In Newsletter #26, we announce our Mother’s Day sale (beginning midnight next Thursday), as well as new events and workshop programming like our Pop-up Shop at lf8 in New York and a One-Day Sewing Workshop at Heath Ceramics, San Francisco. We’ve also shared Natalie’s thoughts on trends in fashion—and Natalie’s Essential Picks: what you are likely to find in her closet and home this season.

Join our mailing list to receive our Newsletter each month and stay up-to-date on all the happenings at Alabama Chanin. Please note that you can update your mailing subscription at any time, and choose to opt in (or out of) certain mailings.

xoNatalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin



Join us Monday, March 9 at The Factory for the next conversation in our On Design Series. Last month, Natalie spoke about the business of artisan work. This month, the conversation continues with a lecture about the design collaborative known as Memphis, founded in Milan, Italy by Ettore Sottsass in the 1980s. Join us:

Monday, March 9, 2015
10:30am – 11:30am

Alabama Chanin @ The Factory
462 Lane Drive
Florence, AL 35630


Open-to-the-public, the cost includes admission, participation in the conversation, and a cup of The Factory blend coffee, a cold drink, or tea.

Register here for this event.

P.S. Look for more information on this and other upcoming Makeshift events on our Journal and/or join our mailing list.

*Photo by Abraham Rowe of the (gorgeous) book: Ettore Sottsass by Phillipe Thome



For this month’s cocktail selection, contributor Jesse Goldstein focuses on something that most Southerners hold dear: a glass of tea. Here he provides us with both hot and cold options that are delicious and simple to prepare—for one or for a whole group.

From Jesse:

When most think of tea and cocktails, the first thing that comes to mind is a good hot toddy. There’s nothing wrong with a classic, but if that’s the extent of your use of tea in cocktails, you’re missing out on a beautiful spectrum of flavors just waiting to be incorporated into all types of boozy beverages.

For me, a great cocktail must have balance. This most commonly comes in the form of balancing boozy sharpness with sugar and citrus, but even that can still fall flat on the palate. Think of a well-balanced cocktail like your favorite meal in a restaurant. The spices and seasonings enhance the main ingredients that make that dish so memorable. When it comes to cocktails, freshly brewed black, green, and herbal teas can impart bright herbal notes and bitter tannins that supplement just a few simple ingredients and compliment many spirits.

If you’ve read the previous blog post, Reclaiming Church Punch, you know that teas have a place in cocktail history. Much like the punches of yesteryear, these new tea cocktails can also be made in large batches for entertaining—or just a lazy weekend afternoon on the porch with friends. Just be sure to always start with fresh, high-quality teas and chill them prior to making iced cocktails.

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On May 21,2009, Matthew B. Crawford published an article in The New York Times Magazine titled, “The Case for Working With Your Hands.” Later that month, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work arrived on my desk at work.

Three paragraphs down in the New York Times piece, Crawford describes our situation:

“High-school shop-class programs were widely dismantled in the 1990s as educators prepared students to become “knowledge workers.” The imperative of the last 20 years to round up every warm body and send it to college, then to the cubicle, was tied to a vision of the future in which we somehow take leave of material reality and glide about in a pure information economy. This has not come to pass. To begin with, such work often feels more enervating than gliding. More fundamentally, now as ever, somebody has to actually do things: fix our cars, unclog our toilets, build our houses.”

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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 3.2.2015 – 3.7.2015

The Factory This Week

“It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” – Tom Brokaw

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, March 2 – Saturday, March 7:


Our favorite A. Chanin pieces—including the V-Neck Tank, Long Sleeve Raglan, and Racerback Tunic—have been restocked in various sizes and colors, perfect for layering through the last bit of winter.

Join us in our studio space for First Mondays to work on your latest sewing project in the company of fellow sewers. Coffee, tea and light breakfast will be available for purchase from The Factory Café.

Join us Thursday for our first Makeshift Dinner of 2015, featuring special ingredients and recipes from Zingerman’s with special guest Ari Weinzweig, Co-Founding Partner and CEO of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses.

We will be hosting a Two-Hour Business Workshop on Friday, presented by Zingerman’s Ari Weinzweig. Ari will share his approach to business that has led Zingerman’s to success.

Try out a new free Craftsy sewing class here.


Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday, 10:00am – 4:00pm


Stop by any weekday at 2:00pm for a guided tour of our space, including The Factory, the Alabama Chanin production and design studio, and Building 14.


Join us for lunch at The Factory Café this week and try our customer-favorite Petite Homemade Meatloaf.

Also don’t forget to take a look in our cooler—fully stocked with homemade ready-to-go items like pimento cheese and our carrot and ginger soup.

We offer freshly baked whole cakes as well. Our cakes are made from scratch, fresh from the oven. Please provide 24 hours’ notice when placing an order.

Custom catering is now available for all events and occasions. Work directly with our head chef, Zach Chanin, and the Alabama Chanin team to create a menu tailored to your needs.

Café Hours:
Monday – Saturday, 11:00am – 2:00pm
*Lunch service begins at 11:00am but coffee and snacks are available all day.

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Saturday Brunch + The Week in Review

Join us tomorrow, February 28, for Saturday Brunch at The Factory Café. This week’s Brunch features our favorite Factory Benedict topped with fried salami and sriracha hollandaise sauce.

As always, we will have selection of seasonal choices that highlight products from local and regional farms and purveyors.

View our Saturday Brunch menu here or check below.

Saturday Store Hours: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Café Hours: 11:00am – 2:00pm

The Factory Store + Café
462 Lane Drive
Florence, Alabama 35630

Call us: +1.256.760.1090 or email office (at)

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February is technically a short month, but it was so fast and furious that I had to make conscious efforts to be mindful AND productive. March looks to be just as busy, but in the best way—full of things I want to do and people I want to see.

It is National Women’s History month, so we hope you will take time to revisit some of our favorite stories of Real Women and to share your own.

Here is what March looks like for me (deep breath):

March 2 – Dr. Seuss’ birthday, now known as Read Across America day. I’m currently working on several books, among them: The Optimistic Child by Martin E. P. Seligman, Encyclopedia of Needlework by Thérèse de Dillmont (in research for a possible new book on the tools of handwork), and revisiting Mary Renault’s The Last of the Wine.

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Last year, we launched our Friends of the Café Dinner and Factory Chef Series, which was quickly established as part of our Makeshift initiative. As with most things here at Alabama Chanin, the idea evolved over time from an interesting idea into something bigger. In 2015, we are continuing to host Friends of the Café dinners, combined with a corresponding workshop series—a branch of The School of Making. The series will combine our celebration of slow, sustainable, and inventive food with our ongoing conversations on craft, design, food, making, and community.

The initial idea for this series was simple—each month, The Factory Café would feature seasonal dishes inspired by regional chefs (or restaurants) that shared our values of celebrating place, artisanal craftsmanship, and good food.


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