Alabama Chanin goes to the beach

Hi there, how’s it going in your neck of the woods? A lovely end to summer here and I was lucky enough to get to the beach before summer officially ended.

Do you miss your sewing machine when you’re away from it? I really do. Last year I tried embroidery, it never really flew.

Alabama Chanin, holiday stitching

This year, I tried Alabama Chanin, which I guess is also embroidery, but embroidery on a garment.

I loved it. Relaxing and satisfying.tmp_5958-image469361210

Minimal equipment

I used a photocopy of the Anna’s garden stencil, blown up a couple of times on a photocopier. I only cut out some of the shapes, with scissors.

I used a disappearing fabric pen to mark a few shapes at a time. I didn’t worry about remaining true to the stencil, just moved it around where ever felt right. I also made up my own shapes.

Here’s some pictures of the work in progress.

Barbarajanemade stencil and fabric pen

This is 2 cotton knits, one a solid red, the other a deep pink marl* Knit fabric is lovely for hand sewing, soft and very forgiving. The technique is described as reverse applique.

First stitch around the shapes, then carefully cut out the inside of the shape from the top layer of fabric. Being knit fabric there’s no unravellling.

At the end of a 2 week holiday I had the front of a fitted top complete.

Barbarajanemade Alabama Chanin,  two halves of the fitted topBarbarajanemade Alabama Chanin pieces and thread

I took up Carolyn’s suggestion and used Gutermann upholstery thread. Have a look at Carolyn’s beautiful skirt.

I also used something called tiger tape. It makes even stitching on seams and hems a breeze. It’s like a masking tape and has stripes every 1/4 inch. When you’re finished stitching just remove the tape, perfectly spaced stitches.

Barbarajanemade tiger tape

Barbarajanemade using tiger tape to get even stitching on the seamsBarbarajanemade using tiger tape

Back home with the PFAFF and at back at work now (sadly no machine or Alabama Chanin at work), so who knows when the second half of this top will get done. It will probably be mid-winter 😕

Have you tried Alabama Chanin? Do you ever miss your sewing machine?


barbara jane made signature

What you need

The fitted top pattern and the stencil are from the Alabama Chanin Studio Sewing and Design book. Other materials, knit fabric, fabric marking pen, Gutermann thread, my favourite tiny French handsewing needles and tiger tape. Time to spare.

*Marl describes a knit fabric made with two colours.


26 thoughts on “Alabama Chanin goes to the beach

  1. Pingback: BJMade! Anna’s garden top (Alabama Chanin) | Barbara Jane made

  2. Pingback: made! Simplicity skirt that (nearly) everyone has | Barbara Jane made

  3. It GREAT to see your project! I JUST got that book from the library, and them some red jersey and some lightweight cream ponte. Red will be on top, cream underneath. Cream thread. I’m using the button and craft thread. I’m going to do a sortof a Jean jacket. Yours looks great, I can’t wait to get started on mine.


  4. I took a workshop from Natalie Chanin, and she said that if she made one-off items, she would also move the stencil and make a shape or two at a time. Great minds think alike! Your stitching and top are beautiful!


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