Category Archives: DIY + SEWING

DIY KITE (+ BENJAMIN FRANKLIN)

DIY KITE

A ‘Founding Father’ of our country, Benjamin Franklin, was a Renaissance man with many skills, talents, achievements, and innovations. His professional life includes titles such as: scientist, activist, politician, postmaster, inventor, musician, and diplomat. An astute inventor, Franklin counted bifocals, the lightning rod, catheter, odometer, and glass harmonica among his inventions; he even mapped the Gulf Stream. By teaching and practicing the ideology of “paying it forward” and other social justices, he contributed to a greater society.

Benjamin Franklin saw potential in even the simplest things, perhaps most famously in the act of flying a kite. Stepping into a lightning storm with key, jar, and string in hand, he turned what would be a leisurely pastime for most into scientific research.

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CUSTOM DIY: APPLIQUE ROSE STENCIL

CUSTOM DIY: APPLIQUE ROSE STENCIL

Appliqué is one of the first embellishing techniques we learn when advancing our hand-sewing skills. Incorporating appliqué into a garment, even a small placement piece, adds color, depth, and richness to a project, elevating it from a classic to an elaborate one-of-a-kind.

With our Custom DIY options, you can mix and match fabric colors, stencils, and appliqué techniques for a variety of projects. Your custom design will then be cut and stenciled to your specifications and shipped to you, ready to sew. The above image of our Rose stencil appliqué with a simple whipstitch might be used all-over on the Camisole Dress for a special occasion garment, or sewn to a corner of our Market Bag for a subtle embellishment. The possible combinations are inspiring.

OUR DESIGN CHOICES

Fabric weight – Alabama Chanin 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Base Fabric color – Dark Grey
Appliqué fabric color – Dove
Stencil – Rose
Embroidery technique – Appliqué with whipstitch—instructions available in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design
Button Craft thread – Slate

See our Custom DIY page to apply this colorway to one of 20 possible projects (or further customize to your liking).

Follow the Custom DIY Guide to build your own Custom DIY kit.

 

DIY MEN’S BEE SHIRT

DIY MEN'S BEE T-SHIRT - Photos by Robert Rausch

The Alabama Chanin Studio Style DIY selections are expanding with the addition of Men’s DIY items. Many of you have been asking for more men’s options and this is the first in a series of new DIY Kits that we will feature in our online store.

The Bee is one of the earliest stencils I created upon moving back home to begin the work that has become Alabama Chanin. At that time, I was newly-returned to the south after years abroad. Happy to be home, the rural setting inspired a series of animal designs: The Pig, The Steer, The Rooster, and the Eagle (which is available as a T-Shirt in our online store and as a DIY Kit).

The t-shirt body is our ever-popular men’s classic; however, the style has been loved by both men and women alike for over a decade. We are now offering this t-shirt style as a DIY Kit for the first time. As always, you have the ability to embellish the shirt as much or as little as desired – whatever suits your taste (or the taste of the man in your life).

DIY MEN'S BEE T-SHIRT - Photos by Robert Rausch

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CUSTOM DIY UPDATE

CUSTOM DIY UPDATE

Each week we share DIY projects with our Journal readers. Those DIY posts often feature DIY Kits that we sell in our online store. In these kits, makers can choose variations of our design choices (change the top layer or bottom layer fabric color of a garment, for example). But, sometimes we makers prefer to have more options when it comes to creating our own projects. During our Studio Weekend and Studio Week workshops, participants have the opportunity to build their own Custom DIY item, with the guidance and feedback from our skilled staff.

In May of last year, we made the Custom DIY option available to all makers. This allows a maker to build their own, highly tailored DIY kit, offering the ultimate opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind piece. We’ve recently added several more options, including new stencils, new projects, and our Natural Dyed selection of 100% organic cotton jersey fabric.

Read more about the Custom DIY options here.

