Alabama Chanin Dresses
I have several Alabama Chanin Dresses. The top photo shows off my favorite and likely the one I'm most proud...the Turquoise and Silver Paisley Fitted Tank Dress. This pattern is from Natalie's last book "Alabama Studio Sewing + Design". The pattern has 4 panels, making it really hard to mess up. The pattern is called the Fitted Dress/Skirt/Tunic you can make a skirt, a tunic or a dress all from the same pattern, just cut off the top or the bottom of the pattern piece. It's very simple and flattering pattern, the nature of knit fabric helps it fit to your own body. "Alabama Studio Sewing + Design" includes more stitches which compliment the simple lines of the patterns in this book.
I have made 5 of the Tank Dress from Natalie's 2nd book "Alabama Studio Style". This is a 6 panel dress that flairs out quite a bit on the bottom. A fitted top with a nice swing to the skirt of the dress. The tank dresses were made with one layer of fabric except for the Burgundy Merino Wool with a mauve cotton layer under it. This dress is a very warm dress, last winter I wore it when we went sledding with the neighbor kids in the snow. This dress has perfect panels for interesting and fun details. I reverse screen printed a chandelier then beaded the image on one of the dresses. Reverse screen printing uses a bleach to bleach out the color of the fabric. Sometimes you find wonderful colors under a dark color. You can use soft scrub...it contains bleach and works on most 100% cotton knit fabric. On the Merino Wool Dress I did some simple Eyelet stitches along the bottom of the dress. It adds a little interest and is something that I work on when I have time, it's a work in progress.
I'm really looking froward to Natalie's next book due out in spring of 2015. She is taking pre-orders starting thursday October 30th. She is also having a 24 hour sale at the factory and on line...25% off...for 24 hours on thursday October 30th. Get yourself a DIY kit so you have a new skirt or dress for Christmas, or give one of her DIY kits to the sewer in your life.
I wear these dresses on a regular basis, they are comfortable and some of the easiest pieces of clothing I have ever made. When I think back to how afraid I was of knit fabric I laugh because in a lot of ways it's much easier then woven material. You can make clothes a little snug and the knit fabric will hug you and fit to your body. Very flattering! Of course there are some items that I have made that were WAY too big but that was mostly because I had chosen a 4 way stretch knit. I still have a lot to learn about knit fabric but I'm getting better with each garment I make.