DIY PANTS: VOGUE PATTERN V8499

ALABAMA CHANIN – DIY PANTS: VOGUE PATTERN V8499

In our continuing Makeshift series that demonstrates how design, craft, and fashion can influence on another, we adapt another open-sourced pattern using Alabama Chanin techniques. This pattern is from Marcy Tilton, a longtime Vogue pattern designer, author of three sewing books, and a name well known to crafters and sewers alike.

As always, we encourage you to use patterns as a source of inspiration rather than absolute guidelines. The more personalization you bring to each piece, the more the final garment will mean to you as the maker—and the more you will elevate the making process.

ALABAMA CHANIN – DIY PANTS: VOGUE PATTERN V8499

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JUNE + SWATCH OF THE MONTH

ALABAMA CHANIN – JUNE + SWATCH OF THE MONTH

We’ve written each month about how quickly this year is FLYING by—and this month is no different. I caught myself telling someone the other day that I’m only going to be away a couple of weekends this coming month; I plan to spend the other weekends at home working in the garden, which could use a little (a lot of) love. My lettuces and spinach continue to produce with tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant tucked neatly in between. Hopefully, by the end of the month I will taste the first tomatoes of summer. (Hello, BLT.)

June is National Iced Tea Month. I would like to say that we will drink more iced tea to celebrate—but our iced tea consumption at the café is never at a lull. Sweet, Un-sweet, Half-and-Half… we love them all.

Here is what June has in store:

June 1-5: Patterns + Alterations Studio Week @ The Factory

June 8-12: Classic Studio Week @ The Factory

June 12: Downtown Wig & Mustache Bash: A Drag Spectacular – throw a little glitter and some shade as Shoals Pridefest kicks off its inaugural event.

June 19: Juneteenth Day – the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States

June 21: Summer Solstice and Father’s Day—all wrapped up into one. A great day to get outside and celebrate the great dads in our lives.

June 26-28: Our Classic Sewing Weekend at Blackberry Farm. Find more information here.

June 29: Mother/Daughter One-Day Sewing Retreat at Blackberry Farm. Classic Sewing Weekend registrants, click here to reserve your spots.

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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 5.25.2015 – 5.30.2015

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 5.25.2015 – 5.30.2015

“Who sows virtue reaps honor.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Please note that the Alabama Chanin office and The Factory Store and Café will be closed on Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day.

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, May 25 – Saturday, May 30:

STORE
Shop our Sweet Summer sale through midnight Monday and receive 20% off your online purchase with the code “SWEETSUMMER.” (Some exclusions apply.)

We have two week-long workshops coming up in June with spots still available. Sign up now for our Patterns and Alterations Studio Week at The Factory June 1 through June 5. This workshop highlights our most recent book, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, and will focus on the skills needed to tailor our existing patterns to fit according to your measurements. The cost includes materials, instruction, studio access daily from 8:00am – 6:00pm, yoga sessions, breakfast and weekday lunches, and a few surprises along the way.

Our Classic Studio Week begins the following Monday, June 8 and goes through Friday, June 12. This week-long event gives workshop participants total immersion into Alabama Chanin’s philosophies, methods, materials, and products. Participants will experiment with several different techniques including design basics and the physics of sewing, stencil design and creation, airbrush and stenciling of garments, fit and pattern alterations, discussion, and critique. The cost includes materials, access to airbrush and paint, a selection of garment patterns and stencils available in our Studio Book Series, instruction, daily breakfast and weekday lunches, studio access daily from 8:00am – 6:00pm, and more. Pair this workshop with our weeklong Patterns and Alterations workshop the previous week for our most comprehensive Alabama Chanin experience. Register here.

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

TOURS
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.

CAFÉ
Join us for lunch at The Factory Café this week and enjoy a new menu every day.

Be sure to join us on Saturdays for Brunch featuring seasonal choices that highlight products from local and regional farms and purveyors.

Also don’t forget to take a look in our cooler—fully stocked with homemade ready-to-go items like pimento cheese and chocolate pots de crème.

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. Continue reading

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DESIGN: PATRICK KELLY

ALABAMA CHANIN – DESIGN: PATRICK KELLY

Last July, we explored Alabama’s fashion design history and, in our studio conversations about that post, we started asking one another about other designers that have emerged from the South. Dana Buchman, Pat Kerr, Johnny Talbot, and Wes Gordon all hail from states neighboring our own. When searching my brain for designers from Mississippi, the first that came to mind was Patrick Kelly.

Patrick stands out so significantly in my memory because he emerged as a designer of note in the 1980s and during my time in design school. He is, in many ways, a designer with sensibilities completely different from my own; he created body conscious garments with flamboyant embellishments. In other respects, we have a certain kinship, as he found ways to repurpose and recycle clothing into new garments. He also found inspiration in his community and neighbors, once telling People Magazine, “At the black Baptist church on Sunday, the ladies are just as fierce as the ladies at the Yves Saint Laurent haute couture shows.”

