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
We (HEART) this story in the newest NO’ALA Magazine (on pages 110-117) about our custom made Bridal gowns:
It takes a village:
“Once the elements of the gown are chosen, Diane, the master seamstress, measures the bride and Carra-Ellen cuts the fabric and prepares the pattern. Steven, the production manager, applies the stencil to the fabric using an airbrush technique. And with Natalie’s stamp of approval, Olivia prepares the kits for the artisans.
The artisans, who are all from the North Alabama area, are independent contractors, who charge per square inch, depending upon the intricacy of the stitching. This cottage industry-style production model allows artisans to work from their own homes and set their own wages.”
“Brides should allow three weeks for online orders and several months for a custom gown. ‘It’s a slow process,’ says Lyndsie, ‘but it’s well worth the wait.’”You can contact Lyndsie: office (at) alabamachanin.com and read the whole story here. Look for our new bridal line to launch soon.
P.S.: What did you wear to your wedding(s)?
“A handmade silk slip underneath a silk brocade, baby blue fur-collared evening coat from Anna Molinari, heels, and a diamond choker,” says Natalie. “Totally 1996.”
No one can find inner peace except by working,
not in a self-centered way, but for the whole human family.
- Peace Pilgrim
There are many ways to make DIY Peace.
Mildred Norman set off on New Year’s Day and began to walk across the country in the name of peace. Changing her name to Peace Pilgrim, she said, “I shall remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace.” Peace Pilgrim continued her journey until her death in July 1981. That’s 28 years of walking for peace.
Others have worked for peace in their own ways. There have been singers for peace, like Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, or Bob Dylan. Many have spent their lives attempting to create peace on a global level: Nelson Mandela, fellow Southerner Jimmy Carter, Elie Wiesel. There are those like Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, who have devoted their lives to prayer and meditation for peace. So many across the world continue to protest and work for peace.
At Alabama Chanin, we only know how to do what we CAN do to promote peace… So, for today, while it may seem trivial, that’s as simple as our Peace Skirt. It’s not earth shattering; it’s a skirt. However, perhaps the time sewing, and/or the time wearing will give us each a little time to reflect, or to work towards peace it in small ways for our own lives.
Make your own or purchase our DIY Peace Skirt Kit (kit comes ready-to-sew and includes all fabric, floss, and thread needed to complete your project).
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.
For November, we’re featuring the Couching technique as our Desktop of the Month. Couching lends substantial weight and warmth to any garment. The final days of October brought quite a chill to Alabama, perfect weather for my favorite couched coat. I love pulling out my coats for the first time of the season; a sure-fire signal fall has arrived and the holidays are just around the corner.
We hope you have a cold-weather favorite you reach for year after year. Or, if it’s time to start working on a new favorite, you might consider making your own coat and embellishing with the Couching technique. The Alabama Chanin version of the technique is featured on page 110 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design and shows several variations to work using beads or cotton yarn with a parallel whipstitch.
This hi-resolution photograph, for use as your computer desktop background, is now available to download from our Resource Downloads.
September’s Desktop of the Month features our Anna’s Garden pattern worked with an appliqué technique.
Create your own Studio Style garment using these techniques with our Anna’s Garden stencil, our Dove and Dark Grey medium-weight organic cotton jersey fabrics, and the help of our Studio Books. Notions and other necessities for our DIY projects can be found under the Fabric + Sewing tab of our website.
This hi-resolution photograph is for use as your computer desktop background and is now available to download on our Resource Downloads page.
A helpful resource for your sewing box or design studio. The book categorizes many types of needles: bodkins, embroidery, quilting, sharps, and more.
When working on a new collection, part of the design process involves creating fabric swatches in various colorways and patterns, and using an assortment of embellishment techniques. These “samples” help us quickly and sustainably choose the perfect finish for our garments.
I’ve written before about our Sample Block library and swatches as part of a sustainable design practice. Unfortunately, not all created swatches make their way into the final collection and library. Subtle changes might happen in the design process or a color dropped from the line altogether. However, these swatches are all beautiful in their own right. A stunning way to display them (rather than having them collect on my desk) is to incorporate these swatches into a Sampler Block Shawl, modeled after the Sample Block Quilt.
The 10” x 16” dimension is based on the size of the binders we use to store our fabric blocks. You can use any dimension of fabric block you’d prefer by cutting organic cotton jersey to your desired size.
For the August Desktop of the Month, we are featuring the backside of fabric using a backstitch. These stitches were made with our Button Craft thread on our 100% organic cotton jersey fabric.
We believe that this is a simple reminder that beauty can be found behind the scenes and out of the spotlight. The things that support and hold us all together are as essential as they are inspiring.
If you’re not familiar with the backstitch and would like to learn the technique, along with many others, reference our Studio Books Series which include how-to sections, complete with images and instructions.
This hi-resolution photograph is for use as your computer desktop background and can be downloaded from our Resources page.
Photo thanks @Rinne Allen
From the Creativebug Website:
“Reverse applique is the signature look of Natalie’s designs at Alabama Chanin. Natalie demystifies the process in this workshop, showing you how to add depth and texture to a cotton table runner. The technique is worked on two layers of fabric, with the top layer stenciled and then stitched to the backing layer. Once stitched in place, parts of the top layer are cut away to expose the color below for a satisfying final reveal.”