As we continue to get feedback from some of our favorite makers on Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, we realize how lucky we are to be part of such a positive DIY community. So many fellow writers, designers, knitters, and Journal followers have contacted us with generous responses and honest commentary. How heartening it is to find ourselves in the middle of a group of makers who choose to lift one another up.

That being said, we received a lovely review from Kristine Vejar, founder of A Verb for Keeping Warm. You may remember that we spoke with Kristine in the past, specifically about the Seam Allowance Project, a clever and beautiful approach to sustainability. (Read more on the project here.) In her review she points out something many readers have also noted: Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns is not necessarily written for beginning sewers. It was written for those who want to learn more about patterns and customization. Manipulating patterns is something that most of us graduate to rather than begin doing (though it’s not impossible).

When considering customizations for her garment, Kristine took into account both practical and stylish considerations. First, she likes to keep things simple, without toting lots of bags here and there. The solution was easy enough: add pockets (see Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, pages 28-29 for detailed instructions and photos). Secondly, the breezy San Francisco weather leaves her reaching for long sleeved garments. Another easy solution: add sleeves to her chosen A-Line Dress (see pages 121-123 for instructions).

For more on Kristine’s Alabama Chanin garment and to read her review of Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, please visit her blog here.



Garment design – A-Line Dress
Fit customization – add side seam pockets and sleeves
Fabric weight – 100% organic medium-weight organic cotton jersey
Fabric color for outer layer – Parchment
Fabric color for inner layer – Parchment
Technique – Reverse appliqué
Button Craft thread – Slate #26
Textile paint color – Pearl Silver
Stencil – Magdalena
Knots – Inside
Seams – Inside felled
Binding stitch – Cretan

And visit our Custom DIY section to create your own unique design.

We thank Kristine for being part of our treasured maker network. Look for an upcoming DIY Trunk Show at her shop in July.

And thanks to Amy Herzog, Heather Ross, Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, and all of our fellow makers who have spent quality time with Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns.


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Click to read 5 comments
  1. Erika Hagstrom

    As a Northern California girl myself,the sleeve option is a must for my next A line project …I have already made the A line dress with pockets…so fabulous. I am putting the finishing touches on the A line evening dress too…obviously, I am a forever fan. On adding sleeves ….Did Kristine’s piece have double layer sleeves or just single layer?
    So looking forward to meeting the AC crew in July at the Heath ceramics day workshop! Thanks so much

    1. Alabama

      Hi Erika,

      The entire dress was made in a single layer of our 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey with placement reverse appliqué using our Magdalena stencil.

  2. Marjie

    LOVE this dress!! I’m most excited about the tip for adding sleeves, since I can’t have a bare arm at work. And the partial placement of embellishment is lovely, along with the beautiful color. I think I have to change my mind about that length of fabric sitting in my basket. Forget the skirt–A line, here we come! I love you, Alabama Chanin!

  3. Anne Hebburn

    Was this a sleeve pattern from one of the other garments in the Alabama Studio sewing patterns book?
    Do I have to redraw the armhole of the A line pattern to add the sleeve?
    I would really love to make a sleeved version of the A-line dress, it is rather cold here in LIncolnshire at the moment!.
    Thanks, Anne

    1. Alabama

      Hi Anne,
      You’re correct. We used the sleeve from the T-Shirt Top pattern—found in both Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns and Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. The quickest (and easiest) way to add the sleeve from the T-Shirt Top onto the A-Line would be to trace the shoulder and side seam of the A-Line and then switch to the T-Shirt pattern for the armhole in the same size, ensuring that your armhole and sleeve will match. This is much easier than making alterations to the sleeve or the armhole and will get you sewing in no time. If the shoulder and side seams don’t match perfectly, you can smooth out the lines with a ruler.

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