I was at a gathering of sewists last weekend, and one of the women there had attended a Natalie Chanin workshop, and she was wearing a gorgeous top she had made from an Alabama Chanin kit. I've been wanting to feel up the organic cotton jerseys Chanin eco-dyes and sells, to see if it's really as soft as the claims are. It is! Even better news is that I found out that A Verb for Keeping Warm, a wonderful little yarn & fabric shop in Oakland (6328 San Pablo Avenue, just a few blocks off Ashby, for the local folk) has a trunk sale of Alabama Chanin items - it's only through August 26, so zip on over there if you want to check it out!
For those who might not be familiar with Alabama Chanin designs, Natalie Chanin, the founder, uses elaborate designs including stencils, dying, cut-outs, beading, and hand-stitching, incorporating embroidery and quilting techniques from eras past, and modernizing the looks in one-of-a-kind garments. She is the very essence of slow sewing!
There are a couple of racks of her made clothes at A Verb - not for sale though (something about a conflict with someone else who carries her goodies). At something like $1000 - $3000 apiece, nothing in this collection is ever going to make it into my closet, but how wonderful to be able to touch and see up close so many of the makes from her studio! A Verb also has some huge books with samples of the stitching and layering and beading...oh MY! PLUS a selection of her cottons! I managed to take a few pictures, mostly close-ups of the stitching samples from the books (these books are TREASURES - do try to check them out if you can make it!)
|Lettering on a top!!! LOVE this!|
|A cape, skirt, and top using various techniques|
Yes, I could not resist a few pieces of the fabric. At $24.50/yard, this is not cheap cotton, but it is oh-so-soft, and all ORGANICALLY sourced. It's $22/yd through her website, but I'm assuming you need to add shipping, so it's probably about the same in the end. It's the mid-weight grade, which is very sturdy - but did I mention how soft it feels? It's also pre-washed, so you're not paying for fabric that you're going to lose through shrinkage.
Then I came home and immediately ordered Alabama Studio Sewing + Design from Amazon, which seems to be the most comprehensive of her 3 books, at least for sewists. It should arrive tomorrow - can't wait!
Craftsy also has a class on Natalie Chanin Hand Embellishing Techniques - has anyone taken this class yet? What did you think of it? Her one-day workshops are in the $400 range, which makes a $40 Craftsy class sound not so bad, eh?
I do look forward to having something I've actually sewn to share here....fabric and patterns are actually laid out in the sewing room; all I need is time and energy! (Got some to spare?) ;-)
Until then, I dream :-)