Sunday, January 8, 2017

Alabama Chanin

 I hinted in my New Year's goals that I wanted to make some clothing this year in the style of Alabama Chanin. Do you know about this? Alabama Chanin is located in Florence, Alabama, and is the brainchild of Natalie Chanin.

Her laid-back style has been on the runways of New York City. She is the only clothing designer I know of who shares her techniques, writes how-to books about them, and even teaches workshops. Natalie sells fabric and supplies at her website for do-it-yourselfers:

I've long admired her work. So with my Christmas money, I ordered all four of her books. (I got most of them used through Amazon...)

Here's a photo I grabbed from the Internet that show an example of Alabama Chanin style. She creates the most wonderful textured fabric for garments by using two layers of knit fabric, stenciling a design on the top layer, hand stitching around the stencils, and cutting out the center of the top layer image. Yes, knots are usually left on the top. It's very organic and natural.

Here's the basic top pattern I plan to make first - I'm making the shorter length on the far right. This pattern is included in the book on a cd. But first I need to find my cd drive for my computer - that's on today's list of things to do!

As far as my fabric goes, I order some knits on-line. The white was SO white. So I dyed half of it to a soft gray. I plan to have the gray as the outside layer with the white underneath. 

I did not buy fabric from Alabama Chanin - her's is made from organically grown cotton and is $49 per yard. I'm trying to do this on a budget...

And here's the stencil pattern I plan to use. It's also included in one of the books - I'll trace it on stencil plastic. Instead of spray painting the pattern on the fabric (as Alabama Chanin does) I'll be using a fabric paint marker. 

All of Alabama Chanin clothing is hand stitched. Yes, even the seams are hand stitched. Very couture, no? Of course, I LOVE hand stitching, so this works for me just fine. 

I'll be needing lots of new clothes later this year. I'm getting rid of clothes right and left because most of it is now too big - a good problem to have. And so I hope to make a few pieces in this style to fill in the gaps...a couple of tops, maybe a skirt, and a dress.  We'll just see how it goes with this top first.

So that is what I'll be up to later today. (If I can find my cd drive!) I hope to print out the pattern, cut out the fabric, and maybe begin to prepare the stencil. Once I have all the prep work done, this will simply be another hand stitching project for my evenings.

Despite our COLD weather, we went swimming yesterday. The warm water felt so good! I did skip out on the hike with Cooper though Hubby braved the cold. Today I'll bundle up and hike though. The sun is out and it's a beautiful, though cold day. 

I hope you have a lovely day!



  1. I"ll be watching your progress with this project with interest. I own AC's Craftsy class in which she teaches this embroidery technique and have been wanting to try it out. I have several brightly colored knit dresses (hand dyed) that I am about to retire from my wardrobe and I think I will use them to make at least one garment this way.

    :) Linda


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