Book Review: Alabama Studio Style

Craft & Design Yarncraft

I finally have had a chance to sit down and really look at Alabama Studio Style, and I have to say it makes me even happier that I’m about to leave for vacation! The book is full of gorgeous projects, and with the emphasis on hand-sewing, it’s the perfect thing to tackle when you have some down time. While I love whipping up a project with my magic sewing machine, there’s something really special, even meditative, about stitching a garment or embellishing a tablecloth by hand.
While this book is a companion to Natalie Chanin’s first book inspired by her fashion and design company Alabama Chanin, the Alabama Stitch Book, it’s a standalone work in its own right. Chanin takes you through Alabama Chanin’s signature techniques, using applique, stenciling, and embroidery with simple textiles like cotton jersey to create things that look homespun but incredibly sophisticated at the same time.
She includes patterns for creating a simple, princess-seamed camisole dress (although I think I might cheat and use a sewing machine for the interior seams!) which can be adapted into a tunic or skirt as well. The book also includes techniques for string quilting, where you use narrow scraps to create fantastic texture, reverse applique, beading, eyelets, and using jersey “pulls” to weave a chair seat.
While not all the applications are practical (I’m not sure I’d use bugle beads on a seat cushion, frankly), everything is inspiring. The book covers every aspect of home, from clothing to placemats to recipes for pickling or pie, pan-fried chicken or bloody marys. (The recipes make this book an extra treat.) Sized like a coffee table book, with luscious photos of each project and tasty food sections, this is one craft book I’d be happy to have out on display.
Be sure to check out our profile of Natalie Chanin as well!

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