Alabama Chanin Build a Wardrobe

When Alabama Chanin came out with their 2017 Build a Wardrobe line-up, I was over the moon with their pattern offerings. I just HAD to make the commitment and sign up!

Our first pattern is The Factory Dress. I made this Factory Dress when I attended the first Patterns and Alterations week-long workshop in Florence, Alabama in 2015.

I've found this dress to be so comfortable and easy to wear, that it's become one of my favorites.

When I received my pattern in the mail, I was quick about sewing another up. I had been saving a swath of faded fabric made at friend Debbie's house a few years ago for just the right project. The Factory Dress was the perfect fit. The method is called wet paint stenciling. Read more about it here.

The faded fabric is so beautiful on its own, that I felt a simple basic, single layered garment was best.

The pattern was easily cut; and with only six seams, it was quickly constructed. I chose red and burgundy for a little accent of color on the top stitching of the seams and with the moss stitch to secure the binding.

I followed the directions for the moss stitch in The Embroiderer's Handbook by Margie Bauer.

I'll layer this dress with warm woolies and tall black boots for the chilly days: and wear it simply as is with sandals in the summertime. Right now, it looks like I'll be wearing it with rain boots and a red raincoat ~ Happy Spring!


  1. The build a wardrobe 2017 is tempting. I think I would like the factory dress with the higher neckline and less fullness than the A-line in the skirt. Nice detail with the moss stitch on the binding. Just getting around to stenciling with the Magdelena stencil. Actually went well on this 50 degree day in the garage. May have to try the watered look some day. Thank you for so many ideas. Elsie

  2. Hi Elsie~ Glad to hear you've successfully stenciled! The wet stenciling is a great outdoor, summertime project. It's a little messy and takes up a lot of room, but is really fun.

  3. The dress is beautiful! I'm so glad we got a few closeups, the hand-stitched details on the seams, neck and arms are perfect accents.

  4. Thank you, Lisa and Cindy ~~~

  5. I have never in my life made any clothing. I am a quilter lol! You have inspired me and I just did the unmentionable. I just ordered this pattern!! Now I guess I need one of those body things too! And those books! I hope I can figure this clothes making thing out. If nothing else I can cut it up and make a quilt out of it....right?? Amie :)

    1. How exciting, Amie! You're going to love it. The Alabama Chanin patterns are simplified compared to most other commercial patterns. I would suggest first making a basic garment, one layer (two if you really want), with no embellishment. There are basic directions on the pattern; but one of the books would be helpful. These are all in the directions, but the key things would be to use cotton jersey fabric, Coats & Clark button craft thread, longer stitch length, double knots, and 1/4" seam allowance. Oh and Jackie O (my mannequin) is for photo ops, not for fitting. She's fun to have around, but not necessary. If you have questions, just ask; please keep me posted on your progress; and most of all have fun!

    2. Hi Patti,
      Have you ever found the same quality of button craft thread that Alabama Chanin sells, anywhere else? I can't even find it on the C&C website! The stuff from AC is on a white spool, as I'm sure you know, and the stuff in the local stores is on a teal spool. Additionally, the yardage is different, and the fiber content is slightly different; overall, the thread seems a bit stiffer than what AC sells. Do you always order it through them?

  6. Thank you, Patti! Im sure I will be yelling for help before I get my dress done:) Using a 100% cotton knit sheet I thrifted from the GW. Its Ralph Lauren so it's soft and has a nice hand to it.

  7. Ohhh, nifty idea with the thrifted sheet. Let me know how that goes. That might be a new thing to hunt for in the thrift stores!

  8. Hi Tracy~ I usually get my thread from Alabama Chanin. I try to pre-plan and purchase extra when I'm placing an order. With the longer yardage, it ends up being less expensive. If I run out, I have purchased Coats & Clark Button Craft thread from Walmart and Joann's. Walmart actually has two or three additional, exclusive colors. I haven't noticed a difference in feel. Though maybe it's just me, but the brown, wherever I purchase it from, seems stiffer. I have not found the longer yardage spools anywhere except Alabama Chanin.

    I always use the button craft thread for construction, and embroidery floss when using the back stitch for embellishing. Lately I've started incorporating a little more embroidery floss into embellishing, even when I'm not back stitching. The selection of colors and variegated floss is just too tempting!

    Happy Stitching~~