An Alabama Winter

I’ve long admired Natalie Chanin’s clothes….


IMG_4520and those that have the patience to make them. I occasionally thought of buying an original tee shirt, knowing I would never have the patience to actually make my own.


Then the winter of 2017 rolled around, I had long service leave, and was stuck on an island paradise with time, and minimal sewing equipment. Also, having done the Susan Khalje couture course (see the next post), taking time to create no longer seems like a big deal. Thus began the winter of  Alabama Chanin.

My intial plan was to make the exploding zero t shirt, as reminded by feature zips IG makenine2017.


I had also foolishly thrown down the gauntlet to Perth Sewists to enter the Royal Show, so thought maybe exploding zero could be my “embelished textile garment’.

I didn’t want to use the lark tee, as I wanted a vest, and didn’t want to bother redrafting the armcyse, and also though It was a good opportunity to try a new pattern. Its the Hey June Durango.

I began to wonder if entering a copied garment lacked probity, so then decided I needed to make my own from scratch. I was also too cheap to buy the books, and couldn’t access the only copy of only one book in the whole of the Perth public library system, so I stalked a few blogs but mainly I just winged it.

I didn’t stencil on the pattern, as I had tried some fabric painting on my chicken entry ( see below) and didn’t like how it altered the fabric. I also had limited access to paint and stencils on my island paradise. So I drew on the back of the under layer with a frixon pen which will iron off.

I used some stashed white jersey that had been part of a failed dying experiment, and was now white and a mottled pink. I was hoping to give the finished product soem depth. My original plan was to work the whole of the front. But as it evolved, I liked the assymetry. I also began adding circles on top, as I felt it looked just messy, rather than rustic, and I was definitely aiming for rustic, not messy.  I bound the neckline with the selvage.
This is the TNT lark tee from Grainline studio. Size 8, as I read on Carolyn’s blog that the jersey loses some stretch once created. I always remove an inch at the waist and an inch at the hem, as I am both short waisted and short.


I like the end result, but when I compare it to the Alabama Chanin website, I feel it’s quite niave and definitely could do with the added texture/ depth the stensilling brings. I will definitely return to this technique some time, maybe when I can get my hands on a book.

The theme of the show is chickens, so I decided to entre the chicken themed garment category as well. I originally was going to paint white jersey, then applique the pieced chicken to the shirt.20170701_132105.jpgBut didn’t like the way the paint stiffened the fabric, so just went with plain red jersey.IMG_20170723_112249.jpg

Another lark tee. I love it. Still thinking of maybe embroidering cock a doodle do, in english or spanish….. But pretty sure I wont get round to it.


This was a fun experiment, and kept my fingers busy on the island.

Ramble over.


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