Category Archives: Block Printing

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.






Block printing

I like the pink blocks best. They don’t crumble like the blue ones and the white ones. So far I haven’t liked the Lino or wood because it’s much harder to carve and I can get as much detail with the pink as I need.
I tried tracing with carbon paper and all that but now I just keep it simple by free hand drawing with a ballpoint pen. You don’t have to follow the lines exactly and you can really see what you’ve got with no smudges.
I use a bunch of carving tools that you can buy in almost any art supply store. “NIji” brand tools have a straight wooden handle. “Speedball” has a set with a bulbous red handle. I don’t recommend one over the other, I just pick up whatever feels sharpest and right at the moment.