Monday, December 29, 2014

Alabama Inspiration

I mentioned briefly a post or two ago that we went to Austin, TX for Thanksgiving to visit some old friends.  The wife of the couple is an artist, and I was fortunate that she was willing to indulge my request to visit the Alabama Chanin pop-up store at Billy Reid in downtown Austin.

I wasn't really sure what to expect beyond finished garments.  I was hoping that there might be some DIY kits, but there were not - probably better for my pocketbook!  But there were two of the Alabama Chanin swatch books available to leaf through.  So gorgeous!  The girl who was minding the shop that day said it was fine for me to take pictures, so I took a lot, and I'm sharing them here with you today.

It was so fantastic to see and feel the garments created by the artisans who work for Alabama Chanin.  And I was a little surprised - they looked a lot like the things I've been making!  That is, I'd expected that the quality of stitching would far surpass mine, but they look just as rustic and imperfect as the stitching I've been doing.  Not every stitch is perfect, and I like that a lot.

My favorite pieces were those made of "Alabama Fur" and the heavily beaded fabrics.  These garments are quite substantial!

All these photos were taken on my phone, so the colors are not always true, but I'm hoping they are clear enough that they inspire you as much as they do me.

Outside the shop:


Hanging garments:




Petting some other garments:




Looking at construction:



And the beautiful swatch books:












I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see and feel these amazing garments, and thankful that Natalie Chanin has open-sourced so much of her work so that those of us who love to create can make our own. 

I've got 2 pieces underway right now, and more in the pipeline, so I'll be sharing those soon!

22 comments:

  1. Beautiful. Thanks for the photos!

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  2. Thanks for sharing the Natalie Chanin garments, such beautiful work and so very inspiring.

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  3. Such an amazing opportunity, Gail. Seeing the beaded garments makes me really want to try one of those next... After I finish the kits that are on their way right now. Also, having made a couple of her patterns I no longer think her pricing for finished garments is exhirbitant. In fact, I think she charges fair prices based on the amount of time and detailed invested on each piece. We are lucky we can enjoy making our own.

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  4. Thank you. What a pleasure to look through those pics.

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  5. Oh wow! How wonderful to be able to see the garments and sample books in person. And how lovely that they let you take so many photos. Some of those beaded samples are simply stunning.

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  6. Such beautiful work! Glad you were able to take photos and share them.

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  7. Oooh, very special - you can feel all of the work in those beautiful garments.

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  8. Wow!!! So amazing! Any chance you'll tackle a long, open coat like the mauve one you're holding in the 5th photo down?

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    1. I was wondering the same thing! I think that coat is gorgeous.

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    2. I am thinking of making a coat - the book of patterns to be released in April is supposed to have the pattern for it. But probably not in the "fur."

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  9. I'm so excited to see this post, I can't even imagine what it must have been like to actually see them in person! I will say, though, that every time I resolve to sit down and make some quick, simple workhorses you post something like this on some social platform and I fall back in to Alabama land!

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    1. Hehehe! It's nice in Alabama Land!

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  10. Thank you sooooo much for sharing the pictures...you sure made my day!
    Also, I'm a little late, but the Queen Anne sweater you made is totally awesome!!!!
    Happy New Year!!!

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  11. I love those! Thanks for sharing them :)

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  12. Wow! That is some amazing work :) Thanks for sharing!

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  13. Look forward to seeing your AC creations!

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  14. Oh my goodness, they are all so gorgeous, especially the beaded ones! I'm in love with that coat! I clicked on your pics and zoomed in and oh my goodness, every fuzzy strand is hand sewn, faints. But it's so gorgeous, are you tempted to make it? Does any of her books show how to do that? I've just googled and confirmed that my local Kinokuniya carries her books!!!! :)

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    1. Yes, her second and third books I think do show how to do the "fur" - it's pretty amazing stuff! I wasn't really sure I'd like it IRL, but I really do!

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  15. What lovely items. I bet they cost a pretty penny but are damn worth it with all that beautiful craftsmanship. These garments are much more worth it than designer fare.

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  16. Ah, she is such an inspiration!

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  17. Oh I envy you that time you spent at Alabama Chanin. I have a few of her books and I just browse with awe. Her work is fantastic.

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