Category Archives: DIY + SEWING

DIY ORGANIC WRAPPED WREATH

I have to note that we started writing holiday posts about wreath making before the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday morning.  It is incomprehensible for all of us to understand how that community will make it through the upcoming holiday season and beyond.  For me, senseless tragedy can rarely be fully processed.

How strange that one of the traditional emblems of our holiday season—the wreath—is also a universal symbol of mourning.  Both are traditions that seem to have grown out of ancient times and are simply variations of the never-ending ring that, on a deeper level, symbolizes the circle of life. You can find wreaths made as crowns of precious metals and gemstones, of bay leaves for athletes, of straw or stones, as daisy chains made by children, and as the rings of light that we associate with the halo.

We continue our holiday posts today, keeping the families of Newtown, Connecticut in our hearts.  Over the coming days, you will find a series of wreaths that we dedicate to them.

While there is no explaining such a tragedy, sometimes the act of making (or doing) can help us overcome the despair we suffer for the senseless heartbreaking acts of this world.

Continue reading

HOLIDAY SPECIAL: ONE-DAY STUDIO EXPERIENCE (OUR FIRST-EVER)

Take 20% off our new One-Day Studio workshops. The perfect gift for the person who loves to make.

HOLIDAY SPECIAL: WAS $475 – NOW $380

Gift the Alabama Chanin One-Day Studio experience to work with Natalie and our in-house team for a day.

Choose a date or let them decide:

Saturday, February 2, 2013
Friday, May 10, 2013
One-Day Studio Gift

Continue reading

DIY RAG BOA

This project from Alabama Stitch Book, like our Handmade Red selection, and the Holiday Stocking, is another perfect holiday project.  Made from two recycled t-shirts, you can get started with materials you have right in your own closet. (Don’t we all have a few t-shirts we don’t need?)

The project was posted originally on the Cotton, Inc., website in 2008 around the time of the launch of Alabama Stitch Book.  Start practicing now because we have a great DIY Wreath coming up on Monday that is based on this technique. As we wrote in Alabama Stitch Book, the choice of color can add an element of character, which makes it a great way to experiment with color combinations and textures you might not have considered before.

(I also accused my dear friend Eva Whitechapel of whipping hers off from time-to-time for a bit of dusting.)

Happy Holiday Dusting…
xoNatalie

Continue reading

DIY COTTON JERSEY PULLS (OR ROPES)

I use ropes made from our organic cotton jersey fabric for wrapping all of my holiday packages (and for many other things–as evidenced in the DIY instructions below). If you have ever ordered garments or fabrics from our online store, you will have found your contents tied up in one of these Cotton Jersey Pulls. Follow the instructions below to make your own from scraps or from old t-shirts.

You can also purchase a set of ropes from our online store in colors from White-to-Cream, Black-to-Grey, and Colorful– which includes a random range of our most loved shades.

Look for more posts about how to use these pulls in the coming year.

Anything you order from our online store between now and the end of the year will come shipped wrapped, tied with a Cotton Jersey Pull, and ready to gift.

Continue reading

DIY BLOOMERS KNIT (AND STITCH) BANDANA

With the publication of our Alabama Studio Book Series, we open sourced our beloved techniques that these living arts might be preserved for future generations. One of the things that we learned along the way is that people who are dedicated to one particular area of craft can also become converts to another area. The art of working with your hands seems to span all disciplines.

We have customers who are woodworkers, potters, scrapbookers, knitters, and crocheters. Particularly, knitters seem to find themselves at home making Alabama Chanin pieces. Perhaps loop-by-loop finds familiarity with our stitch-by-stitch method. Knitters Melanie Falick (my editor) and Mason-Dixon’s Kay Gardiner are now hand-sewing enthusiasts in the Alabama Chanin style.

Continue reading

DESKTOP OF THE MONTH: DECEMBER 2012

I think that our Beaded Fern treatment lends a holiday feel to December’s Desktop of the Month. Up close, Beaded Fern resembles a holiday tree, but the glass beads can also catch your eye across a crowded room.

Perfect for your next holiday gathering…

Learn more about the Fern Stencil here, download the high-resolution Desktop of the Month here, and flip to page 121 in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design to begin stitching one of your own.

ANNA’S GARDEN PONCHO KIT

Just in time for fall weather and the upcoming holiday season, we’re featuring the Anna’s Garden Poncho Kit. One of our most popular garments, the poncho is a classic piece, fit for most any occasion.

Originally featured in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, the poncho is seen here in our 100% organic cotton jersey fabric in Black with Forest stitched in negative reverse appliqué. We constructed our garment using black Button Craft thread tied with knots on the outside. Continue reading

DIY: SISTER SHIRTS

In the style of “old-school” Alabama Chanin – and perfect for holiday gifts – make our Sister Shirts using mirror-image or mix-and-match sections of your favorite t-shirts. Follow the instructions for our Printed T-shirt Corset on page 155 of Alabama Stitch Book to complete the project.

From the project introduction:

Follow the instructions as given but prepare pattern pieces for two printed T-shirt corsets. Instead of using one of the T-shirts for the whole corset, mix and match by swapping out, for example the center front panel from one of the t-shirts into the center panel of the other. Do the same with the back panels. Ultimately, you will create two shirts that are nearly alike except for the transposed panels.

In the corset tops above, we traded out the Center Back and Middle Front pattern pieces. Leave edges raw and seams floating.

Done.

NOTHING HAPPENS (OR HOOKED ON HANDWORK)

My first sewing project was a “picture” of a flower that I made when I was about seven. I chose green and purple ribbon for the stem and petals, respectively, and a white button for the bloom’s center, which I attached to a square of quilted light blue Swiss dot fabric – aka the sky – with long, sloppy stitches.

It’s not a masterpiece by any means, with its loose stitches, unfinished edges. But precision is supposed to be beside the point when you’re a kid learning a new skill; the fun lies in the creative process, not necessarily the finished product.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had a rather hard time remembering this. I’m more than a little neurotic, and a bit obsessed with perfection, whatever that means. My natural inclination to create with abandon is at permanent odds with my OCD-driven desire for unsullied excellence, and it’s not always pleasant.

Continue reading