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:


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.

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.

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.


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

One thought on “DI all by Y

  1. Love this outfit…and I’m impressed with all “y”our mods, even if it did turn out heavy


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