My Alabama Chanin sampler corset top is finally done. I sewed the zipper into the side seam last night and now it's all finished. I can squeeze into it and it fits like a glove (quite a snug glove – if I had gloves this tight I wouldn't actually be able to bend my fingers)

There have been a few months of procrastinating along the way and it was a time consuming project to complete, but the nice thing about it is that the embellishment can be done while you're doing other things like watching TV, in morning tea and lunch breaks or on public transport and it's surprisingly relaxing and enjoyable to do.

Because I took it with me so many places and it's been seen by a lot of people I've actually had a few requests to make one for other people. Of course my answer was no, but then I'd tell them they could buy their own from Alabama Chanin. No one actually has yet but at least they understand why they're quite costly to buy.

I learned the techniques from the Craftsy class Hand Embellishing Knit Fabric. You could learn the techniques from any of Natalie Chanin's books but I always like to see techniques demonstrated which is probably why I'm such a big fan of Craftsy classes and have enrolled in lots of them. My daughter bought me all three of the books for my birthday last year so I have plenty of material for inspiration for my next project. Next time I might stick to just one embellishment technique for the entire garment.

Alabama Chanin sampler corset front
The front

Alabama Chanin sampler corset top back
There was no way I was going to be able to get into this without a zip

The details

Fabric: Two recycled t-shirts and some blue stash fabric

Pattern: Corset top from Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin

Stencil: Anna's garden stencil from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design or download from the Alabama Chanin website

Paint: I mixed a grey blue colour with Atelier acrylic paints and mixed it with a Jo Sonja's fabric medium. I didn't use textile paint because I already had acrylic paint and fabric medium in my art supplies.

Other stuff: John James milliners needles, King Tut variegated thread, vintage glacé cotton thread, quilting DMC embroidery thread, Shamrock fine bead thread, Gutermann beads and standard polyester thread for sewing the seams. Invisible zipper. The Button craft thread which Natalie Chanin recommends isn't available in New Zealand and it was going to be expensive to mail order from an international source so I made do with alternatives.

My daughter the pro photographer taking a photo of me putting the cat down, but as it turns out it shows the back quite well



9 thoughts on “Finito!

  1. Wow!! I can’t believe this began it’s life as 2 t-shirts! I never would have guessed that. The painting and beading are just gorgeous. Nice fit too! I will have to look into that Craftsy course as this looks like a really fun and creative thing to do when I’m all burnt out from sewing!

    1. Now that you mention sewing burnout, it was a nice change from my usual sewing, it was fun doing the stencilling and all the hand stitching. It was more artistic than just constructing a garment, which I always think of as being more of an engineering sort of skill. Have a look at her books if you can find them in at the library, I found them more inspiring than the class, but the class was good to see the techniques demonstrated.

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