Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stop the presses!!!........

Hold your horses!!!

or the other famous cliché

"It's always best to make a sample before you start a time consuming project"

If you've been following along, a while ago I began a project where I decided to re-make a well loved dress of mine.

I also decided to stitch it up a la Alabama/Chanin style....

using her beautiful organic cotton jersey 
 hand cutting the stencil called Anna's Garden with the intention to use a 
 negative reverse appliqué technique found in her beautiful book
Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

Not to mention I will sew the garment by hand,

which goes without saying if you are familiar with Natalie Chanin's trademark techniques.

To proceed with caution seemed to be a good thing.

I have been reluctant to begin stitching, so I decided to make two samples.  

This is where it gets a little 'odd'.   I 'thought' I was making a sample to see if I'd like to use off white or gray thread.  And while I was stitching up the pattern sample with the off white thread....

The way it said to in the book....

I then decided that I liked the off white thread well enough,

but what I wasn't sure about were the instructions to stitch 1/8" within the design

and cut away 1/8" outside the design.  

So I made my next sample

stitching 'on' the design lines......

and cutting away 1/8" from that.

The detail is slightly different.....

But OH what a difference in the end.

The A/C way with the 1/4" reveal became a little too 'floppy' and less 'sturdy' looking after I rinsed it.

And I liked the second way better.  It felt more substantial and finished....less casual looking.

Now I can proceed with confidence.  

My way.

The bad news is that the new technique is even more tedious to cut away.  

What else is new.

"It's always something."

or as my Mom used to say....

"It hurts to be beautiful."

*BTW: I used a gray marking spray that quickly disolves in cool water. That part worked great.


  1. hmm, i rather liked the stencil marks...

    1. I quite agree. That look is also A/C's signature. Which is accomplished by 'spraying' fabric paint onto the jersey. This is best done with an airbrush and fabric paint. I am not in 'love' with fabric paint and if I still have it, my airbrush is in storage. I didn't use it for years so I probably got rid of the compressor, which I also didn't like because it was too noisy. So there are two good reasons for me not to not use that system. So I opted for marking the stencil with chalk spray.....which coincidentally was a great color contrast to the fabric color I's always something......

  2. Quite prudent to make this samples! I also like more the 2nd one (stitched on the lines) It's a pity that your colour disappears after rinsing. (I also don't like spraying and have no airbrush pistol ... I now work with a stencil paint brush)

    For my work on the skirt in negative applique I now have also doubts. I began to cutting out my motives on one piece and I feel that now it's quite more stretchy than before. Courious what effect that will have on the skirt ... and I hope it will not be too much!

  3. Yes, Liselotte, I believe we have to consider what the fabric will 'act' like with each technique. For instance, I wanted my skirt to have more 'body' to hold in my bumps and lumps, so I picked the simple leaf design. Much of both of the layers remain doubled, so it is essentially a 2 layered skirt. For my dress, I wanted it to be more loosely structured. So I picked the technique above. Some of the patterns are even more open, so they would be even more unstructured. So yes, samples are good. Natalie actually stressed that in her class. I am not sad about the color dissolving, although I agree, it WAS a perfect color for the fabric. This will be a very understated frock. It is what I intended.

  4. How interesting, I love the Alabama Chanin style, I hesitated when I looked at the book and then decided not to buy it since the technique seemed too time consuming.
    But the result is so beautiful that I might give up and buy it.
    Congratulations for your sampling, it was well worth the effort.

  5. "It's the 'journey', not the destination" quote another cliché. Her technique is very satisfying, and if you don't do her fancy appliqué techniques.....hand stitching a simple garment her way makes a very nice comfortable piece of clothing. Thanks for the cudos on my is never an easy decision to make them.

  6. I am dipping my toe in the AC water and just received one of her books. I will follow your lead by making a sample, and might just make my own marks with stitching instead of applique. Will watch for you to post your completed skirt.

    1. Courage my dear. Samples are a great way to start. And personal marks are the BEST! And so you know, this garment I'm making is intended to be a 'slow' cloth companion......I'm looking forward to it taking some time to complete.