Tag Archives: DIY Kits



The Eagle T-Shirt is the second in a new series of Men’s DIY projects, designed in a style that is flattering to both men and women. The Eagle stencil has been in the Alabama Chanin library for several years now. We shared instructions on how to create the stencil and apply it to a basic recycled t-shirt in 2008. (Read more about that here). Since those early years, we’ve designed and created patterns for Alabama Chanin original t-shirts, which you can see on Natalie’s son, Zach, above.

The long sleeve t-shirt is made with our 100% organic cotton jersey and constructed with floating outside seams that add a nuanced detail, emphasizing the hand-stitched quality, though you can make your own design decisions.

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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.


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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.


Fabric weight – Alabama Chanin 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




San Francisco has long been a favorite city for Alabama Chanin, a place with long-standing friendships, and where we’ve met some of our biggest fans. This weekend and for a few days next week, Alabama Chanin is hosting a series of events in the city.

Join us:

Tonight, August 15, 2013
Southern at the Table

5:00pm – 8:00pm

Heath Ceramics
2900 18th Street
San Francisco, California 94110

The Southern Foodways Alliance highlights Southern food culture with a documentary on Tennessee barbecue pitmaster Helen Turner and we host a Southern at the Table marketplace featuring food products from small businesses throughout the South, including Jack Rudy, Farmer’s Daughter, Shotwell Candy Company, Anson Mills, Alabama Biscuit Company and Virginia Willis My Southern Pantry Heirloom Grits.

Twenty percent of Thursday evening’s sales will go to support La Cocina initiatives.

For more information on Southern at the Table visit here or contact office(at)alabamachanin.com.

August 15, 2013 – September 1, 2013
Home Trunk Show

Heath Ceramics
2900 18th Street
San Francisco, California 94110

A pop-up marketplace will be open in the Heath studio Thursday, August 15 through Monday, September 1, 2013, featuring gorgeous, hand sewn textiles for the table from Alabama Chanin, the new the Camellia dinnerware collaboration, and the continuation of the Southern food marketplace featuring southern-made goods including Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Small Batch Tonic and Grenadine, Virginia Willis’ Stone Ground Grits, Alabama Biscuit Company’s Biscuit Mix, and others.

August 14, 2013 – August 26, 2013
Alabama Chanin Studio Style DIY Trunk Show (our first ever)

A Verb for Keeping Warm
6328 San Pablo Avenue
Oakland, CA 94608

Hours: Wednesday 11-7, Thursday 11-8, Friday 11-6, Saturday 10-6, Sunday 11-6, Monday 11-6, Tuesday Closed

Come see a variety of garments in various sizes, look through our swatch books, and imagine your DIY project. DIY kits, the Alabama Chanin Studio books, fabric and sewing notions will be for sale. 10% off DIY Kits. Bring in your Studio book (or buy a book) and receive 10% off Alabama Chanin organic cotton jersey fabric.

For more information, contact  A Verb for Keeping Warm: +1.510.595.8372


August 15, 2013 – August 16, 2013
Alabama Chanin Collection Trunk Show

Red Bird
By appointment only.

Special orders will be taken.
Contact: 510.644.0294

Saturday, August 17, 2013
One-Day Workshop

10:30 am – 5:30 pm

Heath Ceramics
2900 18th Street
San Francisco, California 94110

Our One-Day Workshop offers the Alabama Chanin experience in a casual, day-long session. Work with Natalie Chanin and our Alabama Chanin team to create one of our DIY Projects. Suited to beginners and experienced sewers alike.


For more information, contact Alabama Chanin: workshops (at) alabamachanin.com
or call Olivia at +1.256.760.1090





Join us for our first ever Studio Style DIY Trunk Show

August 14 – August 26, 2013

@ A Verb for keeping warm
6328 San Pablo Ave
Oakland, CA 94608

For more information, contact: office (at) alabamachanin.com or A Verb for Keeping Warm + 510.595.8372.

Trunk shows have long been a part of the Alabama Chanin business model. It’s a rewarding experience to share the Collection with fashion enthusiasts and loyal customers, to watch them fall in love with the details and intricacies of our hand-sewn, hand-embroidered garments.

Now, for the first time ever, we are hosting a trunk show solely for our Studio Style DIY customers. Makers will have the opportunity to handle and try on the basic, unadorned pieces in a range of sizes, while reviewing a selection of fabric swatches that can be made into custom DIY Kits.  Additionally, there will be a selection of our embellished garments, Studio Style books, fabric swatches, fabric, and a variety of notions for sale.

If you know a knit shop or sewing store in your community where you’d like to see our Studio Style DIY fabrics, kits, and supplies, or a Studio Style DIY Trunk Show, reach out and let us know. For more information on wholesale accounts and for setting up a Trunk Show, contact office (at) alabamachanin.com or call +1.256.760.1090 and ask for Betsy.


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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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Long a favorite image for textile patterns, the fern is an adaptable plant, suited both to moisture-rich, woodland areas, and tall rock crevices. It is also an air-filtering plant that can eliminate certain dangerous chemicals from the environment. Natural elements have often inspired our stencil designs, including this Satin Stitched Fern, one of our oldest, perennial designs. Here, the satin stitches mimic the texture of real fern fronds and add a textured relief to the fabric.

This hi-resolution photograph, for use as your computer desktop background, is now available to download from our Resources page. Click here to order your own Custom DIY Kit.

This photograph illustrates one of the many options you can create yourself when you opt for a Custom DIY kit. View our Alabama Chanin Custom DIY Guide and see the hundreds of options available when you select your garment, fabric, embroidery or treatment, colors, threads, and other choices.


Fabric – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Backing Layer – Silt
Top Layer – Silt
Stencil – Fern
Treatment – Satin Stitch
Textile Paint – Pearl Grey
Thread – Slate




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.



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:


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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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