Monday, April 18, 2016

Red, White & Blue Alabama Chanin Skirt

This skirt has been in the making for over 2 years. I originally dyed the red fabric in the summer of 2014. I was experimenting with Shibori tie dying. I bought some white cotton jersey from Dharma Trading for the dying process. I folded a yard of the fabric like an accordion then used several rubber bands to hold the fabric together. I like the red design but it had a little too much white for my wardrobe. I thought the fabric would be perfect as the bottom layer of an Alabama Chanin Bloomer Skirt, my favorite of all the Alabama Chanin skirts, I have 6 of the bloomer skirts. Some in the original leaf pattern and some in the paisley pattern. I wear these skirts almost every day, for everything from gardening to going out to dinner. 

The bookstore I worked at use to give us a t-shirt every year. After 25 years I had enough shirts, so I ordered a 6xl shirt, knowing that I would be able to use the fabric for something else. When I ordered the shirt I did not know what color it would be, when I got the shirt I though it was the perfect  blue color to go with the dyed red & white fabric.  

When I saw the New Leaves Stencil I knew that what pattern I would use on the top layer of the skirt. That took me another year to figure out who to get the pattern on the fabric. I was going to teach myself to use an airbrush but after a couple of attempts I realized that screen printing was way easier. I attempted to locate some rubylith, but it turns out that it's a lot more expensive then I remembered. I needed a very large piece and the only rubylith that would work came in a roll that was about $300. OK...I needed another way to get the new leaves design on my screen. I printed out the stencil from the latest Alabama Chanin book at Kinko's. It's large 25x40. I tried just burning the screen with the paper stencil but it did not work. So I decided to use a drawing fluid on the screen after drawing the images on the screen. Again it was problematic as the drawing fluid was old and a little too thick. I did end up making a screen and printing on the blue fabric but it was a lot more work than I had anticipated. The first color I used was a blue because I didn't want the ink to stand out too much. Well the blue ink I used matched the fabric perfectly and I was unable to see the stencil on the fabric. So I had to screen the skirt again...this time I used black. 

Now I had the skirt ready to sew. I spent a week stitching so I could do a reverse appliqué on the skirt. I started to cut out some of the design and my husband suggested that I not cut out all of the stencil but cut the stencil so it looked like vine wrapping around the shirt. I like that idea but I wanted he full impact of the red & white dyed I cut out all the stencil. I may make another one with a vine type of design flowing around the skirt. That is another skirt for another post. 

The final result is a Red, White & Blue's my 4th of July out fit this year.

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