“Haute homespun out of the Deep South.” That’s how Vogue magazine has described the fashion of Natalie Chanin. Alabama Stitch Book brings us a collection of projects and stories from her clothing and lifestyle company, Alabama Chanin, known for the cutting-edge twist it puts on tried-and-true sewing, quilting, and embroidery techniques, applied mostly by hand to recycled cotton jersey.
This long-awaited book from Chanin begins with her story. After living in New York and Vienna for over 20 years, she began to transform cotton T-shirts into high fashion using the needlework skills she learned as a child in Florence, Alabama. When she moved home, Chanin hired local women (many of whom had worked in the state’s now defunct textile factories) to stitch her couture collections with her.
What follows is a step-by-step guide to the stitching, stenciling, and beading techniques used in the 20 projects showcased in the book: T-shirts, skirts, and corsets that are sold at chic shops around the world, plus a journal cover, sampler quilt, and tablecloth, among others. Also included are a pullout stencil, perforated postcard for bead-embroidery, and reusable patterns. Throughout are Robert Rausch’s beautiful photographs set against the back roads, farms, and homesteads of the rural South.