clothes hand embroidery i made it

Long-sleeved bolero

A long-sleeved bolero seemed like a good idea for wearing to yoga this time of year. I cut a new stencil out of some thick-but-not-stiff acrylic felt I’ve had for years. Dyed some jersey. Cut pieces, stenciled with spray fabric paint, stitched and cut the reverse applique, sewed the seams, bound the edges. Pattern from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

stenciled reverse applique bolero - back

stenciled reverse applique bolero - sleeve

stenciled reverse applique bolero - front

stenciled reverse applique bolero - binding

clothes hand embroidery i made it stencil

Short fitted dress from Alabama Studio Sewing and Design

I don’t have much in the way of cotton jersey around, except for the bag of scraps I bought and some tshirts I haven’t cut up yet. I scoured Jo-Ann, and the only 100% cotton knit in the whole store is from the Doodles line aimed at young girls. The prints are small and busy and mostly hideous. I found this weird Pepto-bismol pink button flower print in the clearance bin, and bought all that remained with my magic 40% off coupon. I cut it into a couple chunks and dyed it to try to make it slightly less.. whatever it was. One piece went in raspberry, one in pewter. I’m not sure I was successful in toning it down, but I’m working with it anyway. (Since then I realized the fabric is a double knit and so the wrong side could easily be used as the right side, keeping the print mostly hidden. Gah!)

This time we’ll use the scallop stencil. Paint dabbed on with sponge brushes, and not covering the whole interior of the scallop.
Dress piece with scallop stencil

The top part of the dress is two layers, but not the bottom, because there wasn’t enough of the pink to make it that long. I stitched around the scallops with embroidery floss in a range of purple shades, #95-102 from Anchor.

Beginning embroidery at the top
Beginning stitching on dress panels

The wrong sides, about halfway done
stitching for reverse applique

Embroidery stitching completed, interior sections of scallops cut away at the top
Interior sections of scallops cut away for reverse applique

All done!
finished dress

Detail of binding stitch

clothes hand embroidery i made it stencil

Bucket hat from Alabama Studio Sewing and Design

What do do with those stencils? Let’s try the first thing out on the bucket hat from Alabama Studio Sewing and Design!

I used the shark jaw stencil, glittery paint, and a variegated cotton floss.

Bucket hat brim with stencil and some stitching

Originally I had planned to trim away most of the lighter fabric around the stenciled and stitched sections. Then I realized my only good fabric scissors are 8″ shears and a tiny pair of thread snippers, so I didn’t do that. (I have since purchased a good 5″ pair for reverse applique trimming.)

Before construction:
trimmed, ready to construct

All done:
congratulations, you have a weird hat

clothes i made it

Fitted top from Alabama Studio Sewing and Design

Instead of buying yardage, I decided to try out the Fitted Top pattern in the book on one of my old tshirts. I loved this shirt, and it’s not in very good shape because it’s about 14 years old. I haven’t worn it in years because I came to prefer closer cut shirts with lower necklines. This is a unisex size L crewneck.

What can I do with this old shirt?
Whole shirt.

First, cut it up!
Shirt cut into four pattern pieces.

Second, start sewing the parts together.
Center-front seam sewn.

refashioning an old shirt
Center-back, shoulder, and side seams finished. Pinning binding to the neckline.

refashioning an old shirt
Closeup of my first crack at the cretan stitch on the binding.

refashioning an old shirt
aaaaaaaand we’re finished!

SADLY it does not fit around my chest right now. That isn’t going to stop me from making more things from these patterns, though.

clothes i made it

Bolero from Alabama Studio Sewing and Design by Natalie Chanin

I’ve had a bit of an obsession with the general aesthetic of the Alabama Chanin line for a while. I bought Alabama Studio Sewing and Design, and then I bought a bag of organic cotton scraps and some notions from their website as well. Since all the pieces are hand embellished and hand stitched, I decided to start small, and do an un-embellished one layer bolero. There were enough scraps of red fabric in the bag to cut the pattern on the grain, so that’s what I did. I’ve been hand sewing for years, but never clothes. I really enjoyed making this, and I figure I’ll work my way up to more involved pieces as I go along.

Beginning shoulder seam
Sewing my first seam!

Shoulder and armhole seams
Finished shoulder and armhole seams.

Beginning of binding (I got better at this stitch as I went along!)
Beginning of binding

Finished bolero on a sleepy me.

Binding and shoulder of finished bolero.
Finished detail.