DONNA KARAN (+ ALABAMA CHANIN DIY DRESS)

Earlier this week, I wrote that, as a designer, I feel a deep connection to Donna Karan. Today, for DIY Thursday, we feature a Donna Karan dress constructed in the Alabama Chanin style. It works up beautifully using our medium-weight organic cotton jersey in a single layer and with our organic lightweight cotton jersey in a double layer for the Outside Reverse Applique, as detailed in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

To make your own basic Donna Karan à la Alabama Chanin dress:

SUPPLIES

Donna Karan Vogue Pattern #V1175
2 yards of 60”-wide 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
1 spool Coats & Clark Button Craft thread
Basic sewing supplies: fabric scissors, pins, needles, ruler, rotary cutter
Alabama Stitch Book, Alabama Studio Style, or Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: All three of these books contain the basic sewing and embroidery techniques we used to make our version of this dress.

Follow the (very concise) Vogue instructions exactly as written for everything but the neckline and armhole finishing. Hand-sew all seams with a straight stitch, using a single strand of thread on our Alabama Chanin cotton jersey. We omitted the lining of the dress, as our fabric is substantial enough that a lining is unnecessary. We felled our seams for the dress above, but that is a matter of taste and desired style.

For the neckline and armholes, we applied our standard Alabama Chanin rib-binding with Cretan stitch, but any stretchable embroidery stitch (such as cross-stitch or herringbone stitch) will work as well.  Leave hem raw.

DESIGN CHOICES

Fabric weight –Alabama Chanin 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Fabric color – Light Golden
Coats & Clark Button craft thread- color #256 Cream
Knots – When you start and finish a length of thread, double-knot on the inside of the garment.
Binding Stitch – Cretan Stitch (This is the stitch used to sew the rib-binding at the neckline.)

To make your own Donna Karan à la Alabama Chanin outside reverse appliqué dress:

Supplies:

Donna Karan Vogue Pattern #V1175
2 yards of 60”-wide 100% organic lightweight cotton jersey for top layer
2 yards of 60”-wide 100% organic lightweight cotton jersey for backing layer (in same color as top layer or in contrasting color – as desired)
Alabama Chanin Anna’s Garden stencil
Textile Paint
Basic sewing supplies:  fabric scissors, embroidery scissors, pins, needlesrulerrotary cutter

Cut out your pattern pieces in the desired size from your fabric for the top layer and repeat by cutting matching pattern pieces for the backing layer. Stencil your cut top layer of the dress with the Anna’s Garden stencil and textile paint. Pin together the top and bottom layers of each pattern piece, right sides of both layers facing up.  Using a single strand of Button Craft thread and straight stitch, embroider the Anna’s Garden pattern using Alabama Chanin’s outside reverse appliqué technique from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

After all of the pattern pieces are completed, sew the dress by hand using a single strand of Button Craft thread and following the instructions for the basic dress above.

DESIGN CHOICES

Fabric weight – Alabama Chanin organic lightweight cotton jersey
Fabric color top layer – Carmine
Fabric color backing layer – Carmine
Stencil – Anna’s Garden
Treatment – Outside Reverse Applique
Textile paint – Grey
Button Craft thread — Coats & Clark color #128 Red
Knots – When you start and finish a length of thread, double-knot on the inside of the garment.
Binding Stitch – Cretan Stitch (This is the stitch we used to sew the rib-binding at the neckline.)


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12 thoughts on “DONNA KARAN (+ ALABAMA CHANIN DIY DRESS)

    1. erin

      this is really fascinating. I have wanted to try using your techniques to make a jacket to go over the other pieces ive made. This really inspires me. Is there something specific to look for in a pattern?

      Reply
    2. Laura

      Beautiful! I have been wondering…can you take any pattern intended for woven material and make it with the jersey?
      Thanks!

      Reply
  1. Grace

    I’ve made this pattern! I love it and have often thought about making a more casual version (mine was made of silk tafetta). I’ll keep this one in mind.

    I just love these designer pattern inspiration posts.

    Reply
  2. Alabama Post author

    For questions about the pattern:

    You can translate our fabric into any pattern. Some adjustments may have to be made on a case by case basis. Our experience when translating the Vogue patterns into Alabama Chanin style has been successful. We haven’t run across any complications or problems, and think the final garments are as fitting as they are beautiful!

    Reply
  3. Keren

    The length here seems longer than the original pattern-could you describe the modifications? Is the extra length only in the hem? It looks incredibly flattering. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Alabama Post author

      Keren,

      We omitted the lining of the dress and left out the hem, as our style is to leave the edges raw. The extra length comes from this. We hope this helps!

      Reply
  4. jamie

    love this dress and just ordered the pattern. next is ordering the material from your company. such a sweet dress!

    Reply

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