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Alabama Stitch Book: Projects and Stories Celebrating Hand-Sewing, Quilting and Embroidery for Contemporary Sustainable Style Hardcover – 7 Mar 2008

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Alabama Stitch Book: Projects and Stories Celebrating Hand-Sewing, Quilting and Embroidery for Contemporary Sustainable Style + Alabama Studio Style: More Projects, Recipes, & Stories Celebrating Sustainable Fashion & Living + Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A Guide to Hand-sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N Abrams (7 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584796383
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584796381
  • Product Dimensions: 27.3 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Natalie Chanin, a former costume designer and fashion stylist, is the founder and head designer of Alabama Chanin. She has been featured in "Vogue, Time, The New York Times," and on "CBS News," and her work has been recognized by CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards, the Alabama Council for the Arts, and Aid to Artisans, among others. In 2006 she was selected for membership by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Robert Rausch is an award-winning photographer and creative director whose client list includes Anthropologie, Whole Foods, Saks Fifth Avenue, Elton John, and Paloma Picasso.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Richardson on 17 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I absolutely adore this book. I have read it cover to cover a couple of times and have attempted most of the projects in it, even the hand-stitched quilt in the back. It is beautifully written with gorgeous photos. I loved the history and personal stories that accompanied the book - this is so much more than a "how-to". But it is incredibly comprehensive in the technical department. I had never hand-sewn a thing in my life and could barely hem a curtain on a machine before reading this book. After trying most of the projects in the book, I went on to get a dress pattern from a shop, create my own stencil and modify the dress design for hand-sewing. There are so many applications for this technique and it is so environmentally friendly! I took an old t-shirt of my husband's that was stained right in the middle, made a custom stencil and reverse appliquéd a motif right over the stain. Voila - what was once fit for the bin (not even good enough for the charity shop), is not his favorite t-shirt! You can get started making the projects in the book with just a needle, thread, scissors and an old t-shirt! Although I would advise investing in a good pair of scissors - it makes the projects much more enjoyable.
I can't praise this book enough and I have been eagerly awaiting the sequel which I am delighted to see has arrived!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By domesticali on 5 Jan. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This wonderful book works on every level, as a visual joy, an inspiring source of projects, an instruction manual and as a call to arms for slow, patient, local and handmade.

I defy anyone who buys it, not to pick up a needle and thread. It had me itching to sew from the moment I read it.

But more than a how-to manual, there is a soul and an integrity to the stories and the history behind Alabama Chanin.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gwen Edwin on 28 April 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is a visual treat. I had not heard about the Alabama Project which Natalie Chanin was part of before going it on her own. She gives an informative background to the hand stitching she has experienced during her life. But this isn't all. This book has patterns for inspirational projects using recycled textiles. Clear explanation of the hand stitching required is given - very different from machine sewn work. Beautifully photographed and illustrated throughout, this book will make you happy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bex B on 3 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I love this book from the gorgeous binding and interesting graphic design to the additional pattern paper and inserts within the book.

I found it very inspiring to make and not prescriptive about how you create your interpretation of each project. If you need detailed instructions for every aspect of making a project this would not be the book for you - however if you enjoy taking things in your own directions this is a fantastic jumping off point. The information on hand stitching was an interesting take on this technique and shows that you don't need a sewing machine to make beautiful clothes, indeed haute couturiers rarely machine stitch either.

I am currently making a skirt with reverse applica and beading, it's become quite an involved project as I am designing my own stencil and the amount of beading will take some time, however I took note that the author has projects that are being worn and added to a little at a time and I love the idea that you can wear something 'unfinished' and almost organically let the details grow over time and whim.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christine Wise on 1 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This may be my absoulte favourite sewing book, and I buy a lot of them! A pleasure to read, this book includes a history of Alabama Chanin along with a range of projects. As an added bonus you'll find recipes, a ready-made stencil, and a postcard ready for beading.

Chanin's style is simple, rustic, and elegant. All the projects use cotton jersey and most include applique/reverse applique and/or beading. All patterns are for hand-sewing and many can be made from upcycled materials, like old t-shirts. The approach here is restful, slow and steady sewing, and makes a refreshing change from so many of the "quick makes" that saturate the market. Don't panic if the prospect of hand-sewing an entire garment is alarming as there are other, smaller projects to start with and the techniques used could easily be adapted for embellishing t-shirts or jersey dresses. Before we get to the projects there are simple, easy to follow instructions on all the techniques needed and ample illustrations are provided.

My only minor gripe is that a couple of the templates need to be scaled up for use as stencils (though the inclusion of a read-to-use stencil prevents me getting too annoyed about that). Otherwise this book is amazing, a real inspiration.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Karen Philpott on 24 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a delightful book, with some lovely ideas. It is an old idea to make reverse applique, but this uses it with whole new ideas, that are do-able and certainly wear-able. Bring out your old, stained t-shirts and re-cycle them in a beautiful way. Making your own corset, skirt or table-cloth, are just three of the many projects here. One to cherish and return to many times, I think.
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