The Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin This is a craft book for a kind of craft that isn’t one of the ones I regularly do. But I picked it up and it was so beautiful that I brought it home and now I will tell you about it. This book is written about an ongoing fashion project, meant to revive the dying textile industry and retain the fading knowledge of traditional techniques to make “contemporary sustainable style.” These are beautiful, appealing projects made from cotton jersey, mostly recycled t-shirts. They are decorated with stencils, appliqué, reverse appliqué and embroidery. There are decorated t-shirts, bandanas, skirts, tablecloths and even a couple of corsets – which she claims are comfortably supportive and universally flattering. That I wish I could try before making. The basic technique for appliqué or reverse appliqué involves stenciling the design on both fabrics, hand-embroidering them together, and cutting away the fabric – the order of the last two steps depending on whether you’re doing regular or reverse appliqué. Because it’s done with cotton jersey and she’s going for a home-made look, she doesn’t finish or turn under the edges. I’d wondered about stabilization, since cotton jersey is tough to machine sew in my experience. It turns out that everything is just done by hand. Patterns and stencils are included for all the projects in the book, but the craft store is also full of stencils and the technique could as happily be used for putting skulls and crossbones on Mr. FP’s shirts as roses on mine.
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