We spend a good bit of time in the kitchen, planning meals and testing out new recipes to share, while I spend evenings trying to please the taste buds of my picky eater. I’ve found that kitchen twine has a number of uses, including trussing or tying meat when cooking or when you want to keep a stuffing firmly placed inside of something. Use it to tie fresh herbs in a bouquet garni or bouquet garnish (see recipe below) or wrap bacon on the outside of your roast or bird. I also use my twine for tying up birthday presents and pony tails—and stuffed animals at my house are often doctored with bits of twine. You might also try making our Knotted Necklace with this twine. It is thinner than our Cotton Jersey Pulls but made in the same way.
Twine, especially for use in the kitchen, shouldn’t be made from synthetic materials (they can melt or chemicals can seep into your food), and we’ve found this organic, non-toxic option works perfectly.
Confession: I have a certain disdain for flip flops. More often than not, they are considered a faux pas in the fashion world, and sometimes for the right reasons. This being said, I must also confess I own a pair of Havaianas that I bought years ago on my Venezuelan adventure. They are packed snuggly in my tote this week as Maggie and I celebrate spring break with a trip to the Florida Pan-Handle and the beach. Honestly, Maggie saunters in flip flops throughout the Alabama summers. I can hardly get anything else on her feet as the scorching heat necessitates barely-there footwear – if not bare feet. When in Rome…
My flip flop rant aside, our Baby Doll Camisole Dress is also packed neatly in my traveling bag. In fact, a DIY garment often makes its first travels in pieces, taken on long car rides or trans-Atlantic flights to be embellished.
Once complete, squarely folded or rolled up, it easily transports on-the-go. My dress has made multiple trips with me to California, returning to Alabama a little more worn (and loved) each time. The gathered ruffles relax the wrinkles from the trip, and yes, it is possible to tastefully pair our Baby Doll Camisole Dress with flip flops (or your favorite pair of heels) on certain occasions. Look for me at the Seaside Promanade this week in both and this weekend at the Doo-Nanny).
In addition to our Appliqué Baby Doll Top, we now offer our Baby Doll Camisole Dress as a DIY Kit. For this kit, we chose the Camisole Top pattern from Alabama Studio Style rather than our Fitted Top pattern paired with the Baby Doll Dress in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design for a more fitted bodice.
In addition to our Little Flowers and Little Folks stencil collaboration with Anna Maria Horner, we’re also introducing a new DIY Kit: the Little Flowers A-line Tunic. This is one of our few kits available in lightweight organic cotton jersey (along with our Random Ruffle T-shirt and the Paisley Skirt). The relaxed fit and the flow of the lightweight jersey makes this tunic an easy favorite in my day-to-day wardrobe. Think absolute comfort.
The top is fitted through the bust with an empire-style flare that lands just below the hip, providing a comfortable, yet feminine shape. It measures 31 ½” from the shoulder.
The kit comes stenciled with Little Flowers and ready-to-sew with all notions for the project. We also feature our variegated embroidery floss in this project.
While we don’t offer the A-line Tunic pattern in our Studio Book Series, you can simply follow the construction instructions for the Fitted Top on page 52 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.
OUR DESIGN CHOICES
Garment – A-line Tunic; follow instructions for the Fitted T-shirt Top in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design
Fabric weight – Alabama Chanin 100% organic lightweight cotton jersey
Fabric color top-layer – Black
Fabric color bottom-layer – Natural
Stencil – Little Flowers
Button Craft thread for construction – Coats & Clark #2 (Black)
Embroidery Floss – Variegated Black #53
Embroidery technique – Backstitch reverse appliqué; instructions available in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design
Seams – Inside Felled
Click on image to enlarge.
