I blessed to win a scholarship to a Weekend Workshop with Natalie Chanin who owns Alabama Chanin clothing line (formally Project Alabama) in March of 2008. The workshop was held in Tuscumbia, Alabama in the fantastic GAS Studio. Here is some information about Chanin from her book and website:
Internationally acclaimed designer Natalie Chanin grew up in Florence, Alabama, learning to stitch from her mother, grandmothers, and aunts. She shares the techniques she and her stitchers have refined to create their handmade Alabama Chanin couture collections from recycled cotton jersey (t-shirt) fabric. Natalie has a degree in Environmental Design from North Carolina State University and works as designer, manufacturer, consultant, stylist, filmmaker, mother, artisan, cook and collector of stories.I first read about her work in The Birmingham News around a year ago and I have been hooked ever since! Her garments are so incredible and unusual! She takes t-shirts that she finds at thrift stores and recycles or "upcycles" them into couture clothing. Yes, I said couture! (She has been featured in Vogue, Time, The New York Times and on CBS News.) That is the irony of it all. She uses something extremely plain and ordinary like a t-shirt and turns it into a heirloom quality work of art!
The best part of all, she is teaching others the lost art of hand sewing and embroidery. She recently released a book called the Alabama Stitch Book. It shows you step by step how to make these fantastic clothes and other cool stuff with not much more than t-shirts, needle, thread, spray paint and scissors! You don't even need a sewing machine!
She also gives the pattern to my favorite skirt in the book. The same skirt (finished by hand) on her website sells for $1425. Yes that is one-thousand, four-hundred and twenty-five dollars! (It is shown with the same stencil I used for my top. Once you learn the stitching techniques, you will truly appreciate how amazing her work really is and why the price is so high!) If you take out the time it would take to do this yourself, you would save about $1415! The total cost of the supplies is only around $10. Now that is a savings! Plus, it is so wonderful to know you made the clothing with your own hands!
Alabama Studio Style, Chanin's latest book, is now available for pre-order through Amazon.com.