Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Alabama Getaway (No, I'm Not a Dead Fan...

...it's just the song that pops into my head when I think about Alabama - better than "Oh Susanna"?)

This past weekend I had the pleasure and privilege to attend a weekend workshop at Alabama Chanin (thanks to the OAC).   I have to say - it was great.  I picked out my own project (albeit one that is almost identical to one in the most recent book, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design), received all the attention (and in some ways more) that I needed, and got to experience first-hand the Alabama Chanin aesthetic and ethics.  It was a perfect storm: crafting, fashion, conversations about sustainability, local food, and no other obligations. Yes, I ran away to sewville! And I would gladly run away again although next time I might try to get my mom to come along as well.
Natalie Chanin and her staff were great.  I was often a dork, but they didn't let on that they knew, which I really appreciate.  It's just hard when you're really excited but also second-guessing your choices (dress? skirt?  cardigan?  Ack!).  Everyone, including the other participants, was generous with their time and advice.  I've come home with a project that I'm terribly excited about as well as new confidence in my sewing and construction skills.

(That's my project in the foreground, with my reading glasses.)
Pattern library, as I might call it
Some of the organic cotton jersey available
In addition to all the sewing supplies and help, we were also fed.  Natalie's son, Zach, is a chef and has a catering company, Magpie & Ruth.  He provided us with amazing local fare - pimento cheese (!) with our Friday evening drinks, lunch on Saturday, brunch (pictured below) on Sunday, and a packed lunch to take with us Sunday afternoon.   The meals were lovely and yummy, and not to sound corny, felt like a gift to us rather than an obligation.
Look! Heart-shaped biscuit!  Can you stand it?!
There were many things to admire and comment upon.  A few more photos might do the trick.
Some of the clothes from the collections

And here's an example of employee/crafty-gal dedication, a tattoo featuring both reverse applique and negative reverse applique!
That would be an outline of the state of Alabama in the centre, thank you very much.
I hope to have a chance to attend another workshop as well as stay in touch with the women I met this weekend.  I've finished stitching one panel of my dress (six panels in all), which includes beading along the bottom.  I'm not making any promises about when it will be finished, but I'm itching to wear it, so who knows?  Could be sooner than I think.  I'll post photos of my progress.
Revolutionary indeed!

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