The October Swatch of the Month highlights one of our most popular embroidery treatments—Alabama Fur. The technique, first presented in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, combines our Spiral stencil with backstitch-worked embroidery floss, and incorporating exposed knots and tails. Simple, yet time consuming, the end result is a hypnotic continuation of curves that is both a beauty to behold and touch (the texture is irresistible).

To create the swatch, begin by stenciling the design to the top layer of fabric using your transfer method of choice. (Draw your own spirals with a marking tool, or download our Spirals stencil.)

Align your top and backing layers of fabric, with right sides up and pin together. Using four strands of embroidery floss (or two strands doubled) thread your needle. When you knot off, use a double knot and make sure to leave a 1” tail of floss (note that this tail is longer than we use when working with Button Craft thread, for effect).

Using your stenciled top layer of fabric as a guide, choose one of the spirals to begin your embroidery. Place the needle at the innermost point of the selected spiral and insert the needle through both layers of fabric, bringing it back up 1/8” from your starting point. Use a backstitch to sew along the stenciled design to the end point of the spiral. Tie off your embroidery floss on the top layer (outside), using a double knot and leaving a 1” tail of floss. Repeat this technique on the next spiral stencil.

Note: Be sure to keep your stitches even in length and not too tight. Tight tension will cause your fabric to “shrink” because Alabama Fur has so many stitches per square inch. See detailed instructions, photographs, and variations on page 83 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design for reference.



2 – 10” x 16” cotton jersey fabric swatches
Embroidery floss

Basic sewing supplies: needles, embroidery scissors, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design for instruction on embroidery


Fabric – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Fabric color – Black
Stencil – Spirals
Treatment – Alabama Fur
Embroidery Floss – Black
Textile paint – Pearl Slate

You can also opt to purchase a membership to our Swatch of the Month Club. Each month of 2014, you will receive a package with the supplies necessary to complete a unique swatch, each demonstrating one of our favorite embroidery techniques. Join at any point in the 2014 calendar year and receive swatches from all prior months.

Visit our Journal for instructions on past months’ swatch techniques.

Follow along on social media and on our Journal with the hashtags:

2 comments on “SWATCH OF THE MONTH: OCTOBER 2014

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  1. Patricia Austin

    I am inspired to embroider my own “fur.” I am at a loss as to how much floss I need to purchase. Can you provide a guesstimation of how much floss you used for this swatch please?

    1. Alabama

      Hi Patricia,

      You should be able to complete a swatch with one spool of our Embroidery Floss—each spool is approximately 75 yards. Keep in mind that you will also split the embroidery floss and use 4 strands (or you could use 2 strands doubled).

      Let us know if you have any more questions. Happy sewing!