Saturday, August 31, 2013

Alabama Chanin Large Polka Dot T-shirt

I recently enrolled in Natalie Chanin's Hand Embellishing Knit Fabric class on Craftsy. It was on sale at a rate I couldn't pass up. I initially thought that with the three books in my library, I wouldn't learn much more, but I was wrong. The class was like sitting across a workroom table from Natalie as she worked; it is pretty great.

I used to not like road trips. I was born and raised in The Bahamas on an island that is 7 miles by 21 miles long. Road trips, were not a part of my traveling culture and they used to make me very antsy and agitated. I would take trips and think, "If I were flying, I would be there by now!" Now, as a fan of hand-sewing I relish the thought of a long road trip, oh the things that can be created along endless strips of road.

I am returning from a family road trip to the Frio River in the Texas Hill Country. It was delightful, restful, peaceful and a great opportunity to work on Alabama Chanin hand-sewing. As we drove through the cotton fields I stitched away on a shirt inspired by this Large Polka Dot T-shirt in the Alabama Chanin store. The tips she gave in the Craftsy class made this project super fast. 

Cotton plants in Texas

Cotton fields in Texas

The Polka Dot T-shirt instructions are not described in the book, but based on the photos it was easy to figure it out. I made a stencil of large circles using pennant felt and a circle template.

I then airbrushed black paint on green jersey fabric. I appliqued the circles onto tan fabric using variegated embroidery floss that I won in a contest at the start of the year. Once all of the circles were applied with a back-stitch, I  cut away the green fabric leaving about 1/4 inch of the green along the outside of the black. A super fast tip Natalie gave in the class was to baste the bindings with regular thread before adding your stretch stitches. I would usually pin and hoop my bindings. This tip made the neckline finishing go so much faster. I hand-stitched the rest of the t-shirt following the instructions from the Studio Sewing and Design Book.

Polka Dot Detail

Herringbone Stitch on Neckline

Large Polka Dot T-shirt
Here is my review of the project:

Pattern Description:
Alabama Chanin Tee shirt from Alabama Chanin Studio Sewing and Design book and website.

Pattern Sizing
S,M,L,XL I made a size medium.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I think it does with the exception of the color choices.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The books give very clear instructions and inspirations for creating multiple garments. The garment construction is not difficult, but it is time-consuming. (Does time-consuming have a negative implication? It is engrossing, time-dependent, addicting, and repetitive.) The garments in the book require a great deal of work and the results appear complex because of the details, but broken down into smaller parts, easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love everything about the patterns in the book. This polka dot embellishment was fast, easy and uncomplicated. It is a good beginner A.C. project. I also like the look of the variegated floss in the circles. It gives a bit more dimension to a simple design. 

No dislikes.

Fabric Used:
Jersey Cotton in Tan and Hunter Green and button and craft thread in natural.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

I used three strands of floss for stitching the appliques on. Natalie suggests using four strands in the back stitch. I  was in the car as I made this and found the even division of the floss more convenient than storing the two unused strands until later. I can't tell a difference now, but it may not been as strong over time.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes and Yes.

Conclusion: If you have been thinking about making an A.C. piece, this is a good starter project.  

Happy Sewing!

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