Author Archives: Alabama

THE ZERO STENCIL

ZERO STENCIL

“Zero” is both a number and a concept. It is both incredibly complex and perfectly simple. Zero is both a value and a digit—a number and a placeholder. It can be called: nil, oh, naught, nada, and zilch. Complex chemical and physical theories involve and surround the concept of zero. All of this to say that, though the word “zero” may describe something that is very small, the larger idea of zero is very, very big.

Our goal at Alabama Chanin is to become a zero waste company. This means we repurpose and recycle every possible material, letting nothing go to waste. There are times when it is challenging to approach design with the idea of waste in mind; designing patterns and establishing cutting techniques that maximize our materials are not necessarily glamorous or exciting tasks. But, we believe taking those extra steps makes our products—and our company—more beautiful.

ZERO STENCIL

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PATAGONIA: JILL DUMAIN

PATAGONIA: JILL DUMAIN

Previously, I shared the story of my first encounter with Jill Dumain of Patagonia. Meeting Jill and hearing her speak not only opened my eyes to the good work that company was going; it opened my eyes to what is possible. Years of conversation finally resulted in a collaboration between Alabama Chanin and Patagonia, as part of their Truth to Materials initiative. By repurposing garments that have reached the end of their lives into new products—Reclaimed Down Scarves—we create a new product, with a life cycle of its own. We recently had the chance to speak with Jill Dumain about this project and about Patagonia as a company, and she generously took the time to answer some questions.

AC: Your title at Patagonia is Director of Environmental Analysis. That sounds like a pretty expansive area of oversight. How would you describe your primary responsibilities? What issues that you address are nearest to your heart?

Jill Dumain: Yes, it is certainly an expansive area, and that can be a little daunting at times. I think what also makes it especially daunting is that people look to Patagonia to see what we’ll do next. It’s a challenge and an opportunity to meet that expectation. I, personally, look at what we do from a business standpoint and examine how we can be doing better from an environmental perspective. It runs the gamut from evaluating new carpet to bioswale installations to new products to communication on our website. But for me, it’s really about how I do my job and empower people at the same time. I look for the projects that “teach people to fish” versus just giving people fish. It’s thrilling when I’m able to encourage my colleagues and get them excited about bringing environmental work into their lives. It’s good for the company. It spreads knowledge throughout the ranks and gets the greater Patagonia family involved in the process, not just my team. And they’ve really become experts in their areas. We recently switched our catalogue to be printed on 100% recycled content, and that decision came from within our creative department. It’s a huge win to see it work that way!

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THE HISTORY OF WORKSHOPS (+ NEW GROUP RATES)

THE HISTORY OF WORKSHOPS (+ NEW GROUP RATES)

Quite a few years ago, I loaded up the car with scissors, needles, and an array of other sewing supplies and took a trip with a group of friends and fellow stitchers to a women’s prison facility (at their invitation, of course). My friend Kyes had organized this meeting in the hopes of developing a program within our Alabama Prison system for training life and job skills. The scissors wound up staying in the car for security reasons, but the experience was life changing. The intent of the day was to show these women—on their way out of prison and back into the “real” world—how to hand stitch and work together. We wanted to help them see that they could make something beautiful with their own two hands and, at the same time, perhaps challenge all of our preconceived notions about our neighbors and the world at large. It’s fair to say that I walked away from that day and the experience a different person.

At that point, I’d begun to realize that education was going to be an important element in the life of my company. I wanted to help others understand how essential “living arts” are—and what it would mean if we lost connection to those skills and our shared history. Slowly, Alabama Chanin added stitching workshops to our traveling trunk shows. We scheduled intimate one-off events that were as much about storytelling as they were stitching (as Blair Hobbs famously exemplified with her “granny panties” story years ago). We were creating a community through making. It was happening.

And so we committed to this enterprise of creating communities for makers, of building workshops both here at The Factory and across the globe. Alabama Chanin and our customers have become part of one another’s lives in ways I never imagined; we’ve made lifelong friends, helped create wedding gowns, hosted classrooms of college students, and traveled across the country. I’ve met some of my personal heroes through sharing ideas on making and sustainability.

