Thursday, February 10, 2011

Project Alabama

(Photo from
For ten years now I have been in love with Project Alabama, Natalie Chanin's amazing hand sewn clothes.
They are so beautiful. I can't get over each stitch, each bead, the colors, the stenciling, the whole thing - it's too much!
I remember back in 2001 or 2002 (in high school) I saw some of her Project Alabama stenciled and applique rooster shirts in a magazine and immediately wanted to make one.

I actually did make a shirt inspired by her designs, but it wasn't anything as lovely as what she had done. I used her technique of double layering cotton knits (in this case, a shirt), stitching a design (in this case, my name) and then cutting away the top layer. You can create a positive or negative image by cutting out the letters/shapes or cutting away everything but the letters/shapes.
Her company has moved from stenciled/applique shirts to stenciled/applique everything and I love it all! I love the combination of craft, skill, art, and time that each item exudes. She now has some particularly beautiful shirts, dresses, and skirts for ladies.
Here are some inspirational links you must see:
Alabama Chanin website
studio style, her DIY website where you can order kits or supplies
past collections
a Google image search
Her books: Alabama Stitch Book, and Alabama Studio Style
a project bag on Purl Bee
Anyway, about ten times so far I've almost started a real project, but put it aside for something else. This time I'm serious, and I'm blogging to prove it! I'm going to make a beautiful, double layer, applique skirt for myself (after I finish my first quilt that's almost done, Adam's "performance" fleece jacket, and some storage bags for our ice cramp-ons).
I've been collecting supplies for years now (old cotton knit pillow cases and sheets from DI, cotton knit shirts in cool colors, fabric spray paint, lovely stencil ideas that I traced and cut out of acrylic felt (to make them re-usable), I've already got lots of beads. I'm set as far as thrifted/recycled supplies go...just need to actually make something!

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