Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Hand Sewing Question

I get questions in my email box from readers and I try to answer as honestly as I am able as much as I am able. This latest question I am answering here because it is so where my mind is at!

I found your blog while searching for hand sewing classes in Michigan.  Do you or anyone you know teach hand sewing garments in the style of Natalie Chanin and her Alabama Chanin clothing line?  I have several of her books, but I seem to learn better in a hands-on environment, not to mention that I know next to nothing about machine sewing.  I would appreciate any leads or help that you could give me.  Thanks.   

I had not heard of Alabama Chanin previously, but the whole thing is pretty fascinating! Have you taken a look yet? Please look.  I find it beautiful, but would never have the patience myself to do it ALL by hand. Just looking at it I plan in my head how I would finish it by machine. On the other hand, hand sewing can be very relaxing, maybe I could do it. I love how they offer a DIY version of the garments.
It turns out I won't be leading the sewing class next semester. There were some complaints because my 1 yr old was in the class with me.  I am disappointed, but it is a relief too.  It is a lot of work to plan for the class. There is a wide range of skill and interest levels and it varies wildly by project. I learned a lot and the invitation to teach is open when my kids are older.

Anyway, I chose the books I chose because I was thinking about hand sewing projects and using recycled materials.  I thought the Chanin book could be adapted to use with recycled T's. We could cut a girls fitted T into a shrug and use their embellishing and finishing techniques.

So, I know so far this hasn't helped Cindy very much! Here are thoughts directly for you...

I'd start with something smaller to gain skill and confidence, like the projects in Sewn by Hand. Consider doing some Chanin work on recycled T's or existing garments, less cost upfront, the structure is already there and you can enjoy the embellishments.

As for a class, I don't know of any. But there are several places to get together and ask around. The American Sewing Guild members might know or be able to help you with hands on help with stitches. The Southeast Michigan Crafty Meetups may also be able to help. Either with information or stitch demonstration.

I hope this was helpful. I enjoyed looking at the Alabama Chanin website. Thank you for writing :)