I opened up this family’s tent, and you’ll never believe what I saw… (Independence Day, Alabama Chanin, Mount Hood)

Mt. Hood
Mt. Hood

Well, Independence Day weekend came and went. We are back home from our family reunion trip to Bend, Oregon, and we are tired and full of chicken and cole slaw. I smiled for a gajillion photos and blew bubbles until I almost passed out while a 3 year old growled and danced before all the bubbles. Grandpa G. showed us the wood shop he built and told us some jokes. One of my favorites:

Jack and Jill went up a hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack came down and broke $10 and I got a buck twenty-five.

And we heard variations of this knock knock joke for ten minutes straight from 3-year-old Lucy:

Knock Knock. Who’s there? Banana. Banana who?

Don’t worry, we’re going in a banana!

Knock Knock. Who’s there? Purple banana. Purple banana who?

Don’t worry, we’re going in a purple banana!


So the title of this post is poking fun at click bait. But I guess it literally is click bait, sorry. Well, I’ll tell you what I saw that left me shocked for the next hour or so.

So there I was, walking with little Lucy to their tent to get her toy. She opened up the tent, and this is what I saw. I just stared at it, not fully hearing Lucy’s questions to me. Could this be? I wanted to believe it but didn’t want to get my hopes up. We walked back to where everyone was lounging and I asked my new sister-in-law Lorraine, “So, is Alabama Chanin in your tent?” She laughed and said, yes, she’s making a dress, and has almost all of their books.




*photos taken with permission from hand-sewing goddess

I previously wrote about my obsession for Alabama Chanin here. And… my freakout starts again- THEY HAVE A NEW COLLECTION!! Instagram, you let me down. How did I not know this?

The Antheia skirt… words cannot express how much I love and need this skirt. But at $3,240, you can see why Natalie Chanin publishes books teaching people how to make their own!

Antheia hand-sewn, hand-appliquéd organic cotton skirt Alabama Chanin

Back to Lorraine’s creation: The hanging pieces are panels on her dress that are two pieces (one red, one black) of jersey fabric put together and then embroidered and appliquéd, like a lovely handmade quilt, but for clothing! A few tricks Lorraine has to making the stencils is to get a special craft swivel stencil X-acto knife. She also uses fabric spray paint for the stencils instead of paint-and-sponge since it both dries quickly and can be applied quickly. I loved that while a bunch of us played mini-golf in the backyard, she followed us, appliquéing away.

The thing I love about us youngins hand-making, hand-appliquéing our own clothing is we are carrying forth the traditions that our grandmas/aunts/mothers had. If I were a journalist I would love to chronicle all of the quilts Grandma G. handmade for all of her grandchildren. And I do mean entirely sewn by hand, in her lap, and hand-quilted. Later this week I’ll share the amazing quilt that was hanging in our guest bedroom in Bend, Oregon.

Tomorrow’s post I’ll show some photos from our family reunion during Independence weekend.



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