Book Review – Alabama Stitch Book

I ignored this book for many, many months at the bookstore. OK, so I didn’t exactly ignore it – I flipped through it, decided it was pretty both in design and content, but that I’d never do anything in it – and I put it back on the shelf. then, I read a reveiw in another textile blog – one from a woman who had preordered it because it was pretty, assuming she’d never use it — and then had.

She reviewed the corset t-shirt. and the review was so glowing that i bought the book so *I* could make one. Which I’m in the middle of doing now.

Things to remember about this book:

  • it encourages slow sewing – everything is done by hand. EVERYTHING. While I like this in theory, stitching through 6-8 layers of cotton jersey at a time is hard on the hands. When I make another corset shirt – and I will — I am using my serger and regular sewing machine for the reasons they were purchased – construction. I’m arthritic!
  • she’s fond of putting seams and knots on the outside of garments. i’m not. (Which might actually explain why MY corset appears to be snugger than advertised – seam bulk.)
  • It’s GORGEOUS! Directions, however, are scattered throughout. For the reverse appliqué corset she has you flipping to projects later in the book for cutting instructions, and to a separate “techniques” section as well to find all of the directions. This part, isn’t fun, or, in my technical writer opinion, well-designed.

The sewing and creating has been, for the most part, enjoyable. I will probalby make the following changes to how I work with it in the future, however:

  • use a slightly larger size. Since I’m large to start with, this may mean grading the corset pattern up. She sells them pre-made in up to a 2XL, but only has the pattern for the XL in the book. 🙁
  • knots and seams inside (as I am doing now) which is why I will upsize mine.
  • when cutting clothing, I’ll use a t-shirt a size larger than the pattern I’m making. Using the same size required some finagling, though it was possible. Barely.  There is NO suggestions on how to choose t-shirt size for the patterns in the book. This is a serious shortcoming.

I think it’s a testament to the ideas in htis book that i went out and bought several more used T-shirts for ideas that percolated up as I worked with it. My clothes from them will be obviously influenced by her, but my own artistic style. This is a Good Thing™ in my opinion. 🙂

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