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It’s no secret that we are fans of Natalie Chanin and the many-layered enterprise she runs out of Florence, Alabama.

Alabama Chanin is many things, most famously a fashion house designing exquisite couture—completely handmade, heirloom garments. At the same time, Alabama Chanin makes kits for the do-it-yourself stitcher who wants to make the designs at home.

We have each made a few pieces of this glorious stuff, grateful to have Natalie’s books to guide us. (Alabama Stitch Book, Alabama Studio Sewing & Design, Alabama Studio Style.) The generosity of these books is astonishing: she gives away the store—every trick, secret, and tip on how to make these beautiful clothes. And she encourages you all the way to make it your own.

Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns is all about fit—making a garment that you have made to your own measurements. This fourth Alabama Chanin book includes a CD for printing out your own patterns. Very cool.

Rarely have I been as lost in a project as I have while making Alabama Chanin. You can dial up or down your level of crazy—these projects work with the simplest running stitch imaginable. And they allow you to go completely insane with embroidery and beadwork if you’re in the mood.


  • Thank you for this article! I’m glad to read about Alabama Chanin and want to explore their patterns and methods.

  • I have all of her books, purchased as they were published.I have made 2 skirts, the Frances top and dress, an A-line tunic top and covet the long skirt. One day….
    The patterns are simple and straightforward, the stitching meditative. Her patterns and methods are one of my passions.

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