Monday, April 23, 2012

Anna's Garden

my DIY kit arrives!

I definitely squealed when my Alabama Chanin DIY dress kit arrived.  I was so desperate to see if I'd chosen the right color that it's amazing I had the willpower to snap this photo before digging in, ya know?

Emerald Green with Bleached Sand underlayer

So this is what I found inside:  2 neatly folded dress halves already cut in my size, strips of fabric for encasing the neck and armhole seams, much thread and a charming Alabama Chanin tag.

Anna's Garden DIY dress kit

Best of all, the dress pieces are already stenciled!  That's huge folks - huge!  This beautiful design is Natalie Chanin's Anna's Garden stencil, which is sold separately here.  Making a reusable stencil is no small task, since you must hand cut all of those small openings with something like an X-Acto Knife.  Alabama Chanin recommends pennant felt as a durable stencil medium.  After my experiments sponge-applying fabric paint, I can see why they suggest using an airbrush tool instead.  I love how the stenciled design is so light and even, with a subtle sparkle.  After all, stiff paint is nothing you'd want to wear.

I heart Alabama Chanin

But back to the color.... Success!  The Alabama Chanin "emerald green" is a lovely pea soup shade or an emerald green with a fresh, springy vibe.  It's really just want I wanted!  The color is saturated without being overtly "look at me!!!"  (Not that you shouldn't look at me, just that I might wear it to a wedding someday and don't want to be too loud about it.  Wink.)  The organic cotton jersey is soft and quite supple.  I would worry it might cling to my curves, but being a double-layered dress, that should be mostly avoided.

basting with 505 spray!

I got right to work basting the underlayer fabric to the outer Emerald Green fabric in preparation for reverse applique.  505 basting spray right on my table!  Yes, it leaves a little residue on the table that washes off and then it's done and done well.  The underlayer shown here is the Bleached Sand color, which is a pale tan.  I actually switched over to White fabric instead, for the underlayer, because I wanted more contrast and less of an earthy vibe for my dress.

 stay stitching

Then I stay stitched the bodice openings to guard against stretching and I was ready to go!

a good place to be

Cozy with some stitching under my do. Good Stitches quilt is definitely a good place to be.

Anna's Garden stitching

I'm not really sure how my "for fun" project ended up being hand stitching when I'm also preparing for the Handstitched class?  Poor planning or fate?  Probably, poor planning.  Nevertheless, it's stitching I immensely enjoy without the pressure of stretching my skills, so it is a welcome retreat.   This weekend I worked on it in the car too, on the way to our biking expedition. So portable.

 I'm going to enjoy this one, bit by bit.  But, expect to see a finish this summer!

26 comments:

  1. I love it so much already! I've nearly finished a top from her latest book as a practice run before I start a similar dress, but being in the uk I didn't fancy getting a DIY shipped over so wish me luck!

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  2. Wow! Gorgeous color and pattern! I can tell you're completely smitten:). One to be enjoyed, for sure. Can't wait to see the end result!

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  3. it looks great rachel and i bet the stitching is very fun. not too demanding but very relaxing. can't wait to see it finished!

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  4. It's going to be awesome, can't wait to see the finished dress! :)

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  5. Ooh,that's going to be so pretty!

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  6. Wow, that is beautiful. Dare i ask, are you going to cut out the shapes after you're done stitching around them?

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    1. Yes, that's exactly right. And I'll probably cut them out as soon as I finish a panel, just for the fun of not waiting!

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  7. What a stunning dress that will be. I look forward to seeing your progress on this.

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  8. looks like the makings of a great dress! Can't wait to see the progress..then the summer reveal =D

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  9. Oooh Rachel, It looks beautiful, I love the colours!!! I am so excited for you! Yes I would definitely be cutting just to see. I am less patient than you though I would have done a couple already!

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    1. Aw, I'm not that patient - I just figured I might get the white dirty with dragging it around who knows where all summer. This way it is safely contained behind the green =)

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  10. Gorgeous color choices, and yes, what a great convenience to have it all stenciled and ready to go! Look forward to seeing this one evolve.

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  11. Wow, that is going to be one amazing dress!!!

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  12. This looks fantastic - I can't wait to see how it progresses!

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  13. Oh boy, this will be a beauty. I have seen the finished dress and it was exquisite. It was made of two shades of blue with red stitching. I couldn't stop staring at it. One of the most beautiful pieces of clothing I have ever seen. I am making the scarf and using embroidery floss for outlining the stencil but I prefer yours. Are you using the craft and button thread for your appliqué? I made my own stencil and air brushed the design. Oh so many hours. The DIY is ingenious. I can't wait to see your finished product. Have fun! Bev A.

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    1. Thanks, Bev. Yes, I am using button thread. It came in the DIY kit, which was great since my local store doesn't have this color of button thread. They have lots of colors in thread on the Alabama site. I hear you on making your own stencil. Wow!

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  14. Can't wait to see it finished! Such a labor to be proud to wear. Just wondering ...why the knots on the outside of the dress?
    Monica

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    1. The knots on the outside are a decorative choice. It's how Alabama Chanin often (but not always) does their reverse applique. I chose to do some knots on the inside and some on the outside, so that it's just peppered with knots on the outside.

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  15. It's going to be gorgeous with your dark hair! Pretty, pretty!!

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  16. I didn't realize the kits come cut to your size. I need to take another look at their website. You chose great colors.

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  17. I am very excited to see how this goes for you. I've made a few items using the techiniques learned from Natalie in her first book. I still love to just pour over the pages and dream. Even the small things were so time consuming. My husband is an artist and cut out the very detailed rose stencil for me. Sad to say my fabric wasn't great quality and I gave up on the project before too long. I should start over with some higher quality jersey. I even bought some high quality fabric paints to try out and just never did anything with them. I will never again bother with the cheap fabric paints found at Michael's, AC Moore, etc.

    Happy Stitching Rachel!

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    1. Yes, I second that. I don't want to try anything again with the cheap paints I bought. If I were to airbrush my own stencils, I would buy the paint Alabama Chanin recommends.

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  18. so jealous. i would love to have one of those kits.

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  19. That color will be fabulous on you! I really can't wait to see this dress on you. I'm sure it will be something you enjoy for years to come!

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  20. I think its time for an update on how this dress is going. I wish I were brave enough to spend the cash on a DIY kit. It is probably worth it.

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    1. Yes, it is time! I think I've mentioned it a few times since then. The fact is that I've been so busy doing handwork for Handstitched class that I've been unable to work on this. But, I am finishing hand quilting the class quilt this week and then I can get back to the DIY kit. Looking forward to it!

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