Monday, April 23, 2012
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then I stay stitched the bodice openings to guard against stretching and I was ready to go!
Cozy with some stitching under my do. Good Stitches quilt is definitely a good place to be.
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!