Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Alabama Chanin Anna's Garden Fitted Tunic

 What is it about summer viruses that are so heinous? We have been going round and round with a bug in our house, and city. Our pediatrician says it is everywhere and we have to let it run its course. So as I, and our kids have been down, I have been hand stitching another Alabama Chanin creation. This time I have ventured into making the fitted tank top from the book Alabama Chanin Studio Sewing and Design.

For this tank, I used a baby blue cotton jersey fabric for the top layer and a lime green jersey cotton fabric for the bottom. I used the lime fabric for the bias binding secured with Slate colored button/ craft thread. The front is a a double layer of fabric and the back is a single layer. I stitched the design on the front only, using the Outside Reverse Applique technique. With this technique you stitch 1/8 of an inch outside the painted and stenciled shapes. When done, you cut the shape out removing the painted parts. 

This is a good project if you do not have an airbrush or if your painted images are less than perfect. You cut that part out anyway, so it does not matter. As a matter of fact, you can probably stencil using a pen, sharpie or crayon (well, maybe not a crayon)! If you have a great airbrush and equally great painting skills, this project might sting a bit. It hurts to toss your fabulously  painted shapes into the trash!
Alabama Chanin Fitted Tunic with Short Skirt
For this tunic, I cut the size medium and sewed a 5/8th seam allowance into the shirt when I constructed it. I found that to be the perfect sizing for me. Because I find the neckline too low for my tastes, I took a suggestion from a blog reader to shorten the straps. I fitted it before adding the binding and I took out about 2 inches off the straps. I secured the layers with a running stitch, so it went together really fast. I didn't have to start and stop the stitches as often as in the negative reverse applique.

Anna's Garden Fitted Tunic

Back details
I paired the tank with a modified version of short skirt pattern from the book. I simply added width to the panels and cut it into six panels instead of four. I liked the idea of the extra seams up the front and back so I just fiddled with it until it worked.

Here is my review of the pattern from the book.

Pattern Description:

Hand-stitched tank tunic from Alabama Chanin Studio Sewing and Design.

Pattern Sizing:

S,M,L,XL I made a medium with a 5/8 seam allowance.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, in that I followed the instructions. My color choices were my own.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

The books give very clear instructions and inspirations for creating multiple garments.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love everything about the patterns in this book. I do not like the depth of the neckline on the pattern, so I raised the straps about two inches.

Fabric Used:

Jersey Cotton in baby blue and lime green.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: 

I only embellished the front of the top.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes and Yes! 

Happy Sewing!


  1. Wow... beautiful top and awesome hand stitching details.

  2. beautiful job! I am glad that shortening the straps seemed to help the neckline! I had never thought of just embellishing the front like that--good thinking! : ) I always enjoy reading your posts! Sorry about all the illnesses--it has been going through our family as well! : (

    1. Thanks Laura, the strap tip made all the difference. Alabama Chanin has some garments with only the front done, so I didn't feel like I was cheating :).

  3. This is sooo beautiful. I won that book and a giveaway and am now thinking I will try to make this top. I have a Saturday link up at my blog for sewn cloths. i'd love for you to stop by! Sew Country Chick

    1. Thanks Justine. I think you will enjoy the process of this type of sewing. It is habit forming though. I am new to blogging and not sure what a link up is, but i will check it out.

  4. Wow, your top is gorgeous! The applique technique is stunning. Is this from the book or your own idea used on a sewing pattern from the book? I haven't come across this book before - off to look it up and check out more of your blog now!

    1. Thanks Megan. This stencil is Anna's Garden from Alabama Chanin. You can use the book and make your own, or buy it from her site. I suggest making yours until you decide you this method of sewing is for you. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I love it - such a fabulous top!

  6. OOOOOOHH!! This is just stunning! I have the book and a couple patterns cut out, and I've been searching for reviews online and found you on pattern review. I'm still stuck on how to construct the pattern as it is not marked which is the center front seam and which is the side seam. I'm confused!

  7. Thanks Arlene! I find the dress/tunic pattern to be a bit tricky in determining front and side seam too. I constructed a dress and am certain I confused them and it does make a difference with fit! I refer to the master pattern image on page 37 of the Studio Sewing and Design book. The center front has a slightly deeper and wider angle. The arm/side seam is more J shaped. For the center back, the bodice has a slight bend on the side seam whereas the center back is straighter. I suggest you lay your fabric out again like the pattern layout in the book and mark pieces with a washable sewing marker; tailors chalk will wear away over time.

    As far as sewing them together, I lay the fabric out and pin the seam alternating pinning top of seam and bottom of the seam until my pins meet in the middle. Because there are no notches, I use top and bottom as my gauge.

    I hope that helps! If I refereed to wrong book, or dress, please let me know.