Yellow Dress

Yellow Dress ~

One of the wonderful things about visiting The Factory, the Alabama Chanin brick and mortar store in Florence, Alabama, is being able to experience their beautiful clothing and fabrics up close and personal. During one of my visits I came across yardage naturally hand-dyed with the goldenrod plant. I wasn't sure what I would create with it, but the color was so luscious, I couldn't go home without it.

Fast forward a couple of years, with a Pinterest board entitled "Yellow Dress", countless ideas and inspirations being bandied about, many sketches and musings, stencil artwork created and cut, and now, finally, design decided upon, color combination selected, hours and hours of stitching behind me, and my Yellow Dress is complete.

I layered lightweight taupe over midweight goldenrod, backstitched with natural colored embroidery floss, and worked this dress in the negative reverse applique method.

I appliqued a few areas with natural colored fabric, further embellished these areas with French knots, and I also used the natural color for my binding around the neck, armholes, and hem.

I added cotton tape to my seams to replicate a delicate piping, thus subtly accentuating the lines of the dress.

It needed a little somethin' somethin', so I added a kitschy pop of color and worked the red herringbone stitch at the hem.

Did you notice the stencil pattern?

I've named it Poppies. I love poppies! And I wanted to create something special for my Yellow Dress. I didn't really know how to go about doing the artwork, so I started with sketches and taping elements onto paper, and rearranging, and trying to resize the elements. Oh, what a nightmare that was! I kept thinking there's got to be an easier way; and there was.

Last October I had joined a group of local women artists. We get together once a month or so, and sometimes we do critiques. I brought my taped up paper to ask for guidance and any suggestions. Lo and behold, sweet Allison piped up and said, Patti, I was a fabric designer for over 20 years! I'll show you how to do this in Photoshop. And she did. Allison, I am forever thankful for that afternoon and your tutelage! I was able to create this stencil because of you.

Here are a few ways I might wear my Yellow Dress:

Now that the cold is setting in, I'll be layering my Yellow Dress with a brown cashmere hoodie, cream tights, and tall brown boots. I guess it's about time to get down my boot box and pull out my winter clothing from storage and make the seasonal transition.

I like the idea of transitioning things from one season to another; and I think my Yellow Dress will make a cheerful spot of color on what might be a weather-wise dreary day.

What is your favorite thing to wear to brighten up an overcast day?


  1. My favorite thing about your dress besides the beautiful original stencil, bound hem, lovely color is that you have the effect of beads with the French knots. I have been thinking about how hard it would be to sit on a beaded garment. I am very interested in how to create stencils with Photoshop. Love your blog. Elsie

    1. Thank you, Elsie. I love French knots too. They are a more subtle, less blingy, softer way to add wonderful texture to a garment. And yes, more comfortable to sit on!
      I created the artwork for the stencil in Photoshop. I'll read over my notes and see if there any pointers I can pull out. I've just dipped my toe into the Photoshop world and it's still pretty overwhelming. There's so much to learn!

  2. It is stunning! I love, love, LOVE your yellow dress, Patti! What an incredible labor of love and such a fantastic result. Thanks for writing about your process, too. I always find it helpful to hear about others' processes. i have to ask, though....why no photo of you modeling it?

  3. Thank you, Michelle! I had to chuckle over no pics of myself. That's my next hurdle. I have the camera, a tripod, but I guess I need one of those remote control thingies. Little by little. Any and all suggested tips and tricks are most welcome!

  4. Gorgeous dress. The cotton tape in the seams is genius. You are fabu. Can't wait til you come to Minneapolis. Interested in your journey becoming an AC instructor.

  5. Hi Laura~ I had wanted to put strips of lightweight natural fabric in the seams, but didn't have any; so I used what I had, the cotton tape. Thank you. In this case I think the second choice may have worked better than the first. It would be fun to make a dress with black or pewter cotton tape in the seams. I'm looking forward to our class in Minneapolis and meeting you.

    1. HI again,

      I am very interested in your becoming an Alabama instructor. I am kinda obsessed as only another AC fan can understand.

  6. Hi Laura ~ I do delve into some history during class, but long story short, with all the different mediums I've tried and taught, The Alabama Chanin Way really resonated with me ~ the process, the results, really everything about it. I was lucky enough to travel to Alabama, but I knew a lot of women weren't able to do that; and I knew there was a whole tribe out there that would embrace and benefit from this process as much as I had. I approached Alabama Chanin with the idea; I attended multiple workshops and successfully completed their training; and we've worked closely together so I could go out and teach their one-day workshop. We want to make sure the teachings and experience the students have in my workshops are in keeping with the Alabama Chanin Way. I feel privileged to pass on this wonderful craft.

  7. This yellow outfits combined all the style just in one article. That amazing amplic style today.