Lately I’ve been thinking about making an Alabama Chanin style top. The idea came to me as I wanted to make the asymmetric top in a recent Knipmode mag, but couldn’t find matching plain and print fabrics. So it would be a good excuse to make my own print or embellished fabrics. I’ve always wanted to make an AC style garment. But I’m not sure if I can actually pull it off. Partly because I live in a rural area, and I don’t want to look like I’ve just stepped out of the paddock in my ripped ‘mufties’. The other reason, I’m hesitant is that I adore good craftsmanship and some of the AC techniques look a little rough ‘n’ ready. So the question is, how to make arty and not like I lost a fight with the lawnmower?
I’m dipping my toe in lightly….
Exhibit A – Owl embroidered T-shirt
This uses the “beaded fern” technique (p121 of the AC book). Essentially it is a wide satin stitch with a bead added every 2 or 3 stitches. The design I’ve used is a tribal owl tattoo – using beading for the owl and a backstitch for the leaves – on a single layer of cotton rugby jersey. It was fun and quick to do. I’ve used two strands of embroidery cotton and Delica seed beads.
I quite like the result but the knots and long thread tails on the inside of the shirt are irritating – visually and physically. I’ve tried a few other ways to start a thread – standard embroidery techniques such as using short or split stitches, burying it under previous stitches etc. So far the T has been through the wash 4 times and is still intact.
Exhibit B – Giraffe stencil T-shirt
I did this t-shirt to see how I’d go cutting the stencils and applying the paint. I made the stencils up to use two colours and give myself a bit of a test in lining them up – especially around the eyes – where I tried to avoid creating islands for the iris. For the nose on the orange layer, I couldn’t avoid having to use an island to mask out the inner part of the nose.
My paint application wasn’t as even as I would have liked, but I started to get the hang of it with the second stencil. Part of the problem with the black layer was that I mixed in a metallic copper paint with the black. They were different brands, but both ‘fabric paints’, and didn’t mix evenly. I went back over the neck area as second time.
The next step is to try the appliqué techniques – and try not to be a neat-freak with the raw edges 🙂