I finished something a few days ago.
It's an Alabama Chanin wrap skirt.
And I love it!
I learned to hand sew when I was a very little girl. My Great Grandmother Strom taught me when I was 5. Simple, running stitches first. And then backstitches. I stitched all the time -- I was intrigued with how stitches could hold fabric together. Plus, I was always big on "making stuff."
Mostly, as a child, I made clothes and accessories for my dolls out of scraps of fabric and old socks. But, sometimes, I even hand-stitched items for myself. (Although I must admit, the oil cloth "boots" didn't perform quite as anticipated. . . ) I didn't touch a sewing machine until 6th grade, so was quite practiced in sewing things together by hand.
When I first laid eyes on Alabama Chanin items (back when I discovered the very first - then the only! - book during a bookstore-browse), I was entranced. But totally intimidated. Looking back, I'm not quite sure why . . . exactly. I mean, first I had all that childhood experience with needle and thread, followed by decades of sewing clothes for myself and my kids on a sewing machine. I'm very comfortable putting garments together.
It was the "stitched by hand" part that freaked me out. Because . . . all that time. So many stitches. It would take forever! And . . . would it hold together???
I bought my first Alabama Chanin kit years and years ago -- and then I just . . . got it out and looked at it once in a while. For two years!
When I finally admitted my hesitation to Vicki, she kindly pointed out that we knit sweaters "one stitch at a time" . . . so why NOT sew a shirt or a skirt the same way. Her gentle encouragement spurred me on! Her words clicked. I dug in. (First making this, and then this . . . before tackling the wrap skirt.)
It takes a long, long time to first embellish, and then stitch together, an Alabama Chanin garment. The wrap skirt I made had some futzy finishing! There are darts and facings and a waistband and ties. All sewn by hand.
But so very worth the effort!
I really love it!
I'm so glad I got over the intimidation thing . . . and just went back to the basic running stitch my Great Grandmother taught me all those years ago!
I'll be stitching more -- but don't be looking for any oil cloth boots, like . . . ever.