved that in the corner and then started working on doll clothes.

I found that I had several doll outfits cut out from when our youngest played with dolls.  Hahaha!!!!  Talk about nearly vintage!  These were 20 years old.  So, I completed a few of those, found more patterns and printed those out and made several, but then got distracted with making purses for the SewPowerful project (due to the affiliation with the doll dresses I was making). If you don’t know about the Sew Powerful project, you need to read up on it and (hopefully) participate!  Cinnamon and Jason have done a wonderful job helping these young girls stay in school with the purses and supplies that they provide as well as helping the moms work.  It’s a fabulous project.

I used some fabric that I had used previously for a tote bag and managed to whip up 7 purses and got them sent in.  Sadly, I only took pictures of the 4 matching ones.  I’ve since seen pictures of so many cute and creative designs and I’ll be doing more with trims and such when I make these again.  This is a year round project, so feel free to jump in and make one or many to send in!!!  I hope to hear that many of you will be supporting this wonderful cause.  The purses are easy to make and don’t use much fabric – it’s a wonderful way to use up stash.

With the purses completed, I started working on something for the Classic Sewing magazine. Of course, that involved pulling out more fabrics, drafting supplies, etc.  At this point there was stuff all over the sewing room!!!  It’s a small room, and the mess was monumental!  So, with a good start on that project, I turned to my Alabama Chanin style project.  I’ve worked on that for a couple of weeks – mostly because it is hand sewing and that way I could avoid the mess in the sewing room.  LOL!

I find this to be such a fun project!  I am not good at the stenciling of the fabric – I sew, I don’t paint.  So that was quite the challenge.  Embroidering on t-shirt fabric is different from any of the other type of embroidery that I’m used to.  It’s been a learning process.  With the embroidery completed, the center of the stenciled part is cut away.

The top is now complete, and I’ll have to get hubby to take a picture of it since I’m pretty sure you don’t want to see the bathroom mirror pictures.  😂

Then I moved on to the next challenge – little boy pants.  Of course, more fabric, patterns, tracing paper, etc. came out.  Yikes – the mess continues to grow.  I have managed to get a great fitting pair of pants for Liam, but that will be my next post.

I’ve cleaned up in the sewing room a bit.  When you lose patterns and fabrics that you need – well, it’s time to clean up.  I am used to working on a couple of projects at a time, but this has been ridiculous.  I will be returning to working on only a coupe things at a time and hopefully won’t get into this mess again.  We’ll see how that goes!

I hope you’re enjoying some fun stitching time!