A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: Alabama Studio Sewing + Design

I've been keeping this book to myself for quite a long time.

Awhile back a Facebook friend emailed me wanting me to look at the Alabama Chanin website. He lives near the company and thought I might be interested. I had never heard of this company or the owner Natalie Chanin.

After looking at the website, I had to buy two of her books. I spent days drooling over this book. (I also bought the Alabama Stitch Book.) If you aren't familiar with this company, all of their clothing is hand-sewn, hand-embellished, and made out of 100% organic cotton jersey.

She uses a lot of stencils which I love, but in a different ways. In this book she explains the different ways and all of the basic stitches.

The applique chapter includes relief applique, Cretan stripes, random ruffle, pleated ruffle, couching, latticework passementerie, and ruffle passementerie.

In the chapter Fabrics + Maps she shows closeups of seven different fabrics, the stencils used, and "maps" which show the placement of every stitch, applique, and bead. All I can say is "Oh My!"

 In the chapter on Basic Garments + Accessories, this poncho caught my eye.

Looks pretty easy. But then later in the book there is the same poncho, but with negative reverse applique. Be still my heart!

She also includes the stencils used and they can even been downloaded from her website. You can also purchase large stencils from the company.

Usually I rate a book by how fast it can motivate me to create. I've had books that I couldn't even finish them before I was at my table making something. If the book can get me to do something right away, it's a keeper and deserves a special place on my bookshelf. With this book, I've done nothing but drool. I've sat for hours looking through this and her other book, checking out all of the stitches and gasping at the simplicity and elegance of the clothing.

This book with all of it's beautiful photographs really ranks a place on the coffee table (if I had one). I've not reviewed this book on my blog because I wasn't sure I wanted to share it. I know - sounds weird but it's been my little secret stash - like those chocolate chips hidden under the frozen veggies in the freezer. But it's time for me to bring it out and share it with the world.

Will I make anything that's in this book? Maybe. Maybe not. But it doesn't really matter. It's such a lovely book just to spend time with when I need some inspiration.


  1. I took a quick look and I can understand why you would want to keep this to yourself! Makes me want to explore deeper and deeper and head down to the factory tomorrow! Yummy!

  2. Kathy, You are so lucky that you live by this factory. I definitely want to come down and take a tour or even a class.

  3. Oh, the textures... I have goose bumps! Thank you for introducing us to this book.

  4. I love this book...their applique techniques are so interesting


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