Harley helps.

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

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Alabama Chanin fitted dress #2

Way back, in, oh, 2012, or so, I picked up Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, fell in love with the eye candy, and fell hard for the dress on p. 153:

I kept returning to that page, and looking at it, and looking some more, and eventually I went, okay, I need to learn how to do this. And I took a deep breath and went and made my first purchase -- AC fabric in black and blue slate.

Eight years later, it is done. I finished it two days ago and debuted it today at a mini-Pattern Review meetup at the Peabody Essex Museum. (Hi Deepika!)

(It didn't take eight years. I started in June 2017.)

This time around, I raised the neckline, shortened the shoulders, and pulled in the bust area a bit at the center seam. I like the fit much better and might go unpick the first dress to make the same changes. 

(Also, you know your second dress is better than the first when your husband says, "Looks good. The first one was a bit...chaotic.")

Technique notes this time around:

1) I used spray adhesive on the back of the stencil, which worked GREAT. I worried that the adhesive would affect the fabric somehow, or it would be hard to pull the stencil off, which was not the case at all. It was fine.
2) I used Tulip black fabric paint at full strength, which covered really nicely -- although it was thick and a little hard to work with, and I kept having to stop to clean the nozzle.
3) Like last time, I did reverse applique with a running stitch around the shapes, and a Cretan stitch to bind the neckline and armholes. I feel like the Cretan stitch is getting easier, but I'm still not 100% thrilled with my work.

But. I'm SO happy to finally have The Dress. It's super-comfortable and I like it.

Side note: We saw the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit, which was amazing, because Georgia O'Keeffe designed and/or hand-made a lot of her own clothes. (The pintucks! OMG, the lady knew her pintucks.) Natalie Chanin spoke there a few weeks ago -- she's a big O'Keeffe fan and came to give a talk and a workshop.

AND ALSO if you like Alabama Chanin at all and are interested, you should check out the new School of Making Stitchalong Facebook group. It's great and very inspirational and people are making some really beautiful and cool things. That is all.


  1. That dress is AMAZING and you look fantastic!

  2. Your version looks great! We need to meet up and be AC twins! I definitely want to modify the neckline on mine as it's getting heavy on the cleavage. I like your use of the cream thread; I used black on mine. My current project, the Maggie dress, feels like it's going to take forever. Slow and steady! Congrats on your new dress!

    1. thank you! I'd love to meet up sometime.

      are you embellishing the whole Maggie dress? can't wait to see it when it's finished!

  3. Just found your blog and that amazing dress! Wow!