Thursday, February 24, 2011

Alabama stitching

I made my first Alabama Chanin - inspired project!
After posting last week about how much I love that layered, reverse appliquéd stitching, I found myself daydreaming about projects frequently at work.
In oogling at the DIY Studio Style page, I realized white and yellow (2 of the colors I had on hand) were a great color combination and I decided to make this over-arm pin cushion!
I know, of all the things to make...why a pin cushion?
I guess because it's small and simple like a sampler project to get a feel for this technique. And it's pretty and will make me want to camp out on the couch with my new pin cushion draped over the couch arm making more reverse appliquéd clothes :)

Here are my project specs:
7"x18.5" main body (2 white, 1 yellow)
7"x5" pocket (4 white, 2 yellow)
7"x 8" pin cushion (2 white, 1 yellow).
I cut everything and then stenciled the design with black ball point pen (not the best idea to use pen because it smears when handling while sewing. Usually, you use a spray paint, but the example pin cushion I was copying looked a lot like pen. The overall look is nice, but it'll probably get ruined if I ever wash (?) it.)
I cut my stencil out of synthetic felt for durability/longevity.
I sewed the pieces like so (above). In hindsight, it would have been smarter to stencil two large white rectangles to resemble the above pieces and eliminating extra seams. Unfortunately, I never plan my projects thoroughly enough to prevent oversights like this...
Now, sew the large rectangles together with right sides facing in, leave a small hole, turn right side out. Should look like this now: (with corners folded up)
Now for the stitching!
Use button/carpet thread (it's very thick) doubled and a long, but sturdy needle.
I started on the pin cushion using white thread, but found that it masked the pen outline. I switched to grey and found that it reinforced the pen marks giving a strong feel that I liked better.
The stitched and partially snipped pin cushion pieces. I like it!
After trimming all the white spaces (above). You can see the slight difference between the grey (main body) and white (pin cushion) thread stitching.
Then, sew across the short edges of the main rectangle for stability, fold the pockets in place, and stitch them along the side edges.
Last, fill the pin cushion with rice and stitch in place.

Taa Daa!
This really is a beautiful way to recycle old shirts, thanks Natalie Chanin!