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Refresh Your Wardrobe With Alabama Chanin’s DIY Circle-Spiral Appliqué

Alabama Chanin, Natalie Chanin, appliques, DIY summer, DIY tutorials, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, sustainable style

When Natalie Chanin first started crafting as a girl in the late 1960s, she used fusible adhesive to create all manner of iron-on appliqués. “I vividly recall cutting out apple, butterfly, and flower shapes and ironing them onto bags, blue jeans, T-shirts, and just about anything else I could get my hands on,” she says. Appliqués are now a signature part of her work at Alabama Chanin. Here, the designer, whose second book, Alabama Studio Style, was published in March, presents one of her newer techniques: the circle-spiral appliqué, which can be made from scrap fabric and used to jazz up any dress, skirt, blouse, or T-shirt in your closet.

Alabama Chanin, Natalie Chanin, appliques, DIY summer, DIY tutorials, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, sustainable style

MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES

Stencil
Cotton-jersey base fabric
Cotton-jersey appliqué fabric
Cotton-jersey backing fabric (if your project calls for it)
Embroidery scissors
Garment scissors
Ruler
Hand-sewing needle
Button craft thread
Pins

STEP ONE: CUT OUT CIRCLE

Using garment scissors, cut out a circle any size you want from your appliqué fabric. For the projects in Alabama Studio Style, we used both 3-to-4-inch and 7-to-8-inch-diameter circles. Depending on the size circle you choose, cut the number of circles needed to cover the area to be appliquéd. If you’re not comfortable cutting circles freehand, use a compass or a jar, plate, or other circular object as a guide.

STEP TWO: CUT SPIRAL APPLIQUÉ

Place your garment scissors at a 45-degree angle to the edge of one of your cut circles, and cut into the circle by ½ inch. Working freestyle, continue cutting in a spiral, first cutting about ½ inch from the outside edge and then cutting in towards the center, always keeping about a ½ inch space between the cutting lines. Stop cutting when you have about a 1-inch-diameter circle left in the center of your spiral. Repeat the process with each of your remaining cut circles.

Alabama Chanin, Natalie Chanin, appliques, DIY summer, DIY tutorials, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, sustainable style

STEP THREE: PIN APPLIQUÉ TO PROJECT

Randomly place and pin your cut spiral appliqués on the base fabric, slightly overlapping the edges by about 18 inch.

STEP FOUR: STITCH APPLIQUÉ SPIRAL TO BASE FABRIC

Use a straight stitch to sew the appliqué spiral to the base fabric: Begin stitching along the edge of the 1-inch-diameter circle in the center of the appliqué, and then stitch outwards along the edge of the spiral cut. When you reach about 18 inch from the end of the spiral’s outside point, turn and stitch your way back to your starting point at the center 1-inch-diameter circle, where you’ll knot off your thread.

+ Alabama Chanin

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3 Responses to “Refresh Your Wardrobe With Alabama Chanin’s DIY Circle-Spiral Appliqué”

  1. ICouldSewDoThat (@ICouldSewDoThat) says:

    Thank you so much for posting this project. It was a real inspiration and the impetus for my purchasing the books; and I love both of them.

  2. SewYourselfSilly says:

    How funny, ICouldSew; that’s the exact same reason I just purchased them too! Hey… great minds think alike.

  3. naomi stroud says:

    very inspired. Love the muted colors and texture play. Thanks so much for sharing.

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