Sunday, November 3, 2013

New Jacket Alabama Chanin Style

A little more than a year ago I was turned on to the amazing Natalie Chanin from Alabama Chanin. Check out her wonderful unique clothing designs at  So then I bought all 3 of her books which are wonderful, well written, and in which she shares every detail about making clothes just like she sells on her website.  I was completely amazed and in love with the style so I made a skirt using her techniques, you can see it here  After I had finished the skirt I decided to make another AC project that I had seen in the 3rd book Alabama Studio Sewing +Design.  It is a rectangular wrap/shawl which I thought would be an easy project.   I designed my own stencil design, made the stencil, painted the design, did all of the stitching and cutting out design, got it all finished tried it on and I hated it.  It was too stiff and didn't drape like it should to be flattering.  I folded it up and put it in a drawer.  Fast forward a few months, I was surfing on the Craftsy website and found that there is a Craftsy class by Natalie Chanin called Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric.  I immediately purchased the class and watched it.  The class was wonderful.  I enjoyed having Natalie Chanin "teaching me" all of her techniques and it got me super motivated to do another Alabama Chanin type garment.  I got the idea to use the shawl, which was essentially a 20" x 40" rectangle, as "fabric" to make a more fitted jacket.
I found a Vogue pattern (Sandra Betzina 1036) I liked.  I used plain black knit to make it so that I had enough fabric to cut out the jacket, and then I hand stitched the same stencil design on the black to help make the 2 fabrics work together.
The stencil design was done with a pearl white Lumiere fabric paint.  I like the color of it, but it made the fabric very stiff.  Which made the stitching a bit harder to do.  In the class Natalie talks about using an airbrush to do their stenciling.  It turns out I already have an airbrush so that is how I will stencil my next project.  Also I had used Perle cotton to do all the stitching on this project, which is not what Natalie usually uses, but I wanted the stitching on the black to stand out.  I did a bound edge along the neck and front and used a herringbone stitch to finish it.
Yes, I am already planning my next project.  I really love doing the hand stitching!  The class I took included a Donna Karan (V1263) Vogue pattern, and while I absolutely LOVE the design of the coat I'm just not sure I'm gonna love it on me.  It has a large shawl collar and an overlap at the front that I'm afraid will just make me look fat and frumpy. 
So, I have been searching for the perfect pattern style.  Not sure I have found it yet.  I actually really like the pattern of this grey/black jacket.  And it fits really well.  So I may just do another version of the same pattern.
I have worn this jacket and it is super comfy because of the knit fabric.  And it's great because it looks good with jeans, or a dressier black skirt.
Hope you enjoyed seeing my latest project, thanks for stopping by, Sylvia


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