Get started on your Custom DIY project with the help of our Custom DIY Guide and by filling out a Custom DIY form, or call us at + 1.256.760.1090 for assistance in building your one-of-a-kind DIY kit.

 

ONE-DAY WORKSHOP @ CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE

CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE

Sign up for our July 27th One-Day Workshop @ SPACE in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and receive a special price. This offer is good until 2:00 pm today only.

Get two workshops for $475 (or one for $300).

Participants choose a project from a selection of Alabama Chanin DIY Kits. Suited to beginners and experienced sewers alike. Cost of the workshop includes all required materials and a catered lunch featuring local fare.

Saturday, July 27, 2013
9:00 am – 3:30 pm

Warehouse Row
1110 Market Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402

Cost includes materials, instruction from the Alabama Chanin team, and lunch from Public House.

For more information, contact Alabama Chanin: workshops (at) alabamachanin.com or call Olivia at +1.256.760.1090
M-F 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST.

Click here to register

 

DIY DRAPE DRAPE 3

DIY DRAPE DRAPE 3

For those of you who sew often, you likely understand how something as simple as draping fabric can also be very complex. For those of you who don’t, or who are novice sewers, the technique of fabric draping can involve more than just hanging fabric in a lovely way. It is not likely that a Roman emperor casually tossed a bed sheet over his shoulder one day and called it a toga, just as it isn’t likely that a lovely red carpet gown accidentally folds so perfectly around the waist of a posing starlet.

Technically, draping is the ability of a fabric to fall under its own weight into wavy folds. There are different strategies based upon the weight and stiffness of the fabric, its flexibility and tendency to stretch, and the general effect of gravity upon the fabric. Some softer, more flexible fabrics will make drapes that ripple and are more form fitting; stiffer and thicker fabrics will have less flow. When designing patterns, adding draping to your design increases the pattern-making difficulty immensely.

DIY DRAPE DRAPE 3

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DIY POETRY TANK

DIY POETRY TANK - photo by Robert Rausch

We learn our first real poem around the age of 2 — the ABC Song. Soon, we graduate to nursery rhymes, then rhymes for jumping rope. By the time we reach junior high and high school  we’re reading Epic Poems, like The Odyssey, and reciting Shakespeare in Iambic Pentameter—well sometimes. Songs can be poems set to rhythm. If we’re lucky, perhaps someone has written a love poem or a song—or two—for us.

Poems are rhythmic—they have patterns, beats, stanzas, couplets, and verses. They have been instrumental at critical moments in our history. Witness:

DIY POETRY TANK STENCIL

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CRAFTSY CLASS (A RECAP)

CRAFTSY RECAP

This past February, Alabama Chanin partnered with the team at Craftsy, an online community of makers who offer projects, craft ideas, and courses on dozens of topics. Our online class, Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading, and Embroidery, has provided us with a new way to interact with our fellow makers and has given us the opportunity to share just a few of the techniques that we teach in our Workshops.

We have talked before about the concept of online learning and how the Internet is making education opportunities that were once expensive and inconvenient cheaper and more accessible. Enrolling in online courses takes geography out of the equation. It is no longer essential to sit in a physical classroom with other participants. You don’t have to plan your life around when classes are scheduled. Online classes, like our Craftsy course, allow you the opportunity to learn the same stitches and techniques as someone on the other side of the country, or the world.

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DIY ORGANIC COTTON BATH MAT

DIY ORGANIC COTTON BATH MAT

It is generally understood that taking a shower uses less water than taking a bath. Even so, I must admit to enjoying a good soak occasionally. Either way, my bathing routine can be one of my favorite parts of the day (at least on days when I have time for more than a cat bath). Sometimes, I’ll bring my iPod and speakers into the bathroom to supply a soundtrack for my rituals of teeth brushing, face washing, and a nice scrub. Other days, my mind is busy and I get right down to business solving the world’s problems (I wish) or thinking of the perfect thing that I should have said in a conversation, after the fact. But, most of the time, it provides me with a quiet moment to myself. I recently stayed at a hotel that had the most luxurious vanity table with mirrors that showed way too much, a comfortable chair, and all the things you need to “get ready.” I swore that I was going to create this at home and, as I write this, am plotting an update.

