Monthly Archives: August 2016

My take on Alabama Chanin: a first look


I’ve been reading about Natalie Chanin and her beautiful line of clothing made with her hand appliquéd cotton knit fabric.

See her story at

I’ve started with two layers of fabric cut from two t-shirts, one white and one gray.  I mixed up some pink paint and block printed the leaves onto the top gray fabric and then basted the layers together.

Using #8 perle cotton I basted around the prints just inside the edges through both layers. Then I went back and cut out the centers of the stitched leaves.

I think that her method for constructing clothing is to cut out the pattern pieces, work the stitching on them and then sew the garment together.

This is my first attempt and I have no plans for it, but I think I will be making something to wear eventually. I love to have lap work I can bring around with me and this is perfect.






One Pattern= many possibilities

Inside the Spring 2013 issue of STITCH magazine by Interweave Press I found this pattern for  “Sweet Rain Jacket” designed by Katrin Vorbeck


There was  download link  so I printed it out. Many pages. I organized them, taped them together, chose my size and cut out the pattern pieces. All of that took almost as long as making the garments! And it was well worth it. I am about to start a third project with this cool pattern.

Here is the first garment I made. It is a spring coat, not a raincoat. It is a beautiful woven fabric from my stash about the weight of light denim, same on both sides, 100% cotton. I used large black snaps and embellished it with a running stitch using dark red Perle cotton size 5 “Old Brick” from . I didn’t line the hood so I used vintage cotton grosgrain ribbon to conceal the serger stitches along the inside hem of the hood.

Then I took down some lovely flimsy old linen from France that I was using as a curtain for my closet.  I used the faggoted edge as the hem of this dress and made it floor length. I found some tiny mother of pearl buttons in my great grandmother’s stash. The buttons were so small I didn’t want to spoil the look making either machine or hand made buttonholes so I simply sewed them on and they are decorative only.

Instead of a big box pleat I gathered the fabric around the empire waist. I lined the hood to give it more umph and I do like the way it looks all drapey down the back. Wispy as a nightie, a beach cover up or a pretty party dress- I really love how this came together.