Friday, April 17, 2015

Natalie Chanin's New Book

Everyone knows about this, right? Natalie Chanin's new book, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns. It's a nice addition to the Alabama Chanin library, focusing on how to alter patterns to fit you better. Very helpful if you've been intimidated by that process! It also contains a CD with every pattern from all the other books--including my favorite six-gore dress and bolero.

If you're new to the process of altering knit garments to suit yourself, it can be very helpful to use cheap jersey, not the real thing, to practice on. I've had good luck lately finding jersey sheets at the thrift store for a dollar--they may be a little worn or a little pilled, but they are great for a practice run at a new pattern. 

In fact, I used a jersey sheet today while setting a personal record--I cut out a skirt, sewed it up, and put it on in less than fifteen minutes, using Kwik Sew 3513 (though my pattern says 639). I needed a second-tier skirt to garden in, immediately. It worked.

(edited to the correct Kwik Sew number)


Beccy said...

I didn't know about this, and I have to do adjustments on all my tops, so I am going to have to look for this one. Thanks! ☺️

Rebekah said...

Anna, you're ahead of the game. You have been cleverly altering these patterns for a perfect fit all along! Not being as skilled a seamstress as you are, I am thrilled to have this resource(because I do, naturally) so I can do the same.

Margo said...

15 minutes from nothing to skirt is amazing!! and I love that name "second-tier skirt." Useful way to classify clothes I think I call "old"

Wendi said...

Thanks for the hint on a new skirt pattern to try! 15 minutes from sheet to skirt, that's impressive!
I got the book last week, but haven't been able to finish reading it yet. Interrupted by the stomach bug making its way through seven of us....
I'm really looking forward to learning how to put sleeves in my knit dresses!
Do you like the a-line dress? Can't make up my mind if it'll be adorable, or look like a paper bag on a middle aged body. Guess I'll have to sew one up to see.

seashoreknits said...

Have been poring through the book since it arrived last week - am loving the new patterns. But - the six gore dress has been at the top of my list to try first for a while, so I think I'm sticking to it.
Love your 15 minute skirt - clever girl!

Polly said...

I haven't indulged yet but of course it's at the forefront of my radar. I am especially interested in the alterations section, b/c I alter everything so extremely when I make a commercial pattern. I had to teach myself to grade patterns a couple of years ago.

Lately I have been bucking the system entirely and draping and pinning fabric to create my own patterns. I am stunned at the good luck I've had so far, but it's early in the Seeking the Perfect Summer Tee Shirt Process.

Anonymous said...

Just got the book, working on a top for me! Major trial and error to fit my chest unfortunately.

I'm still hunting for little girl patterns. Those however are pretty easy to fit!

the momma said...

15 min?!?!! I just don't know how you can make a skirt that fast!

I finally read my book yesterday! I'd pre-ordered it, but hadn't had time to read it, so I didn't tempt myself by even opening the pkg.
Sadly, It's my least favorite and least inspiring of the four.
While I appreciated her not using starving models this time - I feel like, for the most part, everyone just looks frumpy. (and why, oh why, all the crew necks?!)
Considering that much of the book is about fit, well, all of the ill-fitting garments were jumping off the page and distracting me...
I felt like directions and illustrations regarding some of the alterations were really lacking, too (if someone *needed* that info - they'd need a bit more than was given, especially for the internal alterations)
If I didn't already love AC so much ~ I'd return the book. But since I *DO* adore Natalie and AC, I'll keep my set intact :-) but I'd sure recommend people consider borrowing it before purchasing if possible.

Lisa said...

Smart cookie.


Anna said...


This is also my least favorite of the books. I'm glad to have it as a reference, though.

You're right about the fitting problems. One I never see addressed is the back of the corset. Every single model's corset is full of horizontal wrinkles across the small of the back. I've ironed mine out with some alterations, but it took some thought.

Jill S said...

Do you need a serGermany for this skirt?

Anna said...

No serger required! You don't need to finish the seams.

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