If any of you are like me, when preparing food, you end up with at least a modest amount of flour, eggs, or whatever you’ve cooked for dinner all over your clothes. (Close family members also know that I am notorious for dropping food, plates, and glasses.) Anyone will acknowledge that this is not a good look when you have visitors over for coffee or dinner. I always keep several aprons on hand for myself or for visitors or little ones who want to help in the kitchen.
We also go through an incredible number of towels in our kitchen. Perhaps I’m messier than I’d like to admit (maybe I can blame that on Maggie). It seems that I always have plenty of dishes that need drying or hands that need wiping. These Tea Towels work perfectly as a napkin or a makeshift bib for messy foods, too. They can be sewn up so quickly that I keep the necessary supplies on hand in case I need a hostess gift.
A “Fat Eighth” is a term well known to many quilters and practiced crafters. For those of you who have never seen or used them, Fat Eighths are bundles of 1/8 yard cuts of fabric often used by quilters to make patchwork patterns. This technique allows makers to create a varied, often colorful quilt that features an array of techniques, shapes, and patterns.
We began offering basic Fat Eighths and Stenciled Fat Eighths in our DIY Store when we learned just how many uses our Studio Book readers were finding for scraps and small pieces of fabric. These fabric squares have uses that stretch far beyond quilting. Readers have related using them as appliqué pieces, shared stories of using the squares to patch holes in well-loved garments, and even reported using scraps as gift wrap. We designed a Quilt of the Month that featured Stenciled Fat Eighths, which was simple, colorful, quite beautiful, and a quick project for both beginning and advanced stitchers.
We have added new options to our selection of Stenciled Fat Eighths: Paisley and Anna’s Garden stenciled squares. In combination with our popular Facets pattern, these options should allow you greater artistic freedom when designing your projects. All Fat Eighths are 9” x 20” and are cut from our 100% organic medium weight cotton jersey. Your stencil selection will be sprayed on each fabric square using our Cream colored textile paint. The bundle contains 25 squares and you can choose from Color Card 1 or 2, or purchase both.
Visit our website for more information on our Stenciled Fat Eighths here.
The Alabama Corset is one of our signature pieces and, over the years, has proven to be the perfect canvas for a wide variety of colorways and techniques. Shown here in Anna’s Garden reverse appliqué, the garment is created by joining two layers of fabric. The top layer is stenciled, then the maker stitches around each of the individual stenciled shapes with thread to create the pattern and join the two layers. After sewing, the inside top layer of each stitched shape is cut away to reveal the backing fabric underneath.
Using our Custom DIY options, you can choose every aspect of a reverse appliqué garment to fit your style and personality. For instance, you can go for a subtle, yet beautiful tone-on-tone approach, as we have shown here. Or, you may choose a high contrast option for your backing and top layers. The Corset shown above is just one example of how you might create your own garment. The technique can be applied to any garment or project and is equally beautiful with bold colors or other neutral tones. View the Custom DIY Guide for more information on your options.
OUR DESIGN CHOICES
Fabric weight – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Backing fabric color – Sand
Top layer color – Sand
Stencil – Anna’s Garden
Embroidery Technique – reverse appliqué (instructions available in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design)
Button Craft thread – Cream #256
Textile paint color – White
Rib embroidery – Cretan stitch
Past & Present is a collection of essays on decorative art history and DIY projects by Design Sponge columnist, Amy Azzarito. Grace Bonney, founder of the very popular Design Sponge website, first met Amy while working on a video project at the New York Public Library. The two became instant friends, as Grace was impressed with Amy’s knowledge and passion for design and the history behind it. Thus the column, Past & Present, was born. In this book, Amy highlights some of her favorite styles in the history of decorative arts and pairs her essays with advice from various designers on creating DIY projects that reflect the eras she writes about.
We chose to create one of the projects, using our 100% organic cotton jersey, to make a Shaker-style hanging lamp.
Yesterday, we heard from Heather Wylie about her Bohemian Bop venture, her love of printmaking, and how she got into screen printing t-shirts. Today, Heather shares with us a recipe for screen printing at home, based on her own self-taught experience and by following You Tube videos and a few books on the subject, including Printing by Hand: A Modern Guide to Printing with Handmade Stamps, Stencils and Silk Screens by Lena Corwin, which we wrote about here a few years ago.
As Heather mentioned yesterday, printmaking requires many steps and each step demands careful attention in order to get the desired outcome. Anyone can print at home, but it is a lengthy process.
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.
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 – 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 #26
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.
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.
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).
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.
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: