When I was first thinking about my list, one of the items I knew I was going to include was to sew an Alabama Chanin bloomers skirt for myself. I had made quite a few projects from the book but nothing to wear, and with so many inspiring skirts out there I knew I wanted to change that soon. I bought the fabric as my birthday present from my family, and started working on my skirt. It only took me 6 weeks to finish (with Christmas and present sewing in the middle of that), but then it took at least another 8 weeks for the weather to get warm enough to wear it and for me to get some decent photos.
The task of deciding on cotton jersey colors took a while, as I have the official Alabama Chanin color cards and couldn’t stop putting together combinations. I finally went with gray and light pink, as gray is one of my favorite colors to wear. When my fabric arrived, I realized I had deleted the wrong gray fabric out of the cart and bought the darker one instead of the lighter one. Oh well. The pink fabric was also quite a bit lighter than the sample on the color card (darn dye lots!), and it looked white next to the darker gray. Another oh well. I told myself a dark gray and white skirt will still look pretty, even though I had envisioned something else.
The stenciling and sewing part went without a problem, though during it I realized I really need to make all my stencils out of pennant felt and I should invest in an airbrush to make the painting part easier. Once all the skirt sections were sewn together and the seams sewn down, I was a little nervous about sewing the elastic to the top edge. Again, it was easy and I loved the final look of contrasting pink elastic waistband with the taupe Xs.
I was so excited to wear my skirt, but we were having the longest and coldest Winter ever. When it finally got warm enough, I pulled on my new skirt, slipped on my new sandals, and immediately felt joy. The skirt was so lovely and so comfortable. I wished I had one to wear everyday, and I didn’t want to take it off even when I should have. While cooking dinner that night I cut my finger, and dripped blood all over the front of the skirt. I didn’t worry too much about it, because hydrogen peroxide is my go to blood remover and it always works perfectly without problem. Except with my organic cotton jersey bloomers skirt.
I don’t know why this happened, but the hydrogen peroxide bleached part of my skirt and caused holes to form in the jersey. My guess is that it is because this fabric is left untreated after dying. I did let it sit a little while before washing it out, but I always do that and I’ve never had this problem with any kind of fabric before. When I pulled my skirt out of the wash (a gentle cold cycle just like Natalie said is okay in the Alabama Stitch Book), and saw the rips and holes and bleach stains, I almost cried. After a few minutes, I realized that I would just mend the holes and not worry about the bleached areas, and the skirt would still look great. In fact, the altered skirt would probably be more in the spirit of Alabama Chanin even though all these alterations were unintentional. So I mended the holes, and cut and appliqued patches over the ones that needed patches. I turned what was the back and front to the sides, and almost forgot all about the mended areas when I wore it next.
When I washed it a second time, a few more holes developed and some tiny ones got larger. I mended and appliqued the new holes, and wore the skirt again this past weekend. I’m sure as the weakened fabric is further worn and washed, even more holes will develop. That is okay. I’ll continue to fix it, adding new stitches and pieces of fabric, and the process of stitching on my skirt – even though I thought it was long over – will be extended and extended. I almost hate to admit this…as much as I love wearing the clothes, I think I enjoy the act of stitching them even more.
I can’t decide if I should wear my skirt again this weekend. Natalie is teaching a two-hour workshop, and I have a place in it which I feel super lucky about as the workshop sold out in 24 hours. I’m really excited about learning from Natalie, and sewing on a new project while listening to the stories of the people around me. The only bad thing is that I’m sure the two hours will go by much too quickly.