I live in a 1950’s era home with tile floors that seem to stay cold in winter and summer, so a good bath mat is essential to this feeling of luxury. I admit to letting past bath mats get threadbare and unattractive. Many-a-time I’ve just tossed down an old towel when I couldn’t find the bath mat (or it is covered in what was left of the dog’s bath). Neither is an ideal substitute for the real thing.

Last summer, I built an outdoor shower (which definitely works better for dog baths) and I have to say, a bath mat is equally important outdoors and indoors. Below are instructions on how to make your own Alabama Chanin bath mat from our cotton jersey fabric. It’s super soft, easy to wash, absorbent, and will protect you from cold tiles or rough wood—plus, what a great way to use scraps. I’m thinking of a larger one so that the dog might even have his own.

DIY ORGANIC COTTON BATH MAT

And now that the weather has warmed and the sun is out, I can use my much loved outdoor shower. The new deck is a source of great happiness for me, and the shower is something of a dream come true.

SUPPLIES

Aluminum Crochet Hook. (We used Boye Size K/2-6.50MM)
Approximately 2 yards of 100% organic cotton jersey fabric
Olfa rotary cutter
Olfa cutting mat
18” transparent ruler

 

To begin, you will need approximately 2 yards of our cotton jersey fabric. Use your rotary cutter and cutting supplies to cut strips of fabric about 1/2” wide. Take the ends of these strips and pull the ends tightly. Once you have about 240 yards of pulls, tie them end to end to make one long piece. We used a square knot (right over left, then left over right) to join the ends of each pull together.

These pulls were made specifically for this project and are not as thick as our cotton jersey pulls, which are cut into approximately 1″ to 1 1/2″ strips. If you choose to experiment by using our cotton jersey pulls, keep in mind your bath mat will be thicker and require fewer pulls.

To start, chain 55 (or until you reach 22 inches), then turn and double-crochet in the 3rd stitch from the end.

For row 1, double-crochet in each stitch until the end. Turn

For row 2, chain 2 and then double-crochet in each stitch until the end; turn.

Repeat approximately 27 times, or until your piece is 16” tall.

We chose to leave the tails of the ties exposed, both for the look and the texture of the finished bath mat. Feel free to tuck them in if you prefer a cleaner look. Our bath mat measures 22” x 16”, but you can tailor your own to fit the size of your bathroom. You will simply need to adjust the length of your cotton jersey pulls to meet your needs.

DIY ORGANIC COTTON BATH MAT

Use your bath mat inside, or out. Repeated washings and use will just make the mat softer…

 

 

INDIGO FLAG QUILT

INDIGO FLAG QUILT - photograph by Robert Rausch

I am a child of the 1960s…no way around it. And, while denim has been around since 1860’s-era France, the decades of the 60’s and 70’s jump to my mind when I think of this fabric. That era also makes me think of all the controversy around the American Flag and its use as a symbol on both sides of divisive matters like segregation, the Vietnam War, and other social issues. Images of Abbie Hoffman, clad in his American Flag button-up shirt, alongside flags made entirely of cut-up old blue jeans come to mind. Like I said, a child of the 60’s.

We recently received a comment, referring us to the United States Flag Code, suggesting that our American Flag Quilt doesn’t adhere strictly to the advisory rules. I want it to be clear that I love my home and our flag—that symbol of home. The Alabama Chanin representation of the American flag is made by stitching together disparate pieces to create a beautiful, larger whole. We take care with every small scrap of fabric, embroidering each stenciled piece so that when inspected up close, you can see the detail involved; each small piece painted with a different stencil; stitched using a different technique; each technique modified to highlight the possible variations; all somehow fitting together…much like our country.

INDIGO FLAG QUILT - photograph by Robert Rausch

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