At the moment, I am not keen to embark on any actual AC style garment sewing. This is not because I dislike the sewing part of it -- except for that squares appliqué, see below, which drove me bonkers -- but for two reasons: first, I have to admit to a reluctance to make anything takes a really long time to make when my weight is changeable. I am all for sewing for the body you are in right now and not delaying sewing things until you're some mythical "right size" to make something you want. Plus, even when my weight is in flux, it doesn't swing too hugely. In the normal course of things, therefore, when most garments only take a week or maybe two at most to finish, I don't let my changeable weight worry me too much when I am sewing (though it does deter me from sewing much more than a few weeks ahead of the next season). However, given that there seems to be an overall direction to my current changeableness, starting something that takes ages that will fit when I start and might not remotely fit when I finish seems pointless.
The other reason I am hesitant about making an actual garment at the moment though, is that I am undecided about the Alabama Chanin thing overall as a look. I have loads of AC stuff pinned on my Alabama Chanin Pinterest board, and every time I go through the pins I find the garments I've chosen to save really appealing and desirable. But then I think about the actual clothes I wear on a daily basis and the overall aesthetic I like to present the most... and I'm not really sure how the AC clothes would fit in at all. Sometimes the AC thing looks kind of "suburban art teacher living up to a mild reputation as an eccentric" which apart from the suburban part is so very not me. I feel like I still need to work out what it is about the things I've saved that I find so interesting and appealing, and then, I guess, try to spin it into something I would actually wear.
In the meantime, however, I wanted to have a go at some of the the actual sewing, all my doubts and queries notwithstanding. The books suggest making samplers of some of the techniques using scraps of appropriate jersey fabric, and since I had a couple of pieces of cotton jersey in my pile of scraps, I did precisely that. I made a long list of the techniques, ideas, whatever that are in the AC books and also that are represented in other photos of AC clothing/accessories that I've seen, and I planned out five different samplers, pictured below along with some of the garments/inspiration photos that I used to help me pick out samplers to try.
|Classic reverse appliqué using "Falling Leaves" template|
|On the left: an AC polka dot blanket from their website; on the right, my sampler of the same technique using the Medium Polka Dot template|
|A photo of a coat in the AC shop (stolen from somebody on Pinterest, sorry for the lack of attribution); my sampler of the same square appliqué|
|Image from AC website of ruffle stripe wrap; my stripes sampler|
|Relief appliqué: on the left, a garment from the AC website; on the left my sampler using the Anna's Garden template|
All the versions I've seen used very low contrast or the same colour for the applique as for the base fabric, so perhaps that is why it doesn't look too good in my contrasting blue fabrics. This highlighted another thing I learned from this sampling: how important picking the colours is going to be. I never liked either of these two fabrics all that much from a colour perspective, which is why they were still lurking in my scrap bag, most likely. As I was stitching the relief sampler, I really noticed how much I didn't like the contrast between the two fabrics, and wished I had done a same-fabric applique as in the inspiration photo. Based on my pins, I tend to prefer AC garments that are either subtle tone-on-tone or same-colour (especially white-on-white) garments or else really vividly high contrast (like black on white or vice versa) mixes. My less subtle blue-on-blue really didn't do much for me at all.
In conclusion: I am mulling over what to do next. I don't think I will be producing my own wardrobe of AC garments any time soon (though I am lost in admiration for CoreCouture, who is doing precisely that for SWAP 2015). However, I'm not ruling out making one or more garments later in the year when (if) my weight settles down and I think of something I really want. In the meantime, I'm going to move on from this to a bit of embroidery for my on-going hand-sewing project.