Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Alabama Chanin Beaded Blue Bolero

My latest Alabama Chanin style masterpiece!

This is a beaded bolero from the Alabama Studio Sewing & Design book.
It's made from a single XL 100% cotton t shirt that I bought for $.99 at a Salvation Army. I placed the sleeve hem on the original sleeve hems. It's made from a single layer of fabric and stencilled in white fabric paint with the Paisely stencil that I downloaded here and stitched with silver lined bugle beads in two lengths and seed beads. I used the cretan stitch with smaller bugle beads to apply the binding. I also added a few swarovski lochrosen on the smaller dots in the paisely pattern.

I was inspired to make this project late last June as a run up to the fourth of July. I was seeing a lot of stars on blue clothing and liked that idea so I was originally thinking of using the star stencil, but in the end I thought that was a little too on-the-nose. I'm so happy with the way it turned out. It's very sparkly but the cotton makes it easy and comfortable. It's going to be a dress-up-or-down kind of garment. I can't wait till tank top weather to wear it! 

Some more info on the process:

The oak tag and mylar stencils used on my last projects where a PIA to cut! It took too long and hurt my hands.  I can confirm that the purchase price of a stencil from Alabama Chanin is totally fair and if I didn't want them all I would consider buying one. Alas, I can't afford them all so for this stencil I decided to try another material. I spent some time researching "pennant felt" as it is described in the books. I searched all over the interweb and was only able to locate it on the AC website. I figured "pennant felt" must be a term that they use to describe a product that is available under another name but I haven't found it yet. I did purchase some craft felt from Dick Blick but it turned out to be very soft and thick; too fluffy to be a good stencil. I don't like not having options, but I do like supporting Alabama Chanin so I caved and bought 1 yard from them.

It's thin and firm and easy enough to cut, although still fairly time consuming. It's also fairly wide so I'll be able to get 2 stencils out of the one yard. The first one is the paisely stencil and I'm still deciding on the next one. I was going to cut either Anna's Garden or the Facets but now that the lovely Heart stencil has been added to the resource page I am even more conflicted! Let me know if you have a  favorite.

The cheap spray bottle that I used to stencil my first projects was starting to sputter and splotch and I knew that I wanted to make more stencilled garments so I went ahead and purchased a Badger Airbrush.

It's a little strange to use at first but I'm getting used to it.  I will need to get a larger bottle though because the bottles it comes with are quite small and I had to refill them twice for a corset sized project. Yes, I have an embroidered corset project in the works!

Unfortunately (or fortunately??) I need to focus on my wedding dress at the moment so it won't get any work until this summer so look for it later this year!


juli said...

I have enjoyed your detailed project notes, thank you. I am looking to make something along those lines, but being in Europe, ordering from Alabama Chanin is not a possibility. so I have to make do with somewhat limited means.
Can't wait to see what you make next!

Unknown said...

I love it...I want to take the Alabama Chanin class on Craftsy because I don't think I could do this without being walked through it once or twice.

Moushka said...

Lovely work and very inspiring. You are very prolific. I'm very much enjoying your blog :)

@Nothy Lane - Take the Craftsy class! It's fantastic. Worth every penny of the full price but Crafts has frequent sales. Saving my pennies to buy the jacket kit in Baby Blue. TDF!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE all your Alabama Chanin projects! I was recently bitten and have been working on the corset top from her first book.

Dr. Fun (AKA Sister) said...

Oh - gorgeous! I made one corset to test the fit, and I'm working on a beaded fitted dress for Mardi Gras - that's how I found your bolero. Off to find the follow button....

Unknown said...

I found a website on airbrushing that said pennant felt is also called "pellon". This is the same stuff used for interfacing. I was already thinking this might be something good to try for stencil when I was cutting some for a shirt the other day. I would love to support Alabama Chanin, but $17 a yard is way too much for me right now.

Romy (evilincarKnit) said...

I also couldn't find pennant felt so I bought a yard of Craf-Tex (I think I spelled it right?) from the fabric store. It's thick, stiff and 100% acrylic. Cuts like a dream once I figured out that you're supposed to hold the felt and stencil up with one hand, instead of trying to press through it flat on the cut mat. You made beautiful things, thanks for the inspiration!

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