Tuesday, April 3, 2012

color, Color

Yesterday I gushed about how Natalie Chanin's new book has me plotting a dress for me a la Alabama Chanin.  I'm imagining something made in stretch jersey, soft and comfortable, and entirely stitched by hand.  A perfect project for the warm summer months!

I really admire that Natalie Chanin's couture clothes are made by hand in Alabama.  Alabama Chanin is a sustainable-minded business with integrity that largely serves the high-end custom clothing market.  And yet Natalie has chosen also to design books, classes and products that empower the crafty customer to make it herself.  That's really cool.  If you take a peak around her store, you'll see she offers all the supplies you'd need to make the clothes in her style from fabric + notions to stencils + beads.

After my experience with cheap fabric paint, I knew that I would want to use better paint in the making of a dress.  I could order organic jersey by the yard from Alabama Chanin and paint too, but then there's the challenge of creating and transferring a stencil without spoiling the fabric.   I want a dress with an all-over stencil for all-over reverse applique, so there's really quite a lot of time that would go into preparing the project before the sewing begins.

Well, I have completely lucked out because Alabama Chanin has agreed to send me a DIY kit for this Anna's Garden Dress.  Really.

Really!

I am giddy with excitement just thinking of receiving the dress kit with the pieces already cut out in my size and the stencil already applied perfectly and everything I need to Just. Start. Sewing.  Seriously, it's like birthday and mother's day rolled into one!
 
Alabama Chanin actually stocks a whole range of DIY kits with projects from across all three of Natalie Chanin's books and more. You get to customize your kit by choosing the fabric colors, which let-me-tell-ya is no walk in the park. 



I spent days pouring over the lovely photography online, like this swatch card (see more photographs of color cards here) and this set of Stenciled Fat Eighths (hand stitched quilt project, anyone?) to attempt to imagine myself in just one color.



Well, actually two colors, which only makes it harder.  I need to choose one color for the outer fabric of the dress and one color to be layered underneath, showing through in the flowers made via reverse applique.  My husband favors me in gray (bor-ING).  Mom suggests I always look good in blue (yes, and that's what my closet is filled with).  I've wanted to wear more red.  Would a red dress be too much for most places I'd want to wear it?  I'm not making a special-occasion dress, but rather something I'll wear to church, to lunch, to book club, to a sewing weekend - anywhere where I won't be eating spaghetti or running after kids!  I like the emerald green and the turquoise because they say "summer."  And I really like white and cream versions; but let's be honest, I'd be way to paranoid to wear something so easily stained very often!

Alabama Chanin swatches

I'd probably still be stuck, if I hadn't ordered this set of color swatch cards so that I could experience the options in person.  Hallelujah!  I was actually pulling off the little pieces of cotton jersey to layer them up in possible pairings.  You'd have thought I was choosing a wedding dress for how long I belabored the issue!

Alabama Chanin swatches

Eventually Brandon took pity on me and helped me finally decide to play it safe with Peacock blue as the main color and Putty cream as the reverse applique underlayer. 

Of course, I changed my mind. 

When I woke up the next morning I knew that it had to be the Emerald green.  Because, I LOVE green.  Who am fooling... I'm sitting in a green room for goodness sakes.  So green over cream it is.  I hope I love wearing it!  I will at least love stitching it, and that's a good start.

If you're considering an Alabama Chanin project of your own, definitely get a set of swatch cards.  It's just not worth investing in one of these delicious projects without being certain.  And if you do order color cards, mention "Stitched in Color" in the comments of your order to receive a coupon for $20 off your next order of $100 or more at at Alabama Chanin.  That makes your color cards free if you go back for a DIY kit!  Which I hope you get to do.  And I'd love to hear what you settle on!

15 comments:

  1. oh lucky girl! This will be very interesting to see. And you know...you will wear it far more often than a wedding dress, so you need to make the right decision. ;)

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    1. Haha, yes - how true. Way more often than a wedding dress!!! I love your perspective, Angela.

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  2. Wow! What a great dress and in green and cream it will be beautiful.

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  3. LOL - I typed a reply and was so eager to click over and get my color cards I must have forgotten to hit "publish"!

    Now I can say "thanks" for the coupon again -- I also ordered the scrap bag so I'll have little pieces to play with while I'm waffling over color decisions, which could take some time.

    Can't wait to see how your green dress turns out!

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    1. Oh, that's a great idea. The scrap bag was tempting me too!

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  4. OH you lucky thing. I am green with envy!! The green will look gorgeous!! I like the spring and moss together in your picture as well. I have gone ahead and ordered the book and I can't wait to see your dress!

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  5. Sounds wonderful, can't wait to see it!

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  6. I'm drooling on my key board. I can't wait to see it. Can you take a picture of the package before you open it? Such a geeky request, but not sure a DIY is in my budget right now.
    Enjoy.
    Margie

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    1. Will do, Margie =) I've heard they come so beautifully packaged.

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  7. Lucky you! I've been dreaming of one of these DIY kits for awhile! Can't wait to see the progress!

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  8. Wow, that is amazing! I'm sure your dress will be beautiful, and fun to make! I think you made the right color choice(s), too!

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  9. SO incredible!!! I have an irrational obsession with all things Alabama Chanin. I just can't help it. I still haven't gotten the new book yet, but it will be in my hands soon. I cannot wait to see your amazing dress finished. I have my sights set on the poncho, I think. And there is an upcoming workshop they are having that I am pretty sure I will be attending. The studio is only 2 hours away from where I live!!!

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    1. Oh, lucky you to be so close! Yes, I'd love to attenda workshop there someday. She seems like such an incredible person. Yay!

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  10. Do you know if the coupn code still works? I just found your blog and want to order it! Was there a time limit?
    Jen

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    1. No time limit that I know of. I'm sure they'll still honor it throughout the summer!

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