Alabama Chanin Suede Colored Jersey

There was an Alabama Chanin collection featuring Suede colored jersey a few years ago. It was the perfect basic color, going with almost everything, yet beautiful enough to stand on its own. When it finally became available for purchase, I splurged and bought six yards. I had dreamed of making up a "capsule" wardrobe of basics in this lovely color. 

Time ticked by, and last December I finally dusted off my Suede stash and began a bit of a basic stitching marathon. My first garment was a pair of Alabama Chanin pants. You can read more about those here.

I had joined the Alabama Chanin Build a Wardrobe 2017 program (more about that here), and had some really great patterns to try out. The pants fit perfectly, so my next pattern to try was the car coat. Because I'm rather short, I was a little apprehensive about the fit of the car coat, but I just had to try it out. 

I ended up sizing down, but should have cut it even smaller. The back fits really nicely, but the front has too much fabric for me. One day, I'll get in there and re-work the pattern, but for now, I'll just wear it as-is, more like a housecoat. I would usually just roll up the sleeves, but it added to the excess of fabric in this case, so I cut off about five inches. Being a double layered garment makes it warm and cozy.

My next item was a mid-length fitted skirt. This garment is so quick to cut and stitch. I was wearing it within a day. I like that I'll be able to layer this under a few of my shorter skirts and dresses.  Here it is with an indigo T-shirt top (full story here.)

Sorry for the not-so-great selfie shot, but I liked this outfit ~ printed top, Suede skirt, with my Alabama Chanin indigo blazer. I wore it with a super cute pair of brown Fiorentini+Baker ankle boots. 

Next up was the wrap top! I love wrap tops, wrap tunics, wrap dresses, wrap cardigans, wrap get the picture. 

The Alabama Chanin wrap pattern did not disappoint! I really like the fit of this top. I can foresee making quite a few versions of this top (and eventually tunics and dresses). Since this was a single layered garment, I felt it could use a little extra weight at the hem, so I added binding

It's easiest to pin, then baste the binding on, take out the pins, then secure your binding with a stretch stitch. 

If you can imagine how much easier it is to do the Cretan stitch without all those pins!

Here it is layered with my white Alabama Chanin fitted t-shirt (full story here.)

I like the detail of extra panels in back.

 Here's the inside tie. You can see the rosebud stitch on the skirt waistband.

I've dressed it up with an ochre bolero with burgundy stitching (more here). 

I think I have enough fabric left for one more garment. I'd like to try to make a pattern from my favorite slouchy, warm up top. Fingers crossed it turns out!!

I feel I've only touched on the versatility of these garments in Suede. Unfortunately, the color has been retired. But you never know, sometimes Alabama Chanin brings things out again. 

Rainshadow Organics ~ Farm to table week

Rainshadow Organics, the brainchild of Sarahlee Lawrence, is a bucolic 80 acre organic farm near Terrebonne, Oregon.

This amazing woman started her farm from scratch, and each year it grows by leaps and bounds. It now grows dozens of varieties of certified organic vegetables, herbs, berries, and flowers; pasture-raised non-gmo fed beef, pigs, chickens, turkeys and eggs; grows and mills its own heirloom wheat flour; hosts farm to table feasts; keeps bees; and recently has built their own kitchen to make sauces, chutneys, pickled veggies, jams, and hosts a variety of local, artisan wares. They sell at local farmer's markets and have CSAs summer and year round. They host interns and school children. Their free potato dig in the Fall draws hundreds if not thousands of people out to their farm. They're creating their own cookbook. And recently they're piloting a new program. For a flat fee, you visit their farm and choose food for the week. Having been a summer CSA member for years, I decided to give it a go.

It was a chilly yet sunny Saturday afternoon (they're open 11-3 on Saturdays during the winter months.) I asked my friend to join me, and we took a meandering drive through the beautiful Central Oregon countryside to Terrebonne. Their new store was perfection, just the right mix of farmstand and charm. It was clean and stocked with all manner of local artisan items, but the star was the farm fresh produce and hand raised meats that caught the eye and tempted the palate.

I created a menu for the week, and shopped for ingredients. I chose eggs, flour, spinach, onions, garlic, kale, Asian greens, carrots, beets, radishes, fingerling potatoes, purple potatoes, spaghetti squash, bacon, hanger steak, chicken, chicken livers, jalepeno sage sausage, and lard. I also purchased separately plum sauce, tomatillo sauce, smoked cheese and farm cheese.

