Completed: Alabama Chanin t-shirt

white t-shirt appliqued with blue, green and pink leaves from the Bloomers stencil in the Alabama Stitch Book to create an Alabama Chanin t-shirt.

I had a white t-shirt in the size that my oldest daughter is currently wearing. Only problem: Plain white is definitely too boring to wear for her colourful tastes and she strongly rejected it. I thought of dying it a different colour, but then it would still be a plain t-shirt and probably still count as boring. Years ago, I completely hand embroidered a cardigan in the style of Alabama Chanin using the Bloomers stencil from the Alabama stitch book by Natalie Chanin. I thought I could use this same stencil to make an Alabama Chanin t-shirt for my daughter

image shows the steps from white t-shirt, pinned leaves to appliqued leaves

For my cardigan I had used the stencil to paint the shapes on the fabric and then backstitched around the shapes with embroidery floss. For this t-shirt, I wanted to applique the shapes on the front of the t-shirt. I traced the stencil to create pattern pieces and cut fabric leaves from 3 different solid knit fabrics. The leaves were pinned to the t-shirt and attached with a running stitch using a different colour of embroidery floss for each leaf.

inside view of a white t-shirt that was decorated with applique. Running stitches in many different colours in leaf shape are visible.

I think it also looks really pretty on the inside with all the different floss colours.

Detail shot of a t-shirt that is decorated with applique using the Bloomers stencil from the Alabama Stitch Book.

The result makes me very happy and my daughter immediately put the t-shirt on when she discovered it. Definitely not boring anymore. Maybe it’s time I also make an Alabama Chanin t-shirt for myself. I still love wearing that cardigan I made so long ago.

June 17, 2022

Emmely Treffers

About Emmely

I am a sewing enthusiast from the Netherlands. I live in the Leiden area with my husband and two daughters and I am currently working as a senior researcher in molecular virology. With my quilting patterns and sewing blog I want to infect as many people as possible with my love for sewing.

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  1. Cathy Larsen

    I love how your Alabama Chanin-inspired appliquéd tee shirt turned out. It looks like a wearable art piece now and I know your daughter will enjoy wearing this one-of-a-kind treasure for years to come.
    Well done!

  2. Kate Chiconi

    I love her stuff and have a whole Pinterest board about it. This T-shirt is really cute and I hope she gets lots of enjoyment from wearing it!

    • Emmely

      Yes, her pieces are really amazing! I also want to try some of her beading techniques someday, when I find good beads.

    • Mariss

      I am not surprised your daughter immediately wore the embroidered t-shirt. It is a beautiful labour of love


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