Wednesday, April 7, 2010

work in progress

I am head over heals in love with Alabama Chanin. I have not been this inspired to sew in years. It is incredibly liberating to sew without a machine! After combing through her website and blog over and over just swimming in the possibilities, I decided to try my hand at some of her techniques. I've leafed through her books at my local B&N, and took a few basic notes. I figure if my first couple of projects turn out well, I'll bite the bullet and buy both books.

I saw this skirt on her site and thought about a red dress I have but never wear. It's a sporty knit mini-dress. I'm really not sure why I bought it years ago. I wasn't exactly into sports, and I can't imagine wearing a dress for it if I was.

Here's a shot of it (with horribly bright, color altering light) of the dress after I applied the bloomers pattern from Ms. Chanin:

I read a tip in her book about using contact paper for homemade stencils, and it works really well. I have this thing lately about only using what I have on hand or can get for free for my projects. Fortunately, I had some contact paper, fabric paint and old unworn clothes to play with. yay!

So the concept here is to use two layers of knit fabric, then cut away the top layer in a pattern to reveal the layer underneath - reverse applique. In order to have a pattern to follow, you stencil it on with fabric paint. That way you have a little color at the cut edges when you've finished stitching and cutting. I plan to use this old Abercrombie shirt for the backing fabric. I'm glad I bought this XL!

I cut off that awful top and have made it lower. I plan to add spaghetti straps using the darker burgundy material (which is delightfully thick and soft - gotta love vintage A&F), and perhaps beading it to make it fancy. I'm thinking this will be a cool date dress.

I was MOST excited about cutting this blasted logo off the dress:

I hated this so much, it was usually the reason I didn't wear it. And now it's gone!
I realized as I was making this that it would be reversible - when you turn it inside out you see the Abercrombie logo and the writing from the back of the shirt all covered with the stitches from the bloomers pattern. I think this is going to be a really cool dress.
I'm afraid you will have to put up with much more I-love-Alabama-Chanin posts. I'm already working on another project which I will share soon...


  1. She is indeed very cool! I'm not sure I understand your explanation of the stenciling technique 'cause I don't understand the two layer of fabric bit--- but very cool!

  2. I love all of your projects! I love to sew, but am not even able to make clothes! Props to you! :) Can't wait to see what you're working on next!