My menu for the week was a loose guide, though I stuck fairly close to my original plan. I was a little ambitious in my goals, and so the baked bread (which I've not done for...oh, about three decades) was put aside for another time.

Here is my Rainshadow Organics week-long menu, minimally supplemented by my home pantry:

~ Sunday ~ breakfast - picture framed eggs and bacon; lunch - salad; dinner - hash.

May I just say that Rainshadow Organics' bacon is the VERY best bacon we've ever had. I put the whole pound on pans and cooked at 350 for about 15-20 minutes. I saved the bacon grease and extra bacon for later use.

Lunch was a beautiful beet salad.

The beets were steamed whole in a glass bowl in the microwave with a sprinkling of salt, then peeled and cut.

The salad was topped with basil farm cheese ~ yum!

For the hash I cooked jalepeno sage sausage, potato, onion, garlic, spinach, parsley, sage, and added green beans (leftover from the night before).

This was not your mama's hash! It was delicious, nutritious, filling, warming the heart and soul on a cold winter's night.

Our dessert was a crisp, juicy, yet rather flavorless Asian pear from the grocery store. My husband curiously plunked it into my wine glass, and discovered a beautiful marriage of tastes, elevating it to the perfect finish for our meal.

~ Monday ~ included homemade pate, kale chips, dinner - oven baked whole chicken, fingerling potatoes, onions, and carrots.

I  was game to be a tester and try out some recipes for the in-the-works cookbook. The pate was particularly intriguing to me. I had attempted to make pate only once, about 25 years ago. I failed  horribly. This was my chance to redeem myself. I included one of these tiny jars in an appetizer tray for a gathering, and my friends all loved it. I'll call that a win, and sweet redemption.

~ Tuesday ~ bacon sandwiches for lunch; dinner - leftover hash

It was a busy day, so I happily warmed up the hash and enjoyed it again.

~ Wednesday ~ breakfast - poached eggs; lunch - salad; dinner - homemade tortillas, leftover roasted chicken with sauteed onions in tomatillo sauce, and topped with chopped greens and farm cheese.

Another recipe to test, tortillas. I've eaten them all my life, but have never made them before. It was really fun, and gave my forearms a bit of a workout. My first attempt was rather rustic, but they were soft, delicious, and held the chicken in tomatillo sauce wonderfully.

~ Thursday ~ stir fry of onions, garlic, Asian greens, kale, radish greens, shredded carrots, chicken, plum sauce, with red pepper flakes and spices.

I wish I had rice to soak up all the yummy sauce!

~ Friday ~ appetizer of radishes and carrots with spicy Hawaiian salt; dinner - sauteed onions, garlic, fingerling potatoes, and spinach, with marinated hanger steak.

I marinated the hanger steak in chopped parsley, herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard for about two hours. We don't have a barbeque yet, so I cooked it on a heated cast iron pan in a very hot oven (450, then turned down to 400). This made for another really great meal.

My week is almost up, and all I have remaining is the spaghetti squash, onions, garlic, eggs and some flour and lard. I'll cook the squash in the microwave for about 13 minutes, top with sauteed onions, garlic and some homemade marinara sauce (how-to here) from my freezer, then add a poached egg on top.

I thoroughly enjoyed my Rainshadow Organics farm to table week! I will be doing this again. If you're interested in Sarahlee's program, email or give her a call. She's looking for a few more families to make this program a success. Follow this link for her info.

I thought you might enjoy this beautiful visitor on this snowy day. (FYI, NOT on the menu!)

Alabama Chanin Factory Tank

Planning ahead a couple years ago, I purchased a large quantity of Alabama Chanin 100% organic cotton jersey in Carmine and Apple. I was going to use it for a tea towel class, but the class was cancelled. So even though I'm not a huge wearer of red, I thought I'd make use of my stash and stitch up a few garments.

The Alabama Chanin Factory dress is one of my favorites, so I've been dying to try the Factory tank. A girl can always use a new tank; right? The princess seams are very feminine and pretty.

The hem flares slightly, but is not too voluminous.

I'm glad I tried it. The fit is very nice, flattering, and comfortable. I made the basic version, no embellishment, to make sure the fit was good. I modified the neckline into a V.

To add depth of color, I utilized scraps I had in Ruby for the trim. I secured the binding using the herringbone stitch with burgundy thread. The seams are outward, felled.

This top sewed up in no time flat! I'm sure to be making more of the Alabama Chanin Factory Tank tops in the future.