I first found out about Natalie Chanin and her Alabama Chanin clothing line a couple of years ago, and I was instantly intrigued. I’d seen another sewing blogger make one of the corset tops and I loved it. For those unfamiliar with Alabama Chanin garments, they are completely hand stitched out of natural jersey fabrics, and often heavily embellished with beads or their trademark cutaway applique/embroidery. It gives a bit of a bohemian, rustic look, but with more contemporary style lines. And for those who love the look but can’t afford the hefty price tag (embellished dresses retail for almost $6000!), Natalie Chanin has published books of her most popular patterns, along with all the instructions to be successful making them.
Hand-sewing a jersey garment: the very idea blew my mind. I love sewing knits on my overlocker–so speedy–but I also liked the idea of having a portable project that was garment sewing rather than knitting or crochet. And I’ve always been good at embroidery so I figured I’d probably enjoy sewing a garment together with pretty but functional hand stitches.
I added Natalie Chanin’s Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns to my Amazon wishlist but didn’t think much more about it, and then out of the blue (well, okay, for my birthday) my sister bought it for me. And so I got large format prints done of my favourite patterns, then waited well over a year to actually get started on one. Not sure what took me so long to take the plunge. Maybe it was the idea of all that handsewing! Continue reading “Alabama Chanin Corset Top”
It had been a few months since I made my last Cleo dress, and considering how much wear I’ve been getting out of that and my first needlecord version, I figured it was high time I made myself another! Yes, finally I have a TNT pattern for a dress. Yay!
In a Nutshell:
A cute little dress that will be perfect for wearing over tights this autumn and winter. And let’s face it, this is England so I’ll probably be wearing tights well into the spring too! Continue reading “The Autumnal Cleo Dress”
So, this is another of my Patterns by Gertie retro inspired makes, and probably the last summer thing you’ll see around here for a while. Ah summer, I miss you! I sewed this blouse up at the end of August/beginning of September, so I haven’t actually been able to wear it other than for the shoot as it’s been a pretty cold autumn so far.
I have to admit, originally I only intended this blouse as a toile, because after looking at online reviews I realised it would probably be too short for my liking. Why not lengthen it, you ask? Well, the pattern pieces have no markings to do this, and they are some of the craziest shaped pattern pieces I’ve seen so I didn’t feel confident making any alterations until I’d had a go at sewing it together.
And then I made it, and it turned out better than I thought, and I should have left it how it was but like an idiot, I thought I could improve things with a purple dye bath…
Not only has the weather in England been shite (none of that Indian Summer everyone’s been going on about all August) but I caught a cold that left me with zero energy. As a consequence, I got hardly any sewing done. Bah! On the plus side I did lounge around watching the latest series of Orange is the New Black and read a few great books (Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty was fabulous!) and it was pleasant to indulge myself in a bit of telly and reading, as I so rarely make time for them these days.
Blogged in September:
Sewing done in September:
Honestly, I have nothing to share here. The Ditsy Flower Corduroy Cleo dress is nearly done, but that’s because I worked on it for an hour yesterday afternoon, so that’s October sewing mostly. While I was sofa lounging and feeling sorry for myself I finished off the last bit of my Alabama Chanin Corset Top, so I’ll be sharing that soon, and also worked a little on the alterations pile. Amazingly enough, I also sewed up the seams on a cardie I knitted years ago and have been putting off finishing ever since. It’s not finished yet as I still have to crochet a border all round and add buttons and so on, but the scariest bit is done. Perhaps I’ll actually manage to finish it off this autumn. Who knows?
I did say I wouldn’t be able to buy anything at the Great British Sewing Bee, but Andy kindly slipped me a bit of spending money and I was able to pick up a few fabrics that will be perfect for long sleeved tops and a jumper this winter. Check them out:
The top one is a lovely soft jersey from Girl Charlee, and the middle is a John Kaldor jersey. Both have excellent 4 way stretch. The bottom one is my wild card. It was called Cookie Monster and is probably largely acrylic, but I loved the look of it and I want something to make a really snuggly winter jumper. Hopefully this will have enough stretch, but although it’s a knit it’s not very stretchy. If it won’t work for a jumper I’ll probably treat it like a woven and make some kind of fake fur gilet, as I’ve been coveting one of those for a few years now 🙂
October sewing plans:
Rather than move all my unsewn September sewing projects over to this month I’ve been thinking about what’s really needed in this house at the moment, and I reckon I’m going to work on the following projects: for me, either a Seamwork Astoria Sweater or a similar pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, using that crazy fluffy knit fabric I bought at the Sewing Bee. Also for me, the Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan in purple ponte (a Minerva sponsored project).
I’m also thinking about the others in the house, and have promised Andy I will finally get around to making him that shirt I’ve been promising for ages, as he definitely needs more work shirts. The first will be in a very boring pinstripe fabric, but if it goes well I’ll make more interesting ones in the future. Daisy needs a school pinny or two, and I will modify the Cleo dress to fit her. Just need to find some suitable black fabric.
And Gabriel is in desperate need of some corduroy trousers, so I’ll be making up an Ottobre pattern I’ve been planning to make him for years now. Luckily he still fits the top size in that one! I doubt there will be time to do anything else, but if there is I’ll start work on piecing a quilt for him too (probably a traditional railfence one as I have a weakness for old-timey quilts), as he’ll need an extra warmth layer for when the nights start turning cold.
What are you planning to make this month? Are you thinking ahead to winter like I am?