ALABAMA CHANIN – DESIGN: PATRICK KELLY

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DIY COLLECTION: NEW T-SHIRTS

ALABAMA CHANIN – DIY COLLECTION: NEW T-SHIRTS

We wrote earlier this week about scale and patterns, and how we reduced and enlarged our New Leaves stencil artwork to create graphic variations of the design. One of our projects that looks at scale is a series of  DIY Unisex T-shirts. The shirts feature our New Leaves stencil in five different sizes and can be worked in a variety of techniques including quilting, reverse appliqué, backstitch reverse appliqué, and negative reverse appliqué. We used a chain stitch for the DIY Mori and DIY Novus T-shirts, the first time this technique example has been shown in our DIY Sewing Kits.

ALABAMA CHANIN – DIY COLLECTION: NEW T-SHIRTS

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DESIGN + SCALE

ALABAMA CHANIN – DESIGN + SCALE

I’ve been toying with the idea of scale and pattern recently. This thought arose because of a presentation I gave in March on Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis Group. The talk was part of the monthly On Design Lecture Series that we host in our studio as staff development but is also open to our community as part of The School of Making educational programming. (It’s on hiatus for the summer, but we’ll let you know as soon as we start back.) Many of our young in-house designers are fascinated by the 1980s and wanted to know more about the design influences that fueled this era. I went to design school from 1983 to 1987, so this concept of 1980s design seemed appropriate and very exciting to revisit.

While unearthing my thoughts on the 80s, I realized that the most prominent design trend in my memory was Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis group—the Italian design collective during the 80s who challenged the “established” rules of design. Their playful use of scale and pattern remain strong influences in design today (and my personal design aesthetic as well). While putting together the talk, I realized it had been such a long time since I played with scale. So, I pulled two gorgeous books on from my library: Ettore Sottsass Metaphors and Ettore Sottsass (which we also sell in the design section of our store as it is one of my all-time favorite books). Ettore Sottsass Metaphors sets the stage for playing with shapes in nature and Ettore Sottsass is incredibly inspiring for its illustration of scale, pattern, and color in design—aside from being one of the most beautiful books I own.

ALABAMA CHANIN – DESIGN + SCALE

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ETTORE SOTTSASS + THE MEMPHIS GROUP

ALABAMA CHANIN – ETTORE SOTTSASS + THE MEMPHIS GROUP

“I am a designer and I want to design things.”  – Ettore Sottsass

When Alabama Chanin started our MAKESHIFT conversation nearly three years ago, inspiration came from several places and sources. The core idea was, and still is, that through the gathering of like-minded folks (writers, designers, thinkers, artisans, creators) we could elaborate on the simple act of making—and find the point where design, craft, art, fashion, food, and DIY intersect.

The conversation at the first MAKESHIFT event in 2012 began with the study and discussion of an essay by Ettore Sottsass, titled “When I Was a Very Small Boy.” The essay (which was brought to our attention by Andrew Wagner) is about the act of making and embraces the idea that when we are young, we don’t have preconceived notions about what or how to make; we just do. And by doing, we learn. During MAKESHIFT, in keeping with the Sottsass essay, we embraced the act of working outside out of our comfort zones to try something new. By doing so, we can evolve together—by exploring, not thinking or judging.

Our On Design series allows us to have MAKESHIFT-based discussions on a local, community-based level—translated here. March’s On Design lecture was titled “1980 + The Memphis Group” and focused heavily on the work of Sottsass and his partner and fellow Memphis member, Barbara Radice. During my own design training, I began to study and follow the work of Sottsass—including his achievements with the Memphis Group during the 1980s. Sottsass founded the design collaborative in Milan, Italy. Barbara Radice elaborates on the group’s beginnings in this interview with Phaidon.com:

You should not imagine that we would sit around and actually talk about “the future of design”. There was a necessity of updating figurative language because what was around, as Ettore used to say, after a while felt like chewing cardboard. So you need a little mustard, don’t you? We were talking about life, and design was part of it. That is why they (the designs) were so intense and bright.

ALABAMA CHANIN – ETTORE SOTTSASS + THE MEMPHIS GROUP

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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 5.18.2015 – 5.23.2015

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 5.18.2015 –  5.23.2015

“Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.” ― Seth Godin

Please note that The Factory Store + Café and Alabama Chanin offices will be closed on Monday, May 25th for Memorial Day.

Last week was packed with events at The Factory, so this week we are taking a moment to catch our breath…

Here is what we have going on, Monday, May 18 – Saturday, May 23 :

STORE
Join us for Third Mondays as we host our monthly sewing group at The Factory from 8:30 – 11:30. Spend your morning working on your latest project in the company of fellow sewers. Share inspiration, encouragement, and fellowship. Coffee and tea will be available for purchase from The Factory Café. Please bring your own fabric and sewing notions.

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

TOURS
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.

CAFÉ
Stop in for lunch at The Factory Café this week with favorites like our Flatbread and Quiche of the Day, made with the freshest seasonal vegetables available.

Be sure to join us on Saturdays for Brunch, as we highlight products from local and regional farms and purveyors.

Also, don’t forget to take a look in our cooler – fully stocked with homemade ready-to-go items like pimento cheese and chocolate pots de crème.

Order a freshly baked whole cake for your next event or party. 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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