Harley helps.

Harley helps.
Harley, my hard-working sewing assistant.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

stenciling an Alabama Chanin dress

The two back panels are nearly done. Here they are (not joined yet).

Overall, I like the way it's coming together, although I need to do some cleaning up:

Not thrilled with the close-up, and still not sure how to create clean edges, aside from fussing and cleaning and snipping a lot. Maybe this will be my practice dress.

I stenciled the first front panel today with the airbrush. I'm still torn on the best possible stenciling method -- Sharpie, spraying or sponging Tulip fabric paint, etc. -- but even though the airbrush is a pain in the ass, it seems to have the best results.

Some stuff I learned along the way:

1. Stencil placement is super-duper important and hard to get right. You also don't want too much of the same colors/shapes at the edges when you sew two panels together. I learned the hard way with my first Alabama Chanin skirt, when two of the leaves on the front panels butted up against each other, making one large, misshapen leaf.

2. It's especially hard to do with regular Alabama stencils because they don't run the whole length of a fitted dress. That means you have to stencil half, pull it up, let everything dry, then carefully figure out where to place the second half of the stencil (while keeping in mind the stencil placement on the panels you've already sewn).

I spent a good half an hour lining up fabric panels and moving the stencil around. 

Pay no attention to my chocolate peppermint sauce and frosting jars.

I wound up masking out some overlapping shapes to get the placement I wanted. Hope it all looks okay when it's sewn up.

4. BLOT. BLOT. BLOT. Blot the shit out of the excess paint on the stencil before you remove it from the fabric, especially if you've watered down the paint. Otherwise you get tiny little drips and dots all over everything.

However this turns out, it's been a learning experience -- and I plan to keep practicing till I get the Alabama Chanin mini-wardobe of my dreams.


ALSO. Very important Harley update. (Because some people on PatternReview asked...) He's fine. The Cone of Shame is off, and he's mostly healed up. 

If you're curious: He just had his second surgery for basal cell carcinoma. It went well, and I sure hope this is the last one.

He's anxious to get back in the sewing room (as am I), so I hope to have some more machine-sewing projects done soon!

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