squishythings in which maggie post pictures of things she made (mostly)


Wrap skirt

The skirts in the first Alabama Chanin books are all elastic waist, and the patterns appear to put them at the natural waist.. I have an aversion to most elastic waistbands and prefer to wear bottom garments more toward my hips. Because of this I've never bothered to try an Alabama Chanin skirt pattern. Then the new book came out, with a wrap skirt! Hooray!

Wrap skirt

I intended to make all three main panels with the grey-purple/pink colorway, but once again I was foiled! I had a yard and a half of each of the three colors, but I couldn't fit all the XL pattern pieces on any one cut. Instead of dyeing more, I just used what I had.

Rather than using a stencil for this reverse applique, I just used my 6x24" acrylic ruler to trace lines on the back of the inner layer. I stitched over the drawn lines and cut away to make the diamond check pattern. All three main panels are stitched this way; the one panel is two layers of the same color so it's harder to make out.

I ran into a few issues. The first thing is sort of specific to this pattern: the construction of this skirt involves a few steps that are new to the Chanin method canon, and they really would have benefited from some photos or diagrams. At this point I've made over a dozen garments from AC patterns, so I'm not a beginner, but I needed some reassurance about the placement of the ties and stuff like that. Second, and I'm sure I whined about this before: give us accurate fabric yardage estimates for every size! The book said a yard per layer, so I thought maybe a yard and a half would do.. nope. Third.. I should have made an XXL, whoops.

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Three garments from dyed green yardage

I like to buy bulk yardage of cotton jersey from Dharma Trading and dye it myself for my Alabama Chanin projects. I dyed a bunch of it green this spring and made three garments.

First, a short sleeve bolero
green short sleeve bolero

Then a camisole top
Camisole top

And finally, a cardigan with pockets.
open jacket

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But I swear to you I have not been lax in making things. I guess I should tell you about them.

In May I made a top from the Washi pattern, with the Eucalyptus print from Anna Maria Horner's Pretty Potent line. It's the quilting cotton rather than voile so it's a little heavy. But that's OK.

Washi tunic

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Two dresses in a week, plus a little thing

Soooo yes I did the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market on March 29th (it went very well, thank you, I sold many of my embroideries!), and then I decided to take the next week off from doing anything, since I have no more shows any time soon. Then the next week I got sick and spent several days in bed feeling terrible, not doing anything. By Friday April 10th I felt better enough to come up to my sewing room. That's when I discovered poor Alfie, my elderly ferret, had totally shredded her sleep sack. So I threw together a new one.

emergency sleep sack

At nearly 8 years old, Alfie has lost her vision, so she relies even more heavily on smell to find her way. She didn't really acknowledge the existence of the new sleep sack for about five days but she's sleeping in it now. Yay.

On Saturday the 11th, I got the new Alabama Chanin book in the mail - Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns. Cool. I was feeling pretty itchy since I didn't make anything for two weeks, BUUUUT the book came with a CD full of PDFs rather than paper patterns in the back. So I couldn't make anything from that right away; I had to wait until I could get the patterns printed. But I did have the Washi Dress in the back of my mind - I bought fabric for it a year ago and bought the pattern a few months ago. On Sunday, I decided to make it, and I finished it Wednesday night.

Washi Dress
Washi Dress

In the meantime, I had taken the CD from the Alabama Chanin book to the FedEx Office shop and gotten the new patterns printed large scale. I'm a terrible monster so as soon as my Washi Dress was finished I pulled out a knit from my stash and began an A-line dress from the new book. And finished it on Saturday night.

Alabama Chanin A-line dress

So two dresses in a week, ha ha, oh man, I don't have a problem! You have a problem! But seriously: BOTH OF THESE DRESSES HAVE POCKETS. IT IS SO GOOD.

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Rabbit embroideries

These went in a slightly different direction: embroidered as usual on the machine, but then I painted them with acrylic ink (rather than gouache), hand-beaded them, and mounted them on canvas (instead of frames). Hmm!

Rabbits #1 and #2

Each is 5x7" mounted on 8x10" canvas.


Pink doodle scarf

In my last post about dyed scarves, I mentioned that I usually have a pile of "needs more work" scarves somewhere.. Most of my scarves get dyed twice so I can make those interesting resisted patterns on them, but I don't always know what the second round is going to be, so that's why there's a pile.

I took a pink inkblot-looking scarf out of the pile, and decided instead of overdyeing it, I would draw on it with black acrylic ink. It is.. weird, yes. But Kind of cute.

inkblot doodle scarf

There are dogs, bears, squid, flowers, snails, rabbits, shapes, and who even knows.

inkblot doodle scarf

inkblot doodle scarf

inkblot doodle scarf

inkblot doodle scarf


Modified t-shirt

I've made a whole bunch of Alabama Chanin garments from the books for myself over the last couple years, and it's surprising to me how differently they fit. I use different sizes across the patterns.

When I made my first tshirt, I made it in size L. For the other pattern in that book,the fitted dress, I use a size L on top and switch it to XL at the waist, so I thought maybe the tshirt would fit the same at the top and be looser at the hip. NOPE. The L was way too small. I remembered reading one of their blog posts about modifications to the pattern, and ended up inserting two godets on the side seams to make it fit a little better (it's still too tight for me to wear outside of my house though). Then I switched to size XL, and still added godets to the side seams to make that fit better.

Lately I've been really into tunic-length tops, and thought maybe I should use one of the suggested modifications in that blog post the way it was written! So yes. I did it with inside felled seams and short sleeves, and again dropped the center front neckline by five inches.

extended and flared tshirt

(I didn't take any other pictures, whoops!)

Fabric is Dharma Trading jersey dyed by me. Considering throwing it in another dye bucket for interest now that it's finished, but I don't know.

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small embroidered sketches

Peltex stabilizer comes on a 20" wide roll, and I cut so many 6x6" pieces that I ended up with a ton of scraps that are 2" wide by 6" or 7" long. The scraps seem too big to toss, so they've been accumulating in a stack.

I decided to cut matching canvas and start scribbling on them the same way I do some of my other mindless drawing with pens.

new scrap embroidery

Patterns, repeating shapes.. I guess you could use them for bookmarks or just something to touch because they have a nice texture..


Recent dyed scarves

***REMINDER: I will be at the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market this Sunday, March 29. 10am to 5pm. 275 S. Clinton Ave, Trenton NJ.***

I keep a drawer full of scarves that need more work in some way, and I pulled a few out and finished them up.

horror film scarf

oval scarf

spotlight scarf

purple drips scarf

haunted fence scarf

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the trash scarf

When I dye and paint my scarves, I like to keep one or two around for testing out techniques and materials, or for somewhere to use up any excess thickened dye. I guess they're kind of like scratch paper? Rags? Here are two examples I just retired:

inky trash scarf

I started this one about a year ago when I bought my first bottles of acrylic ink. There's ink and dye on this. I tested shading with a small brush, how the colors would bleed if they were wet, and how the colors mixed with white, among other things. I also dip-dyed it and did some other stuff.

dye trash scarf
This one features a few months' worth of thickened dyes. It was doubled up on a hanger, and I globbed the thickened dyes on it and let them drip down on their own. Usually after I retire one of these, I resist it and overdye it in some way, but I think this one looks pretty good as it is.