Alabama Chanin · Sewing · Slow Fashion October

Slow Fashion Week 1: You (and Me)

I'm off to a tardy start in Karen Templer's "Slow Fashion October"… but it's a start!

First let’s introduce ourselves: Where are you at with all this / What first got you interested in Slow Fashion / What are your skills / What do you hope to get out of Slow Fashion October / What are your personal goals for the month / Do you have a special project you plan to tackle this month?

The most important people in my life are family and almost all of them — to some degree — are/were also makers.

  • Textiles, fiber and reed
  • Rocks, gems and metal
  • Wood, clay, and glass
  • Paper, graphite and paint
  • Seeds, dirt and water

Resulting goods (and motivation) range from utilitarian to decorative, executed by novice makers to highly skilled artists… but there's always been making and doing.

My mother taught me to knit when I was six. I knit on and off in high school and as a young adult in the world (I found knitting needles, yarn, and a slightly challenging pattern to be a great antidote to loneliness), but it's been in the last 15 years or so that I became a truly avid knitter. Thankfully, about 10 years ago, knitting blogs were a Really Big Thing and I became part of that community where people actually thought about knitting and thoughtfully wrote about knitting, yarn, tools, technique (and life), and I learned so much.


Dresses sewn by Mom (including her own).

Though my mother was an excellent sewist, she was also a very busy single mother & student, and I didn't learn to sew (more than a button) until I took Home Ec. in high school! My stepmother actually owned a fabric & craft store when she met my dad, and I made a couple of skirts under her tutelage — but mostly I knit angora hats and made macrame plant hangers for her to sell at the store; she gave me the sturdy used Husqvarna sewing machine that I've used for the past 35-40 years.

I've written a little about sewing and fashion — and slow fashion — and quality last April. I am not a crusader, but I am aware and quietly help to make others aware.

Mostly, I just do. I make and do because that's what I've always done — it's one of the ways I know I'm alive! The day I stop making and doing, I'll be dead.

I became interested in/aware of slow fashion when I began learning about Natalie Chanin and her company, Alabama Chanin in 2012. One of the things I admire about Alabama Chanin is the open source concept. Because as much as I'd like to own, wear, and love a $4,000 handmade dress, it is just never going to happen; but there are resources and tools available for me to make one myself.


Or something.

Anyway, I'm participating in Slow Fashion October because I love seeing what others are doing. Just as I learned so much about knitting from the knit-blog community, I am inspired and in awe of what's happening in the larger "maker" community. And I will learn things.


I actually have a couple of goals for the month. One of them is to mend an already mended tunic. Shown above is a visible (embellished!) repair made a few months ago near the hem. Now, there are two small holes in the tummy region. I do not want to give up this garment just yet!! So I need to figure out a way… and am open to suggestions!

8 thoughts on “Slow Fashion Week 1: You (and Me)

  1. Thank you for turning me onto S-L-O-W Fashion. I love the process of sewing my AC projects and hope to do many more (if I live long enough). I am still in awe of your amazing dress and the inspiration you used to create it. Is the tunic in need of repair the one with circles on it? Could you continue the circle motif by scattering of the same across the body in a short of chaos effect. I have no idea how to explain what I mean. I hope you can save it!

  2. The dress is lovely, as well as the skirt you made recently. Thank you for the inspiration.

  3. I LOVE the s-l-o-w fashion concept, and I am eager to follow along this month to see where this takes you. As usual . . . you inspire me!

  4. Watching your S-L-O-W fashion take shape is an inspiration. You make and do in so many ways – thank you for sharing them here so I can enjoy them vicariously.

  5. Wow, you look just like your mom! I adore the picture of you girls in the dresses. What a great memory to have.

  6. Since I am more of a lurker (actually reading, seeing and learning) on your blog I never comment. But, I have been a sewer/needlework person since grade school – it’s amazing how many times I accidently snipped an area on a just finished garment. My go-to fixes have been appliques and or crochet flowers, etc. I’ve always called it my own creation. I’m sure you’ll think of some embellishment “just your own” to make the boo-boo go away. Love your blog and again it’s a learning experience – Thanks!

  7. What a beautiful post! (I was like almost crying while telling Doug about your talents – one of my fake friends!) can’t wait to watch the month unfold!

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