I really really want to make one of the dresses out of the new Alabama Studio Style book. But I wanted to practice a little, so I made a skirt using the pattern from Alabama Stitch Book and combined techniques from both books to embellish it.
Please forgive my pale pale legs. I don't tan well, and even when I do it disappears as soon as the weather gets cold . . . and it's been cold a looooong time. Today, however, we have some pretty amazing weather so maybe I'll get some sun.
OK, back to the skirt. I couldn't find organic cotton jersey that didn't cost an arm and a leg, so I got this cotton/lycra blend from Joanns on SALE (weeee!) for about $3 a yard, and I needed 2 yards for the skirt. I already had all of the embellishments on hand, so my grand total for this project is $6.
I used the leaf pattern from the first book and stenciled a repeat of the leaves around the bottom of the skirt. I used a gold paint pen that started out very gold and then kind of burnished into this bronze-y color as I handled the fabric more and more. Thats fine by me, actually, because it matches my little bronze flats. I chose to do reverse applique on the design, so I stitched around the outside of the leaves with a three-ply embroidery thread in cream and cut out the center of each shape. Since I used two layers of this red jersey, the effect is kind of subtle. I assembled the pieces using the embroidery thread, and finished it by creating side-felled seams with a simple running stitch.
When it came to embellishing with beads I was a little bit lost. I started out with black bugle beads, but they looked to stark. Then I tried a pale gold bugle bead, but that just wasn't doing it for me. I tried beading around the outside of each leaf, then the inside, then random placement, and on and on. What I finally decided on is what you see above. I used a running stitch to run the beads in a line between the leaves to look like a stem. Then I filled in a few leaves on each stalk to add some shimmer. I used a combination of the pale gold bugle beads and a mixed bag of gold and brown beads that I used on another project a while back. Overall I think it looks fun but not too overwhelming.
This took about a week to finish, working on it a little bit each evening. I finally finished it up last night by adding some elastic to the waist. Natalie Chanin reccomends using fold-over elastic, but as I had none on hand and couldn't find any at the store the last time I looked, I kind of improvised the waist. I simple made a loop of 1/2 inch elastic and placed it against the inside top of the skirt. I folded the top of the skirt over the elastic to cover it, and then stitched the folded fabric down with a stretchable herringbone stitch (from the Studio Style book) that encased the elastic, but did not stitch through it. You can kind of see what I am talking about in the picture of the skirt above. The herring bone stitch is visible on the inside of the waist-band, while the outside has two parallel lines of stitching. The elastic fits in between those two parallel lilnes.
I am quite happy with the skirt. I think when I make the dress I will shorten the length a tad so it hits just above my knees. I've got the fabric all ready to go! Have you guys ever made anything from the Alabama Stitch books?