Tuesday, 10 August 2010


It's a couple of years now since Natalie Chanin's Alabama Stitch Book was released and although I loved the ethos of recycling t-shirts for the cotton jersey, the emphasis on hand stitching and the lovely techniques that it describes, most of the projects left me cold and I wasn't inspired really to try any of them. So the techniques remained inspiring but I didn't really feel that I had anywhere to use them.

Then along came Alabama Studio Style and - hooray!! - there is so much in it to love and want to make and bead and embroider and .... Given the intricacy of the decorative work on these projects, I really do feel like they are something that I could quite easily occupy myself with for the rest of my life. There is the one basic camisole dress with a number of variations, including a tank top neckline and skirt option.

So last night, rather than try and work out what I want to be knitting, I grabbed some paper and cut out the pattern pieces to make the tank top. I am absolutely taken with this image from the book and would also like to try making a dress at some point. Thing is, as much as it impresses me, I don't think that I could stay true to the hand-stitching ethos. I might just machine sew the garment seams and then do any finishing by hand. I am hoping to go eco though and construct the tank top out of some existing t-shirts. I just have to see whether I'll have enough yardage.

My only regret about these garments is the sleeves - there are no sleeves. I really like sleeves and am constantly left wondering why they are not included on so many projects. Is it because they are too hard to draft? I hope not, because then what hope would I have of improvising some? Do designers think that their audience is not interested in/scared of fitting and sewing sleeves? I guess that I am but only because their lack of inclusion makes me think that there is something scary about them. Sleeves please!!

1 comment:

Di said...

Great book! Setting in sleeves can be a fiddle, trying to get things that curve in different directions to sit together evenly can be hard. I have to say I love it when I find a pattern for a top that avoids the need to set in a sleeve, but still has a good fit or style to it.