Indigo Experiment

I have always coveted Alabama Chanin indigo clothes. I especially like all of the indigo and New Leaves designs in the 2015 summer collection. Here’s a link to my Indigo Pinterest Board if you want to droll over them yourselves.

I actually purchased a yard of AC indigo fabric while I was at the factory in 2016, even though it cost $50 yard.  I didn’t know what I wanted to make, I just knew I had to have it. Then, I turned around and let my sister use it. Now, I love my sister and all but I’ve been regretting that decision a little.


But only a little. Look how cute her skirt turned out.

When I was recently in my local craft store, ACMoore, I found a Jacquard Indigo Shibori Kit for only $15. I decided it was time to give dying a try.


I truly did want to shibori dye some fabric to make pillow covers for a new couch I just acquired. (Check out the finished product on my Instagram)  The kit says there is enough in the vat to dye 15 Tshirts so I figured, why not dip three yards of white AC cotton jersey in there and take a gamble.

It turned out great!  Here’s an example of what the fabric looked like before I rinsed it, and after. I love the mottled effect. The lighting is different in the pictures, but trust me, a lot of the color rinsed out. I think I need to read up on crocking (and/or setting the dye). If anyone has any tips, please share.


Now to decide what to make with it. I wanted to do something with a lot of impact that didn’t use up too much of the fabric so I thought about this skirt.


This picture is a long fitted skirt and I really don’t wear the one long skirt I have as much as I should, so I decided to make this New Leaves appliqué on a midi length.

To make the leaves, I simply traced the stencil with a Frixon pen on the reverse side, then cut them out.  These pictures really make me wish I had more faded polka dot fabric. I think that’s going to be my next experiment.


I stitched and felled the two front pieces and two back pieces of the skirt together before I laid out the pieces. I wanted the leaves to continue over the seams. I left a few pieces hanging over the edges so they would continue across the side seams. After laying out the pieces how I liked them, I basted them down.

I love the way it looks when they overlap.


I went looking at my indigo Pinterest board again to see what type of thread/floss AC uses on their indigo projects and honestly, from the pictures I couldn’t tell. I tried using the “denim” embroidery floss – denim is indigo, right? Well, it turned out a little purple compared to my leaves.


I didn’t like it, so, it was either go try to find a commercial color that may or may not match, or, fire up another vat of indigo. I know it may sound crazy to do a whole vat for just some embroidery floss but the truth is ever since I’ve been working with this yardage I’ve made, I’d been dreaming about dyeing more yardage and a few AC machine sewn tops that I rarely ever wear.


I knew it wouldn’t work if I just dipped the floss in the vat while it was still on the spool, but since I’m not a knitter I don’t know much about skeins or other yarn type tricks, so I just unrolled the whole spool and wrapped it up like I would an extension cord around my arm.  Then I tied it together on the top. Probably not the correct method at all but what I will say is it ended up giving the thread a variegated effect because the dye didn’t take much around where it was tied. Happy accident!


Now it was just a matter of whipstitching around the leaves, stitching and felling the side seams , stitching down the shapes that crossed over the seams and attaching the waistband. Probably one of the quickest projects I’ve even done stitching wise.

And now, I’ve got quite a few tops to wear with it since I dyed them too!




Question: notice the darker spots on the top below. I think this is because I hadn’t mixed up the indigo well enough. What do you think? Leave them? Is there some way to spot remove dye?


I thought about stitching another leaf over top of the spots like this top:


but I’m not sure I want to commit this top to the leaf shapes, and some of the spots are in weird spots (the back of the armpit???)

I also have another top I just completed that I can wear with this skirt.


There was a post on The School of Making stitch-a-long Facebook group a while back asking if anyone knew the pattern for this top.


Well, sure enough, as you can imagine, it’s one that I’ve been wanting myself.

Someone suggested that Simplicity 1133 is a similar pattern so I got on Amazon and ordered it.


It is a bit different. The pattern is tunic length, it doesn’t have side seams (I want to use this pattern on leftover T-shirts so I needed to create a side seam), and the shoulders are actually flaps that come over the shoulder and button onto the front. These differences were easy enough to adjust.


It also has darts at the breast. I kept those in but I don’t love that look. Actually, there are quite a few things I’ll tweak if I make it again.

I did like it enough to go ahead and put on a binding so I could wear it. Who doesn’t need a little black top? This took three 56” long binding strips to go around all of the edges. That’s a whole lot of rosebud stitches but you really do get into a groove.


Thank goodness it works with my sports bra!


This experiment did get me thinking about that Patternmaking class AC is having next June. Just wish it wasn’t the same time as my oldest’s High School graduation. Maybe I can talk myself into one of their “individual” days because I hear they give you access to some of their archived patterns.

In the meantime, I’ve got my eye on this dress for the rest of the fabric I dyed. I think it would look good layered over the skirt I just made.


This looks like the panel pattern but I think I’ll go with the camisole or tank pattern. I think they are a little more forgiving around the waist.

Alas, it may have to wait a while. I’ve got a few other projects on top of the pile.

2 thoughts on “Indigo Experiment

  1. Indigo is so gorgeous, and yours looks amazing. I love all the projects you used it for. Faded fabric is easy and also fun to do, and like indigo is a great summertime project as there is lots of wet fabric that needs to be stretched out to stencil. It’s so inspiring seeing what you create!


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