Saturday, September 13, 2014

All Aboard the Alabama Train!

I'd meant to add all this to yesterday's post, but as usual I was too verbose!  So I broke it down into two, to make it more manageable.

For all of our trip, we had only occasional internet access, so I limited myself to reading emails, scanning my blog roll, and viewing and occasionally posting on Instagram.  At some point in late August, I received an email from Alabama Chanin informing me of a 20% off sale over Labor Day weekend.

Ruh roh.

I just couldn't resist!  I was worried about adding packages to my held mail bin, so Hubby said I could have items shipped to his office.  When we got home on Saturday, I saw an email telling me the items had been delivered that morning.  So on Monday when he returned to the office, I was expecting him to be able to collect them and bring them home to me.  But apparently things don't run that smoothly in mail rooms - he was not able to get the two boxes (the items shipped separately) until Thursday afternoon.  Yes, there were some grumpy faces each night as I expected but didn't receive my packages!!

So what did I get in the sale?  Well, I wanted just about everything on offer.  But I managed to narrow it down to two items:  a stencil and a DIY kit.

The Alabama Chanin stencils don't come cheap, and even at 20% off they are costly.  But since I've discovered I love doing this, I decided to splash out on a very intricate design:  Angie's Fall.  I don't mind cutting the stencils, honestly, but my favorite part of this process is the stitching.  I was also curious to feel the type of stencil film the company uses on these.

The stencil is just beautiful.  Laser cut, so each shape is perfectly formed.  The film is nice and heavy, and translucent.  It's similar to the plastic used in plastic milk jugs.  I'm really looking forward to trying this out in the near future, and because the quality is so great, I would absolutely consider buying another one (on sale - and the sales seem to be frequent).


The other item I ordered was a DIY kit, for a sleeveless top with stitching just on one shoulder:  the Anna's Garden Shell Top.  Sadly, it no longer appears on the website so I can't link to it.  I ordered the kit because I was curious to feel the "house" fabric, and also to see and feel the stenciling as done in the Factory with an airbrush.


Here's a picture of the whole kit - you get everything you need to make the project.  When ordering, you choose your size and the outer color, and then you have a limited selection of thread colors to choose from.  My outer fabric is "pewter" and the outline thread is black/white variegated.


You also get one of those groovy Alabama Chanin labels to stitch into your finished piece.


The fabric is listed as a medium weight at 9.8 oz. and I'd say that's accurate.  It's slightly heavier and fuzzier than the lightweight jersey I ordered from Fabric.com for my first top.


I was surprised to see that the fabric paint used for the stenciling has an almost pearlescent shimmer to it.  Alabama Chanin uses the Createx brand, and I used Jacquard textile paint.  I'm planning to try out the Createx for my next project, as I do have an airbrush and compressor, acquired over 25 years ago.  The stenciling on the kit fabric is a bit less stiff than the foam-brush stenciling I did on my project.


I'm really happy with this kit, but I think for the future I'm likely to stick with putting my pieces together on my own.  What remains to be seen is whether I like wearing the lighter weight fabric I bought before, or will prefer the Alabama Chanin jersey.  Both are organic cotton; the main differences I see (aside from the weight) are the color selection and the price.  On my first project all pieces of the top are two layers of fabric; I think two layers of the heavier Alabama Chanin jersey would be too hot for me for a short-sleeved top.  The shell kit I ordered only doubles the fabric under the stenciling.

One last neat thing:  even the box the kit was shipped in has an Alabama Chanin motif on the outside!  So pretty!


19 comments:

  1. That looks so fun! Pretty stencil!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you should join me and get a project going too!

      Delete
  2. Thanks for the review of AC kit. Looking forward to the progress on your Chanin projects.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So lovely Gail! I really admire your patience too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Silvia! The obsession gives me the patience! ;-)

      Delete
  4. Thank you for the review, especially of the stencil. I have cut two stencils, and the process is very time-consuming. Now I know to be on the lookout for sales.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad this was helpful, Jessica! I popped over to yours and checked out your AC garments - beautiful! I probably wouldn't buy every single stencil, but it was a nice splurge :-) I do have my eye on the Magdalena stencil though - I would have bought that one this time if it had been available.

      Delete
  5. Neat-o. Is it hard to cut those stencil shapes out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Stef! It's not too hard, but it does take a fair bit of time and patience. And I imagine the degree of difficulty also has to do with the thickness of the material. The film I used to cut my first stencil is quite a bit thinner than the stencil I purchased.

      Delete
  6. Hi Gail, I've been following your AC posts with must interest. Love the effect of the stitching on Grainline's Scout woven Tee. I've been stitching an AC's fitted top from their book Alabama Studio & Sewing & Design. Very relaxing indeed.

    However I did not use the stenciling method. I copied the design through a layer of knit (luckily it's ecru) with a water soluble pen. I'm going with the negative reverse applique method as 2 layers of knit fabric would be too hot here. I only plan to stitch the front, the back will be 1 layer of knit. We'll see how it goes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fascinating! I followed your profile to see if I could find some pictures of your project, but didn't come up with anything. I want to try the negative reverse applique technique at some point, so I'd love to see your project if you have a place where you share photos!

      Delete
    2. Sorry Gail for not coming back to you earlier. I've uploaded a couple of pics on Flickr. I'm still cutting away the right front piece.
      https://www.flickr.com/photos/sanguinestitcher/

      Delete
    3. Ooh, that's lovely! Thanks for sharing! I hope you'll post more pix when it's done!

      Delete
  7. Welcome back Gail :) I'm happy to sew you again in the blogging world. Especially with such amazing projects. I really admire your patience to do all the handstitching and even cutting the stencils. I like the projects of AC a lot but for me the progress is just to slow :) but I will enjoy looking at your beauties a lot! I can't wait to see the finished make :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've been behind in commenting on your posts - clearly I find them fabulous! Do you mind if I link to this one when I put my kit post up? I completely forgot to photograph the kit before I started ;0

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go right ahead! This one has been finished for over a week - must get around to taking some pix of the finished top!

      Delete
    2. Thanks Gail - you're linked in ;) http://dreamingdashie.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/getting-my-feet-wet-alabama-chanin.html

      Delete