Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Falling Leaves


Just in time for autumn, although right now the sky is blue, the sun is shining and temperatures are hotter now than in August, my penultimate Alabama Chanin outfit from the flurry of needles and thread that started in the summer. I feel a wee bit daft wearing all this black and autumnal colours when it’s still practically summer.

This is especially for all those sewing bloggers who have decided to retire – this outfit is for you……(oh! and me too!). I miss you.

A knee length skirt with leaf applique, a coat embellished with black bugle glass beads with a reverse applique collar to mirror the skirt (the T-shirt is shop bought). Hand sewn in black and brown, it is supposed to straddle the navy/black outfit and the brown/pink outfit.


The coat is the fabulous vintage Vogue 8875: fitted and flared, cut on sleeves, princess darts, detachable collar, tie belt and I added two patch pockets. I shortened it quite considerably as I wanted the co-ordinating skirt to hang below. This is a double layer – black on the outside and brown on the inside, both mid-weight cotton jersey.

V8875 V8875







Quite honestly, the coat could be made out of sack-cloth and still look good. It is such a good shape. Mine is more like a cardigan because it’s made from cotton jersey but still retains an element of formality when paired with a skirt and hopefully will work just as hard well with a pair of jeans.



Two strips of cotton jersey around the hem held in place with a catchstitch and a running stitch, embellished with glass beads. And adds a good weight to the hem


Additional patch pockets made with a double layer of black and brown: more glass beads along the top and matching beading on the sleeve hems.



Detachable collar with one row of glass beads along the edge

The Vogue pattern instructs you to slip stitch the detachable collar in place but in my eyes that’s not detachable, so I sewed a few snaps to the back neckline and waist. Now it’s truly detachable and I might just make a navy/black version if I have enough fabric left over to perfectly match the navy/black skirt and tunic.



Detachable collar detached in an instant and last week’s brown bolero sleeves worn long under the bracelet length coat sleeves.


DSCN4536 And onto the skirt….

Pattern from Alabama Studio Style book; mid weight black cotton with light weight earth brown leaves. Knots left on the outside.


The stencil pattern was downloaded for free from AC website and printed out full size. I used a piece of heavy weight interfacing to make the stencil, although it wasn’t large enough for the whole stencil, so I just used part of it.


I’ve given up with dying and fabric painting techniques and now just trace the shapes with felt-tip pens directly onto the skirt pieces.


Then a fast and large running stitch around each shape. I’ve also abandoned the buttonhole thread – this skirt was made entirely (seams and all) with embroidery floss – a single strand doubled over. And it hasn’t fallen apart yet!


Once a reasonable area is stitched then I cut the uppermost brown layer away, leaving the leaves (ha ha)



Four panels later; the centre and side seams are stitched and felled, a bit of elastic stitched to the waist, a wash and press and Bob’s your uncle – a skirt!


My original intention was to embellish the coat the same as the skirt but it really would have been tooooo much, so I’m happy with the plainness and a bit of decoration on the collar only. Anyway, I’ll be able to wear with coat with more things.


The skirt also goes with the brown bolero from the pink/brown set – a real mix ‘n’ match ensemble.


Anyway, I’ve somehow acquired a steadily growing pile of wovens – wool and tweed and cotton and viscose and rayon and corduroy – Oh my! so I suppose I ought to cut into it and get the sewing machine cranked up again.


A last glance at a hand sewn outfit (for a little while anyway….) And let’s hope autumn comes soon so I can wear it!


For £62.82, some thread, a few packs of needles and some beads I’ve now got – three skirts, a tunic, two boleros, a T-shirt, a coat and a scarf  and a dress (unfinished) – about £8 each!




19 thoughts on “Falling Leaves

  1. So lovely. I bet everyone is absolutely amazed by your work!

  2. I love that cut out style, just like designer fashions! Beautiful!

  3. So awesome! I love that you have mix and match pieces between the outfits too.

  4. I AM amazed. Such a volume of handwork – looks fabulous!

  5. Great outfit. Very nice together!

  6. So kewl. Inspiring. Just love what you ve done with AC techniques and desgns.

  7. You are AMAZING! So beautiful!

  8. You are on fire!! I love everything, but the coat is to die for – gorgeous.

  9. Fabulous. I am, however, relieved to see you have some woven fabrics and you are talking about a sewing machine again.

  10. So so beautiful. Such pretty handwork. And I love the colors. Well done, Ruth.

  11. Favorite so far. It’s like a BOHO suit. This is a showpiece.

  12. On the sewing front, you are a force to be reckoned with!! It is spectacular and so very flattering!!

  13. wow. just amazing. The coat! All the pieces, but the coat finishes the collection. Great work!

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  15. This is real piece of art! LOVE IT! You look so great in it!

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  17. This is fabulous – a gorgeous hand stitched wardrobe! – and Thank You for the non-stencilling/tracing trick too 😉

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