May 9, 2010

Sewing Circle with Natalie "Alabama" Chanin

I went to Chicago yesterday for a "Sewing Circle" event at Barney's taught by Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin. She demonstrated her reverse applique technique as featured on some of the pieces from her Alabama Chanin line. There was also a trunk show of the clothing collection there at Barney's so we could see all the crazy intricate couching and beading and reverse applique that you may have seen in her books, The Alabama Stitch Book, and Alabama Studio Style. There is no photograph that can convey the luxury of these pieces. They are stunning. Even though they are made of cotton jersey, the layering of the different pieces and the handwork that covers every inch, gives them a heft and a density that is both substantial and light at the same time.
She talked about the "physics" of sewing and gave all the reasoning behind her various methods of doing the meticulous handwork that her company is know for. It was incredibly inspiring. The kit included the Alabama Stitch Book, and the project we started was the journal cover from the book. She showed us how to take the two pieces of organic cotton knit that were provided and stitch around the stenciled design and gave tips on pinning them and stitch length down to a little talk on "loving your thread" that was just well, lovely...
If you ever get a chance to go to one of her retreats or other sewing events, don't pass up the chance. Sitting there for a couple of hours sewing with her made me want to sign up for a weekend workshop. It's at the top of my wish list.