Not as alliterative as Me Made May, but realising on Friday that I’d ended up with an entire outfit of clothing I’d made without any special outfit gave me hope that this next May I might finally be able to participate in that challenge.
In July I spent a little while visiting friends and hanging out at their store, A Verb for Keeping Warm. I was inspired by all of their Alabama Chanin projects, like Kristine’s amazing indigo dyed dresses, and this great jersey print from Feral Childe (I bought the fabric from Verb, they don’t sell it online and it doesn’t look like the designer does either, but if you love it maybe try calling the store?) to make this tank top.
The whole top is handsewn and it was such an easy, relaxing project that really didn’t take much time — 2 or 3 evenings. Even for machine sewn projects I often end up doing a lot of hand finishing, like the decorative hem on this skirt. There’s something about the idea of sewing clothing with just a needle and thread that seems to horrify people. It’s especially amusing when those people are knitters. It certainly takes a different kind of attention than simple knitting, but compared to making your fabric from scratch it’s still speedy!
The book is both inspiring and informative, and I’d love to make one of the more elaborate appliqued pieces one day. For now I’ll just enjoy watching the designer, Natalie Chanin, demonstrate the process in her Creative Bug videos while I knit.
I learned something from the book so simple that I couldn’t believe I’d never thought about it before. One of the reasons these projects are fairly quick to complete, and part of their signature style, is that the individual stitches are relatively large. I’ve always tried to make my stitches as small and neat as possible, unless they’re larger for decorative reasons, and I’d assumed that speed and style were the reasons for the large stitches in the Alabama Chanin. However, it turns out there’s a structural reason: “Stitches that are too small will pull through the tiny loops of yarn that make up the cotton-jersey fabric”. Ooooh. Well that certainly makes sense!