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Hand-sewn Jersey Clothing

@Kay: Hi! I keep thinking about your instagram with the Chanin skirt you made. I want to dive into the world of Chanin but I have a budget that will require buying jersey and embroidery thread at the local fabric shop.

I guess what I need to know is your advice for entry level Chanin projects. Do you have a favorite among the books? It looks like there are a few individual patterns for sale…do they come with tissue paper? How about the books? Do you have to print your own pattern or do they come with tissue?

I love the Chanin aesthetic. Her website is beautiful but opaque and sort of designy, and consequently sort of opaque/minimalist, so I’d love the MDK group’s wisdom to navigate it in a financially responsible way!!!


I’m not Kay, but I’m also a huge fan of the Alabama Chanin Style. I love all of the books. I’ve made countless pairs of gloves from the first, Alabama Stitch Book, from thrift store tees, and I’ve made tees and panelled skirts for myself from recycled tees and new fabric too. I’ve also purchased jersey from the fabric shop as well as one kit and some yardage from AC.
On Instagram take a look at Vicki.Knitorious to see how she has turned some old concert tees into beautiful camisoles, so inspiring! I see that she’s currently working on the gloves that I mentioned, hers appear to be a kit from AC - mine were made of tyedyed and plain tees and recycled cashmere sweaters.
The books have heavy paper patterns that you’ll want to trace onto whatever paper you prefer, if you buy the pattern online it’s a PDF that you tape together. Her latest boo, Alabama Sewing Patters has a CD with quite a few patterns to print.
All of the books are great. If you want small projects, I’d say start with the first or second book. Happy Stitching!


Sometimes I think Kay should lead a Chanin-along.
but yes, thrift was the source of Natalie’s first design, so living on a budget puts you in precisely the right place to start from. There’s also hand holding available from Natalie Chanin herself on Craftsy and Creative Bug, both come with downloads. I’ve watched the Creativebug one, but I still haven’t built up my courage level to try this out. Cuts into the knitting time, don’t you know. But summer is hot, and sewing is breezy. :wink:


Oh, do join all us crazy Chaninistas! Per Nell, Insta browsing is a great place for inspiration: search hashtag #theschoolofmaking. There is also a lovely new Facebook group called The School of Making Stitchalong that you can join by answering a few questions to confirm you are not a bot. Less than two months in, it has become a lively community for help and exchange of ideas — not unlike this here lounge!


@maggistitches, @juliafc, @nellknits,
A big thank you! This is just the sort of information and encouragement I needed! I will be looking into all these sites and books!


Not a Chaninista, but do check out your local library to see if they have her books. Both the ones near me have a ton of knitting books, and might well have A.C. as well.
I learned a while ago to borrow new knitting books to make sure I liked them before I bought - and if there are only one or two patterns I like, I just photocopy those patterns.


Yes!!! Just checked out a copy of one of the early books. So excited to get started.

So glad to hear that worked out, Jessemy! Libraries are the greatest.

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The corset top came together so quickly! I guess sewing really is faster than knitting, even by hand. I made some adjustments to the circumference of the top so I can customize the XL pattern I used as a base. Ended up buying the AC pattern book and it is outstanding. She gives wonderful instruction on altering patterns. I feel empowered! And DH thinks it’s sexy, so hey. :blush:


Wow! That looks wonderful. I have a jersey dress that I always say I’ll Chaninize, this might be my prompt.

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If you do, please let us see the results!

You’ll appreciate the origins of the fabric, then: one Goodwill polo shirt (front) and one long sleeved shirt from my husband’s shirt drawer. #upcycle


I’m so glad this subject is here! At knitting camp I admired the pieces I saw and also Claire’s embellished Ts. I checked an early AC book out from our library and am inspired to jump in on this. I have a bag of old T-shirts ready. Would love to see others’ paths to creativity in jersey sewing and embellishing. I’ve signed up for the AC Craftsy classes and hope to get to them as soon as I finish the sweater I’m working on.


There is a group on Facebook now with lots of posts and photos.