Wednesday, November 5, 2014

FO: Anna's Garden Shell Top

Back with more Alabama Stitchin'!!  These days, AC projects and working on my Starmore sweater are all I seem to want to do.

Almost two months ago, I previewed a kit I had purchased over the summer from Alabama Chanin:  the Anna's Garden Shell Top.  I started working on it some time later, and finished it a couple weeks ago.  Today, I finally wore it when I went out for coffee with Alicia, so I took a few pictures before I left. 

I purchased the size Medium kit.  The fit is OK, but not as good as I could make it if I'd traced the pattern from the book and adjusted it for my needs.  I was surprised that the shoulders were a bit wide - surprised because my shoulders are on the wide side.  The top is also quite long.  I could easily cut off a couple inches from the bottom.  And of course, on my body, it would benefit from a sway back adjustment.  But it's a t-shirt, and none of these things are going to keep me from wearing and enjoying it.

Here are some up-close pictures of the garment, and then some modeled pictures.

From the front:  you can see that the cut of these tops is quite curvy, which I like.  The neck is also  high - a true jewel neckline - which I don't mind but I know a lot of people dislike.  I believe that this top uses the "T-Shirt Top" pattern from the Sewing + Design book, so you could replicate this look if you wanted to.  (The kit is no longer available.)


On the back, you can see the stitching from the label.


And here's the label from the inside.  Love. It.  I feel so cool knowing this label is in there.


The reverse applique sections were worked in backstitch using four strands of embroidery floss.  After working my first AC project with button craft thread, I wasn't sure I'd like the floss but I really loved it!  It's so silky.  The floss included in the kit was black and grey variegated.  It makes for an interesting look - I would use variegated floss again.



I was surprised when I received the kit that the cream piece for the inside was not the full width of the front piece.  Now that the top is put together though, I think it's a good thing - this fabric is quite thick.  The appliqued side almost feels like padding on my shoulder, and the weight of it tends to pull the top to that side.  Here it is from the inside, cut away after stitching.


I attached the bindings with cretan stitch again, and worked the seams inside felled.



And I finally bought a pair of black jeans, just to go with this top.  I don't think I've had a pair of black jeans in 25 years!


Here's a better look at the cutwork from the side:


Despite its imperfections, I'm happy with this project.  If you are tempted to try this technique but intimidated by all the hand stitching, a project like this - no sleeves, cutwork only on a small area - is a great place to start.

A couple days after I finished this, I started on a new AC project.  I just couldn't stand not having one on the go!  I'm trying different techniques with each project, so that one is very different from the 3 I've already done.  I'm not sure I like it quite as much, but I am having fun making it!

40 comments:

  1. That's beautiful, and you're sorely tempting me! I'll have to check out their sizing...

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    1. I'd say, if you're interested in doing the embroidery but uncertain about the AC sizing, start from a TNT pattern. That's what I did on my first one (I used the Grainline Scout). I wanted to try out the reverse applique but didn't want to stress about the fit, and I'm glad I did it that way. Another thing to know is that if you order a kit, they can take a while to come. I think each kit ordered is made custom, because you can choose your fabric and thread colors so they don't make it up til you order it.

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  2. i really love that the design is just at the shoulder! so pretty. and it looks great with your black jeans! funny, i've been thinking to make my next pair in black denim... looks great together!

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    1. Pretty cool, eh? I'm hoping to make a dress in the future with the same offset design. I've always been dubious of black jeans because they end up being grey, which I don't love as much. We shall see how these fare!

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  3. Lovely top! And wonderful hand stitching as always. I made a short sleeved top recently with only beading embellishments done on my left shoulder. Yes, it does make the garment heavier. Can't wait for AC's new book to be published!

    http://sartorialstitches.blogspot.com/2014/10/alabama-chanin-basic-top.html

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    1. I love the t-shirt you made! Yes, I'm super excited about the new book too - I've pre-ordered!

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  4. That is really beautiful. I just love all that detail!

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  5. Wow, so beautiful! I could really see myself getting into this, but I don't think the aesthetic is quite me.. I just love handwork and yours looks amazing!!

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    1. I felt the same way, Jo - even as I was working my first one! Obviously I've changed my mind!!

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  6. It looks and you look gorgeous Gail. Your hand stitching is perfect!

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  7. I'm so, so impressed by your new top ~ what a wonderful project. Love how great it goes with your new rockin' black jeans, too! ; )

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  8. I absolutely love all the handwork that went in to making this fabulous top, and I think it looks marvelous despite the imperfections. :-))))

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  9. That is so neat. What a great outcome. You are too cute.

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  10. You are on a roll with your Alabama Stitching! Interesting that only the cut section is double thickness. I do like the variegated thread.

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    1. I am! I really love it. I confess to buying more goodies in the recent sale :-)

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  11. Looks awesome with the jeans - so pretty.

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    1. Thank you! I sort of feel like I'm channeling my inner Fabric Tragic in these jeans!! LOL!

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  12. Beautiful!!

    I've always wondered if they were a double thickness allover. It seemed like it might be too thick, but it might hang funny if it were just on one side. Just to clarify, you think it would be too thick? and, it does hang a bit funny, but not enough to make you crazy? I wonder what would happen if you used a thinner jersey for the inner layer than the outer?

    Full of questions tonight...

    Cyndi

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    1. You ARE full of questions!

      There are different ways to do it. The first AC top I made has double layer throughout, but I used a lighter weight jersey, and then a lot of that gets cut away.

      This one used heavy weight jersey (9 oz instead of 6) and I definitely think it would be too heavy if it were 2 layers throughout, given that the cut away design is only on a small section.

      I've just received a new kit though (ahem!) that uses the heavy weight jersey in double layers throughout. That one has an all-over design so a lot of fabric will get cut away, but it has bust darts too - I'm very curious to see how the darts work with the layers.

      Honestly, this one bugs me a bit. The heavier area ended up on my lower shoulder - the one from which bra and other straps are constantly falling down. So I do find myself yanking it back in place pretty often. I wonder if I would feel the same though if I'd worked this section on my higher left shoulder?

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    2. Thanks! So much to think about about. Like I need another craft... :-)

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  13. Gosh those designs are sure pretty! I admire your patience!

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  14. Fantastic! I like the idea of trying first with a small section. How much stretch would you recommend for the cotton knit? I've got some lovely new fabric but I wonder if a fabric with slightly less stretch might be better?

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    1. The fabrics that come in the kit are really stable - almost no stretch at all. I have used and liked a lighter weight, somewhat stretchier fabric for the reverse applique. But I think something with too much stretch (i.e. lycra content) would be a challenge.

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  15. Excellent little top, and it fits you so perfectly!

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  16. The reverse applique is really cool! I also like the variegated thread. I didn't notice it until you pointed it out, but It's a pretty neat detail.

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  17. Great detailing. I am one of those people whom a jewel neck does not agree with but it certainly seems to flatter you. :)

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    1. I think I read somewhere that jewel necklines are best on small-busted women. Guilty as charged ;-)

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  18. I love this! It's fascinating how similar yet different they are in different colours - and our stitching of course ;) I've just photographed mine (at last) & am writing the post as I type ;)

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    1. ok, it's up ;) http://dreamingdashie.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/getting-my-feet-wet-alabama-chanin.html
      Thanks for all of your co-sewing support ;)

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    2. It's beautiful! Thanks for providing the link! I've got you in my feed now :-)

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