Sunday, 24 May 2015

Alabama Chanin skirt and top

This has been a long time in the making and an even longer time in the blogging pile. It's an Alabama Chanin outfit, that was not really planned as an outfit, just worn as such for this blog post.

Both pieces are made from patterns found in the Alabama Chanin books. The skirt is from 'Alabama Studio Sewing and Design' and is a simple, four panel skirt. The top is from 'Alabama Studio Style' and is a more fitted style with princess panels and a flared hemline. The edges are encased with a folded strip of fabric hand stitched in place and the hemlines are left raw.

I used two different Alabama Chanin stencils. The top is made with the 'Large Medallion' stencil and the skirt with the 'Bloomers' stencil. 

The top was made with two layers of white knit fabric. The stencil was applied using watered down acrylic paint and a sponge brush. I used mostly grey thread for the stitching, with the occasional bit of orange thrown in when I got bored. I did the stitching with a double strand of thread and used a running stitch for the reverse applique and the seams. A criss-cross stretch stitch was used for the neckline and armhole binding.

I initially didn't like the fit of the top as the lower half was quite tight and unflattering. I eventually unpicked the stitches and redid them making the seams as tiny as I dared. It now flares out more and I'm happier with the fit.

I made the skirt before the top and used two colours of knit fabric, purple underneath and grey/black on top. I used black thread and wished later that I'd chosen a contrasting colour for more interest. I also only used a single strand of thread for the applique and I worry that the skirt is too delicate to wear. 

The 'Bloomers' stencil was far more labour intensive than the 'Medallion' pattern, but I happily sewed it on holiday last year and enjoyed the process. I always think it's funny how AC garments don't pattern match at the seams when usually, we sewing bloggers, do our utmost to get that pattern spot on!

I really like the slight A-line shape of the skirt. It is very comfortable to wear.

I have had both pieces finished for ages and have never worn either of them. I feel like I should save them for a special occasion in case they fall apart after the first outing. I would be interested to hear how others have fared in their Alabama Chanin garments. Do they stand up to real life wear? It does seem a shame not to wear them after the hours of work put into the making.


  1. I am VERY attracted to AC garments, but so far haven't made any. I love your versions Megan, so someday you might see me in a piece or two. ;-)

  2. Hi- I've made several AC garments & they do hold up. The fabric may curl in some of the spots where you've cut away for the reverse appliqué. Natalie says the construction is meant for two generations of wearers!

  3. Amazing work. And I love your reference to the blogging pile!

  4. I love the look of AC garments, but I must admit, I've only worn my dress once. I was more worried about washing it than wearing it. And now of course I'll need to wait for warm weather again, and iron it before I can wear it. Phew, the things we do!

  5. Beautiful work! I wear my pieces regularly and wash them in the machine on a gentle cycle. They hold up just fine, but then I used upholstery thread for my stitching. I documented all this pretty extensively on my blog :)

  6. Oh so much work! You have been very busy. Love the shape of the top and the stencil design you have used. Very unique garments.

  7. What a funny coincidence. I found myself browsing the sewing section of a B&N yesterday and literally fell in love with her books. I ordered them with a gift certificate I had right when I got home. All the while I was thinking... how have I never seen these garments pop up on blogs before?? Well, I stand corrected. Great job. Your tank and skirt are both so pretty. I hope for your sake and mine they stand up well to wear!!

  8. Love both garments and one day I will make an AC of my own! I'd handwash as a precaution.

  9. Hi! I just wandered to your blog from Carolyn's and found this post. I've made many many AC garments, and wear them all the time - so comfy! After initial nervousness with laundry I've found they stand up to machine washing just fine, and I dry them draped over a rack. Like Carolyn I use guterman upholstery thread and I've had no problems with anything coming adrift. Judy.

    1. Hi Judy, thank you for the info. I still haven't worn mine so it's great to know that you haven't had any trouble. I hope to see you back here sometime!


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