15 April 2014

"Alabama Chanin" style shorts

I love the inspiration that I get from reading other sewing blogs. Last year I was reading a post by Carolyn on some experimenting that she was doing from a book on Alabama Chanin techniques. I fell in love with the style instantly, and started plotting how to incorporate the look into a project without having to spend too much time on handsewing.

Independently of this, I had planned on making a pair of shorts with a piece of blue linen that I bought maybe 15 years ago. I'm not sure of the exact time, but I distinctly remember it. It was at the opening sale of Lincraft at Chatswood, which has now been closed for many years. I was working in North Sydney at the time, and living on the north shore, so I popped in after work one day. I was determined to buy something, and so came home with this linen, and probably some other stuff too.

To marry these two concepts together, I found a piece of jersey that seemed about right for this technique, and used this for the outer layer for my shorts. I had high hopes of doing all the hand sewing while visiting my family back in January, but all I managed to get done before I left my place was to make a pattern for the shorts. I cut out the linen while I was at my parents, and printed out my chosen design (Anna's Garden) for the template.

I stupidly made my template from a fairly heavy weight card. I picked it because it seemed about the right size, but when I started to cut the shapes out with my stanley knife I realised that a cereal box would have been a much better option. Not that I counted, but it must have taken me at least 4 hours to make this very small template (and a very cramped hand).

I used a white fabric paint that I had lying around for the stencilling, so it wouldn't matter if I didn't cut it all off the final garment.

I stitched around the design by hand using two strands of Gutermann all purpose polyester thread, and, even after trying to make my stitches larger, they seemed to want to be small! Then I cut out the stencilled areas with my embroidery scissors. I did leave some of the white areas behind, as I wasn't too sure about cutting that close to my stitching!

I was still having second thoughts about the colour combination until I'd cut all the white areas off, but I'm pretty happy with it now. Apart from the embellishments, I also used the jersey fabric for the pocket and waistband linings, as well as belt loops and fly facing. I interfaced all of them so they wouldn't stretch out of shape. (I also used a zip that matches the jersey).

I really wish that I'd kept track of the amount of time I took on any of the stages, but a rough guess would put this at around 20 hours or more of work. After making this I'm kind of keen to do a dress, and with winter approaching, I might even have a chance of getting it done by next summer! It's good to have some hand sewing to take to the kids' climbing lessons, piano lessons, gymnastics. It's such a good conversation starter too!

1 comment:

  1. Well done for seeing it through! and your shorts look just lovely. I really like your pretty colour combination :)