Sunday, July 10, 2011

Swing Skirt

I'm a little late on the Alabama Stitch Book bandwagon. This skirt was making the blog rounds a couple of years ago (I think) and I loved it then but didn't get the book until this spring. I love the style of Alabama Chanin's designs and this skirt is no exception.

Swing skirt from Alabama Stitch Book

The skirt (if you are unfamiliar with the project having just been introduced to the internet or something) is made by stencilling the design and then using reverse applique, entirely by hand. I was nervous about it. All that stitching was relaxing and quite satisfying, but what if it didn't fit! It took weeks -- mostly because I would work on it for a bit and then leave it for a few days.

I'm happy to say it fits perfectly. Imagine here my enormous sigh of relief when I tried it on last night!

Swing skirt from Alabama Stitch Book

I used fabric from 2 different jersey sheet sets (my go-to for inexpensive t-shirt material) and acrylic paint mixed with a fabric medium for the stencil. I may have over-done it with how much I stencilled. I like how it looked but it took a long time to stitch. Next time (oh yes, I'm planning another) I'll do much less stencilling.

At first I wasn't sure how I'd feel about hand-stitching the skirt together. It didn't seem very sturdy before I tried it. I was thinking I would use the serger to construct the skirt but in the end decided to hand-stitch it after all. It seemed right to complete it by hand after putting in all that time. I'm really surprised and pleased with how sturdy it feels.

Waistband - Swing skirt from Alabama Stitch Book

The pattern calls for using fold-over elastic (FOE) for the waistband but I couldn't find any and was to impatient to order it. I ended up using a strip of matching jersey to make a waistband. I think I should have made the waistband an inch smaller but it will be fine for now. If it stretches out I think I can put in some elastic.

herringbone stitch - Swing skirt from Alabama Stitch Book

I played around with different stitches to attach the waistband. The last thing I wanted, after spending all this time making the skirt, was to have the waistband stitches snap when I wore it! I ended up going with this herringbone stitch I found online (I can't remember where, sorry). It is really stretchy and was relatively easy to stitch. I stitched the waistband to the skirt and then did another round of herringbone to tack the seam to the waistband.

Swing skirt from Alabama Stitch Book

This is easily the most comfortable piece of clothing I've ever made and the most time-consuming. I love how it's casual and special at the same time - if I may pat myself on the back a bit!


  1. I think it's the right amount of stenciling, at least for an all-over-design. It looks super cute! You're really rolling out the summer wardrobe - everything has looked so good.

  2. That looks amazing! I think you're right about the perfect mix of special and casual. It looks like the kind of thing you would find at an upscale boutique for hundreds of dollars.

  3. I've been wanting to hand sew some clothing, and this is making me feel that I can do it! Thanks!

  4. You did a lovely job. Now that it's been a few years, I'm wondering how the waistband had held up. Did you weeks up needing to make any alterations?


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