To create Little Folks: 1. Stencil fabric using Little Folks stencil and the stenciling technique of your choice. 2. Backstitch square shapes by stitching directly on stenciled edge. 3. Backstitch circle shapes inside of the flowers by stitching 1/8’ inside stenciled line and cut 1/8” outside of stenciled line. 4. Backstitch diamond shapes by stitching directly on stenciled edge and cut 1/8” inside diamond shape. 5. Backstitch flower shape then cut 1/8” inside the backstitch. 6. Whipstitch straight lines inside the flower shapes. 7. Add satin sequins using eyelet stitch. 8. Add French knots in between satin sequins.
Two years in the making, we are thrilled to officially introduce our Anna Maria Horner collaboration to Alabama Chanin’s Studio Style DIY. In-depth conversations, back-and-forth emails, and Nashville-Florence meetings with Anna Maria resulted in two textile pattern designs called “Little Flowers” and “Little Folks”.
Our collaborative process illustrates the infinite design possibilities that emerge when you start a conversation on design; our collaboration is an enlargement and elaboration of Anna Maria’s textile pattern: Little Folks.
I’ve been a fan of Anna Maria and her lively prints for years. Seeing the evolution of many of these prints into complete fabric collections made me curious to see what one would look like worked in our Alabama Chanin style. Little Folks had all the elements I was interested in incorporating into an Alabama Chanin design: simple forms, intricate detail, and repeating geometric patterns. This elemental approach focused on the essence of her design, evident in the laser-cut stencils.
Monday, we wrote about artist Tilleke Schwarz’s New Potatoes as inspiration for the week. However, Tilleke’s textiles have been a source for inspiration for me for years. When New Potatoes landed on my desk about a year ago, we started the skirt you see above as homage to Tilleke and her work.
We have produced narrative work over the years in the form of our Story Quilts. With that series, we take vintage quilts, refurbish them, and embroider oral histories onto the fabrics. You will find a Textile Stories Quilt project in Alabama Studio Style that describes this series. However, this series is small in comparison to the beautiful narrative work of Tilleke Schwartz.
You can add texture to anything (and everything) with our Spiral embroidery technique from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. Personally, I would like to have a Spiral embroidered couch; however, my production manager just shakes his head.
Perhaps a quicker and easier place to start is with a set of the Spiral embroidered coffee cozies shown above.
Instructions for this coffee cozy below.
Spiral stencil available to download from our Resources page here.
Spiral embroidery instructions available in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.
Time is your own.
Last month we launched our online class, Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading, and Embroidery on Craftsy, along with our DIY Kit for the class, which includes all fabric, thread and paint needed. Originally we offered only one colorway for this project – Italian Plum #12536, shown above. We now have ten additional colorways from which to choose.
Sign up for Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading, and Embroidery with Natalie to learn techniques on completing the project and choose your colorway for the Craftsy Bundle here. Bookmark this post for reference on colorway details and paint recipes for your project.
Fit is by far one of the hardest subjects to address within the realm of manufacturing. There are just so many different body types that it would be near impossible for one manufacturer to address EVERY type in one product—and often times in one line. The most basic body shapes range from round to pear, petite to lean, and every shape in between. When you start to do the math and include XXS – XXL, you come up with a number of patterns that reaches to the Nth power. When you begin to add categories such as Juniors and Misses, it becomes staggering.
Entire classes in design schools and universities around the world spend semesters working on streamlining and finding solutions for fit issues. Body scanners can now take perfect measurements of your body and supposedly create a jean that is perfect for your shape. I find that hard to believe, but based on the shape I have carried with me my entire life, I don’t really care for pants that much anyway.
Couching is another age-old technique that we employ over, and over again as a design practice at Alabama Chanin.
When embellishing, we often use cotton jersey pulls as appliqué to give weight and a sculptural quality to our crafted garments and home goods.
From page 110 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design:
“At Alabama Chanin, we use the term couching to describe a form of appliqué in which cotton jersey ropes are appliquéd to a base fabric with a parallel whipstitch, following a design stenciled on the fabric.”
As one of our advanced techniques, couching requires a steady hand and thoughtful eye to hold the fabric into position as you sew. Continue reading