DI all by Y

Did I tell you I fell in love with the Alabama Chanin philosophy? I had so much fun with my first projects, I was ready to sew myself a whole wardrobe of clothes so I dove into my first “all by myself” project heart first when my head knew I should have read more, learned more and practiced more.  The good news is, every time I made a mistake was an opportunity to learn and I’m hoping to help you avoid my mistakes by sharing them with you:

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Fabric Matters

When I first started reading “Alabama Studio Style” I knew I was going to become a maker.  I didn’t know much else but one day when I was at the fabric store buying fabric to make my son’s Halloween costume, I saw some black cotton jersey on sale.  I thought, why not, how big a difference can fabric make.  I learned, a lot!  This black jersey is a much heavier weight than Alabama Chanin’s fabric because with two layers this skirt turned out heavy and I think I will only be able to wear it in Winter.  It just doesn’t hang in that easy way that it would with a medium or light weight jersey.

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This picture shows how the stencil looks before and after the reverse applique technique

Fit Matters

To make a pattern, I just took my AC swing skirt and copied the shape of one panel and cut out four of them.  In hindsight I wish I would have already known what Natalie wrote about in “Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns” because I didn’t pay any attention to fit (can you tell I have very rudimentary previous sewing skills), and the skirt turned out big on me.  I also didn’t realize that not all four panels should be exactly the same.  The back panels need to be a little bigger then the front if you know what I mean.

Paint Matters

Here is where I really learned a lot.  To make my stencil, I bought some Wax-O Stencil Paper at Hobby Lobby and I just traced the bloomers design from my AC skirt.  I was lucky to have inherited a light box from my brother which made transferring the design a snap!  Cutting the pattern from the paper with a razor was easy enough, but the paper stencil didn’t hold up very well to my paint process.  I made it all the way through the skirt, and I will use this method again, but it gave me an appreciation for real mylar stencils.  I used Tulip Soft Matte paint in Ebony because I wanted that tone-on-tone look.  I applied it with sponge pouncers.  It was really hard to get a clean line around the edge of my shapes and the paint went on very heavy and dried stiff.  Next time I try this method, I am going to thin the paint.  I’m also contemplating the value of spray adhesive.

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This picture shows the difference between the Hobby Lobby fold over elastic in black and the Alabama Chanin fold over elastic in red.

It ALL Matters

There are a few others things I learned.  I just used thread I had on hand, all-purpose, and it doesn’t give the stitching that solid, hand-sewn quality.  We’ll see if the knots hold up.  For the waistband, I bought the fold-over elastic they sell at Hobby Lobby – it’s smaller than AC’s, more difficult to work with and it doesn’t have the same stretch or visual impact.

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All that said, this skirt is very special to me.  I did it – all by myself!

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