Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cursed Camera!

Fiddle! After a mild winter, we're experiencing a bit of a cold snap - just when we're in the mood for spring!  The frustrating part is that it's not too awful cold around here, just in the low fifties. But it's definitely too cold to wear sandals and little flippy skirts with no hose, a thin tee and cotton jacket.

But as they say, "Hope springs eternal..." and that's exactly what i wore Saturday morning to run a few errands. It was fun and very spring-y, my legs looked long in the gas station windows, i even felt a bit 'French'! However, once i got home and prepared to head out to Berkeley for the afternoon and evening common sense prevailed. I changed into jeans and my leather bomber jacket. Warmer and wiser!

 However i'm not too impressed with these pictures.These snaps do affirm my preference for a bit of a vee neck. I love crew necks for their spartan, classic feel but i look so top-heavy i'm surprised i don't topple over. I did have some fun with GIMP, it's funny how much photo editing can enliven 'blah' pictures.I like the first image worked over to look like it's been hanging around since the mid-1970's in non-archival conditions. Definitely more mysterious, maybe even a little ahead of my time!

Whilst out and about we stopped in DIESEL bookstore. I sat down in one of the graciously provided comfy chairs to peruse the latest Alabama Chanin offering, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. Yowza! I spent 30-45 minutes ogling, soaking up, plotting and scheming......The brilliance of this particular Alabama Chanin book is that it tells you how to accomplish all of the individual components of their trademark style - how to stencil, embroidery techniques, permanent marker embellishments, garment construction, and so on - and then shows many examples of finished garments. This allows the reader to mix and match the various parts in order to create her own custom piece.

image from Alabama Chanin: Kristina's Rose Skirt Kit
 I actually had trouble sleeping for a couple of hours after i lay down because my brain simply could not stop turning over fabrics, threads, stitches, stencils. I'm very attracted to the luxe feel of the overall embellishment using layered techniques - stencils, topped by pen, then cut outs, followed by embroidery, then beading. All of this handwork develops a truly rich fabric which Alabama Chanin's very simple garments showcase to perfection. If i don't make something inspired by this book i'll go mad!

image from Alabama Chanin: Anna's Garden Fitted Top

It strikes me that a simple cap sleeve tee and slight A-line skirt in matching fabric could be worn separately quite casually, as well as at once for a more formal dress. With the springtime return of swallows and swifts i can't help but think of an all over stencil pattern based on swifts in flight.

image from Saisons de Sainte-Cecile
 I haven't mentioned yet that Alabama Chanin constructs all of her pieces using strictly hand sewing. You cannot find any machine 'work-arounds' in any of her do it yourself books, either.  This contributes enormously to the beauty of these garments, and also eliminates lack of machine experience as an impediment. Plus its so nice to have a hand work project to occupy yourself when you're not sleepy but not sharp enough to accomplish any real brain-work. Not to mention it's perfect for long telephone calls!

Do any of you have opinions about/experience with the Alabama Chanin books and/or clothing? Is spring getting here fast enough for you? I'm linking this one up to Patti's Visible Monday as soon as the post is up and i can get to a computer. Be sure to take a look, i always discover great new ladies as well as spying my favorites!


  1. Gorgeous detailing in the Garden Fitted Top, as well as the varying textures in the skirt.

    I dig hand-stitching, though it's not exactly my forte. I've ripped out many a seam in my time. Perhaps that is why I appreciate it - having done so myself, I understand the complexity of the process.

    You look darling, by the way. I have been drawn myself toward jackets with collar detailing, as a means of providing interest close to the face. Not that your lovely one requires any embellishment :).

    I'm digging the cool weather, but like you I find it more challenging to wear a single outfit throughout the day and remain comfortable.

  2. First, love your outfit. That jacket is so cool.
    I've never heard of Alabama Chanin, but I will be checking out the book. I adore detail on clothing. I don't have the talent to do it myself, but love it nonetheless.

  3. Wow I always learn something new from you. Such an interesting book- Alabama Chanin. I will definitely be checking that out. I do love the look you put together with your striped skirt. It is very interesting collar and it frames your face nicely. We have been having an especially mild spring in Virginia this year.

  4. No experience with Chanin--although the dress you pictured is lovely. I'm admiring the collar on the pink jacket myself.

  5. Hi P!!!! i know you're scared of set in sleeves and what not, this is the type of project that is great for a person in your position. You get this awesome result with pretty basic sewing skills.
    Debbi, that applies to you as well! this book makes it easy to creates something great, as each individual step is really simple. I love detail too (and collars are great for drawing interest to the face).

    Hi Adrienne! i could see you getting into that book! with your 'mad hat skills' you could definitely whip something up and i can see you in one of their stoles esp. WOW! I'm happy you're having a nice spring!

    Oh, Terri, this is exciting to have introduced you to AC!! You are EVERYWHERE on the net, you know all that is going on! How fun for me!!

    Happy Monday All! steph

  6. Thanks for linking up with Visible Monday, Steph! I love, love a striped skirt, and this one is delightful. The jacket too - so fresh. And thanks for the referral to a new book!

  7. The striped skirt is so cute and great for spring!!

  8. Aw, Patti i love VM! it IS very easy, new ladies show up here which is always a blast, and it is a super simple way to find great new blogs! plus it prods me to read your posts and you always look super gorg. What's not to like!

    Thank you Pam! it's wonderful how one little piece can capture the moment or the season, it makes wearing it so fun :)

    Take care, steph