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Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A Guide to Hand-Sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe Hardcover – March 1, 2012

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Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A Guide to Hand-Sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe + Alabama Studio Style: More Projects, Recipes & Stories Celebrating Sustainable Fashion & Living + Alabama Stitch Book: Projects and Stories Celebrating Hand-Sewing, Quilting, and Embroidery for Contemporary Sustainable Style
Price for all three: $83.64

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Product Details

  • Series: Alabama Studio
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158479920X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584799207
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Natalie Chanin is the founder and head designer of Alabama Chanin and the author of Alabama Stitch Book and Alabama Studio Style (both from STC Craft). Her work has been featured in Vogue, the New York Times, and Town & Country, among many other publications, as well as on CBS News. She is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Visit her website at


Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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The book has beautiful pictures and well written, easy to follow directions.
Natalie has done it again by being incredibly generous in sharing her creativity and processes in this third Alabama Chanin book.
Brenda Inglis
I have sewn a few garments using her patterns and techniques, which are now very special pieces in my wardrobe.
Brooke Serson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 121 people found the following review helpful By nsewus on February 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wavered on buying this book. I wasn't a big fan of the bucket hat on the cover, had never heard of Alabama Chanin, and when I looked at a few images of the fashion line I didn't see myself in those clothes.I made my decision to purchase based on the emphasis on hand sewing, embroidery, fashion applique, and beading. This may be the best sewing-centric book purchase I've made in the last 12 months (and I've made quite a few).

This is a truly outstanding book from cover to cover for a few reasons:
1.) The stitch charts are very easy to follow.
2.) The samples are presented in LARGE, close up photographs
3.) The garments included are very basic and can be made by hand with one of the easiest, green friendly, most forgiving fabrics out there- cotton jersey.
4) The instructions are very good. Even a beginner could make the tank, tee, skirt, bolero, wrap, or fingerless gloves by hand with a minimum of notions except for quality fabric and thread. Those particular items would probably not give a beginner a fit over fitting either. You'll need more tools for stenciling or beading, but even they are pretty simple to acquire.
5.) The book's index includes photos for fast referencing
6.) The embellishments shown are beautiful and accessible!You can go as elaborate (full beading and applique on a long dress) or simple (adding a basic ruffle to a tank) as you want. This is truly "luxe casual" at its best.

All the things above tied together with the author's encouraging narrative (friendly without being too exhausting)
make this a wonderful book. Very few things I consider a "must have". However, if you are in to hand sewing garments or just curious about how to add embellishment to clothes you make or own, this book does an excellent job and has enough ideas to keep you busy for a very long time.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By lil' girl blu on February 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I received my pre-order of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design this afternoon, and have to say I am blown away both by Natalie Chanin's creativity and by her generosity - because she has included so much in this book! I own both of her two previous books, and love them but I think that this new one will be my favorite.

The first two books are more technical primers - how to hand sew with jersey, how to bead, how to stencil - with a few patterns and stencils included. Alabama Studio Sewing does not go in depth into the techniques; the emphasis is on the design of the finished fabric and garment sewing. There are patterns for a hat, fingerless gloves, skirts, a t-shirt, a dress and a wrap with instructions on how to use ruffles or surface elements to vary the designs.

Then there are the stencils. 6 or 7 of them, to be photocopied or downloaded to use. And with these are a design 'library' of images showing fabrics created using each stencil and different combinations of beading, applique, reverse applique and printing (all techniques that were covered in the first and second books). There are also photos and instructions for decorative and beaded stitches, ruffles, eyelets and even "fur". At the end of the book is an index showing all of the garment photos in the main body and listing exactly what they are composed of: the color fabric and thread, the pattern and stencils used, the fabric treatment, the style of beads, that one could theoretically recreate any of the garments.

It is an incredible, inspiring book and I really look forward to trying my hand at creating my own Alabama Chanin wardrobe. Thank you to Natalie and the Alabama Chanin team for making such an amazing work available to the rest of us!!!!
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Nikki F on September 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have all three Alabama Chanin books and love them all, but I must say this is my favorite! I can't believe how generous Natalie Chanin is with sharing her techniques, and the sample photos are really wonderful. So far I have made 2 t-shirts, a fitted tank top and two boleros. While the neckline of the tank was too low for me and I had to raise it, I love the cut of her patterns. The t shirts are so graceful with the slighly curved hems. Very flattering.

In addition to the above items I have made from scratch from an old cotton jersey t-shirt sheet, I have also started to revamp some of my existing clothes. For example, I took an oversized frumpy old maternity t-shirt I set aside about 5 years ago, laid one of my A.C. t-shirts on top of it, traced it, re-sewed along those lines, and then added some appliques cut from another t-shirt I had unsuccessfully tried to alter back in my ill-advised days of following the instructions in the Generation T book. (Not saying Generation T is a bad book, but being almost 40, the styles are not appropriate for me, and I needed something a bit more refined.) From these two depressing old rag bag t-shirts, I made what is now one of my very favorite shirts. Similarly, I had a Coldwater Creek shirt I bought online, and the very first time I wore it, one of the seams developed a hole, right in the front of the shirt! They had no more in stock, and I didn't want to hassle with a return, so into the "to be altered" pile it went. Luckily, the shirt had two layers of fabric on the front, so I was able to do some reverse-applique using a stencil from the book. I just finished it a couple of days ago, and I can't wait to wear it. Another garment rescued from the rag bag.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Natalie "Alabama" Chanin is owner and designer of the American couture line Alabama Chanin and author of Alabama Stitch Book (STC - February 2008, Alabama Studio Style (STC - February 2010, and Alabama Studio Sewing + Design (STC - February 2012). Her designs for hand-sewn garments constructed using quilting and stitching techniques from rural America have been lauded for both their beauty and sustainability. Made from 100% Certified Organic Cotton combined with up-cycled and re-purposed materials by artisans located near Natalie's home in Florence, Alabama, her designs have earned accolades from peers and journalists alike.

Natalie's work in the fashion industry began in the year 1988 in the New York City fashion district working in the Junior Sportswear industry. From New York, Natalie moved to Europe in 1990 where she worked for ten years as a stylist and costume designer for film and photography.

However, Natalie's life work began in the year 2000 with the invention of Project Alabama. Natalie returned to her home in Florence, Alabama to produce a collection of 200 one-of-a-kind, up-cycled t-shirts, along with the 22-minute documentary film "Stitch" - about old-time quilting circles in her community. Project Alabama grew quickly and became a full collection fashion company, added business partners, lost business partners, all the while earning respect from editors and stores around the world.

In the year 2006, Project Alabama ceased operations in the state of Alabama. Rather than choosing to outsource, Natalie made the decision to adhere to the original mission of Project Alabama and launched Alabama Chanin where she continues to create limited-edition, rendered-by-hand, jewelry, clothing, home furnishing and textiles using a mixture of organic and recycled materials with local talent. Based on the thought that good design should be a part of everyday living, Alabama Chanin gives modern context to techniques that have been passed down through generations of women and men.

The artisans who work with Alabama Chanin represent this generational span. Stitchers aged in their early 20s work alongside those in their late 70s, producing garments in the spirit of the traditional quilting bee. Each collection emphasizes quality, detail, craftsmanship, and style while each piece is a labor of love signed by the artisan who hand-stitched every seam.

Natalie has a Degree in Environmental Design from North Carolina State University and works simultaneously as designer, manufacturer, stylist, filmmaker, mother, artisan, cook and collector of stories from her home in Florence, Alabama.

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Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A Guide to Hand-Sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe
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