Alabama Chanin on holiday

I have had a bit of a yearning to make the Alabama Chanin bucket hat, and when Gloria from Aube Nouvelle lent me her stencils and sold me some lovely AC organic cotton, I was set!

I made the hat on the plane going to India and had to cut out the upper layer with blunt aeroplane scissors, which is why it looks slightly chewed.


I finished up making the child’s sized hat, and it is still too big. Then again, it’s supposed to look like a bucket – correct?


My stencilling efforts were brilliant on my trial piece and a complete disaster on the real thing. In the end I drew round the stencil with a laundry pen and just stitched it in the same colour. DSC05581

I used some Mettler Metrosene cordonnet thread which is used for sewing buttonholes. I bought about 30 of these in an op shop and they are brilliant, and totally perfect for a bit of AC topstitching.


Some shots of the hat in action. On the beach in Mumbai whilst doing my daily constitutional


Around the pool in Sri Lanka and the back view which looks better!IMG_1827

I also embellished a top. The top is an Alabama Chanin top which I got really cheaply from Aube Nouvelle.


In order to overcome my guilt at buying a RTW top, I embellished it with spirals (from some stashed fabric), which I placed randomly carefully down one side, wrapping round the back. I was pleasantly surprised with my placement, it is just how I wanted it – this never happens the first time!


Some action shots: buried alive in a fabric store in Colombo


visiting a Hindu Temple


Walking round Colombo. This street has always been one of my favourites – I love the decaying colonialism. Colombo used to remind me of the Singapore of my youth, but I haven’t been here for about eight years and I note that there is a massive number of large building projects underway.


Oh yes, and outside the previously mentioned fabric store, with fabric in hand!


Before I finish, I thought you might like some more beach shots in Mumbai. This is, of course, the Arabian Sea and it is early in the morning. IMG_1727

The beach was packed with people, and I loved all the squealing when the waves washed up and everyone got their feet wet. Just like at home!IMG_1728

In the beach shots I am wearing some me-made cropped exercise pants, and a Merchant and Mills t-shirt which was a gift from Meggipeg for looking after her gorgeous dog, Truffles. The blue skirt I am wearing is a self drafted pattern made from stretch denim scraps. The swimsuit is Vogue 7498, a vintage pattern, blogged here. I chose to bring this for its modesty as I know that women don’t expose much flesh in India and Sri Lanka.


16 thoughts on “Alabama Chanin on holiday

  1. I really enjoy your travelling, fabric shopping and food updates – all three of my favourite things. How did you find the experience of buying fabric in Colombo? Did they hassle you? Was it expensive? I found shopping a bit over whelming in India – they are soooo enthusiastic I usually run out of the shop! I think it takes a lot of stamina to get what you want… I will have a free day in Jaipur and in Delhi, during a business trip next month Any advise greatly appreciated.
    Cheers Gill

    1. I tried the Pettah markets and that was a bit of a hassle, so I decided to pay a bit more and go to shops. The choice is so massive. I didn’t go to Jaipur and only went to one shop in Delhi (not recommended). I think that if you spend some time on Google you might find what you need. My only advice is to find out the price early and keep it in your mind. Then when they triple it you can get offended and leave. They will chase you with the correct price!

  2. Alabama Chanin is perfect travelling sewing, though I can’t even imagine what plane scissors are! Love seeing all the pics, particularly the fabric shopping.

  3. Your Minnie Mouse bathing suit looks so fun and stylish and I love your exercice outfit (in black) too. These are all things I’d love to wear myself. Great pics of Mumbai beach – they have a real feel. I read your answer to Gill’s comment and I’m wondering: there’s no price tags even in boutiques?

    1. Yes, Hélène, many of the shops have price tags, and many don’t. I tended to go to the ones that had price tags. I think they are a bit more expensive but at least I know I’m not being ripped off. In spite of the price tags, I still was able to wangle discounts.

  4. Loving all the colour in the clothes, both your s and at the beach. I’m intrigued about sewing on the plane too, I always assumed sewing needles wouldn’t be allowed!

  5. The top looks great with your additions! I love the random spiral.
    I’ve sewn and knitted on planes too; I have an air-travel approved knitting set, and also found short bamboo needles are ok. For sewing I pre-cut threads and take a dental floss packet for cutting them on flight but have never been game to risk any of my scissors. I leave that bit for later 🙂

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