THE HISTORY OF WORKSHOPS (+ NEW GROUP RATES)

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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 10.6.2014 – 10.10.2014

Sample-Sale-at-The-Factory4

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” - L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, October 6 – Friday, October 10:

STORE

Our upcoming Sample Sale starts on October 7th in-store at The Factory and online. Shop a selection of sample Basics, retired designs, DIY samples, and some pieces from our most recent collection.

Seats are still available for the upcoming Friends of the Café Dinner featuring Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ on October 10th. For more information, contact: office@alabamachanin.com.

Register now for the October 13th On Design lecture, which will be the first in a series hosted here at The Factory. Natalie Chanin will be presenting, “The School of Bauhaus + Creative Process”.  The event is open to the public with limited seating. Registration Required.

Store Hours
Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm

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.

Also, don’t forget to take a look in our cooler—fully stocked with homemade ready-to-go items like egg salad, pimento cheese, and our roasted tomato soup.

Café Hours
Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 3:00pm
*Lunch service begins at 11:00am, but coffee and snacks are available all day.

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NEWSLETTER #21

NEWSLETTER #21

Newsletter #21 features our upcoming Sample Sale beginning on Tuesday, October 7, both in-store at The Factory and online. On October 10, Drew Robinson and Nicholas Pihakis of Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q join us for our fourth and final “Friends of the Café” Dinner of the year. The dinner is a fundraiser for the Fatback Collective’s “Fatback Fund.”

October 13 launches the Makeshift: On Design series at The Factory. Our first event will feature a presentation by Natalie titled “The School of Bauhaus + Creative Process”. The newest Alabama Chanin collection launches October 14 and will feature new designs, stencils, and colors.

Join our mailing list to receive our monthly newsletter and keep up with our latest news, new products, and stories featured on our Journal.

Update your mailing subscription to include the newsletter here.
xoNatalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin

 

 

FABRIC STACK: AUTUMN

FABRIC STACK: AUTUMN

New season = new colors.

For a limited time, we are offering our new (bright) autumn colors bundled together in one yard cuts. This fabric stack includes one yard lengths, each, of Dusk, Gold, Persimmon, Autumn, Wine, and Teal.

Our medium-weight 100% organic cotton jersey is 56” wide, made in the USA from domestically grown organic cotton, and comes to you pre-shrunk and ready-to-use.

$156

Enjoy free shipping on orders over $300.

THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 9.29.2014 – 10.3.2014

THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 9.29.2014 - 10.3.2014

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” - Maya Angelou

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, September 29 – Friday, October 3:

STORE

Register now for the October 13th On Design lecture, which will be the first in a series hosted here at The Factory. Natalie Chanin will be presenting, “The School of Bauhaus + Creative Process”.  The event is open to the public with limited seating.

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

Seats are still available for the upcoming Friends of the Café Dinner featuring Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ on October 10th. For more information, contact: office@alabamachanin.com.

Store Hours
Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm

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.

Also, don’t forget to take a look in our cooler—fully stocked with homemade ready-to-go items like egg salad, pimento cheese, and our roasted tomato soup.

Café Hours
Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 3:00pm
*Lunch service begins at 11:00am, but coffee and snacks are available all day.

Below is the menu for Monday, September 29; check back each day for an updated menu.

SMALL PLATES

 Four Deviled Eggs
made with locally-sourced, farm-fresh eggs 4.95

Bowl of Roasted Vegetable Soup
served with toast 6.50

Pimento Cheese Sandwich
served open-faced 7.45

Gram Perkins’ Homemade Egg Salad Sandwich
served open-faced 7.45

Grilled Cheese Sandwich 4.95

SAVORY

Sweet Potato Quiche
made with sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, and a Gruyere cheese,
served with roasted vegetables and a side of The Factory Salad 11.95

Four Small Puff Pastries
with house made ricotta and spinach,
served with a side of The Factory Salad 11.95

Roasted Vegetable Sandwich
roasted eggplant, squash, peppers, and red onions with fresh ricotta cheese,
served on homemade ciabatta bread,
with a side of The Factory Salad or your choice of chips 11.95

The Factory Salad
made with Jack-o-Lantern Farm’s greens, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber,
and shaved parmesan, tossed in a house made lemon vinaigrette,
served with a hard-boiled egg 6.95

SWEET

Plain Cake
white cake with buttercream icing 3.95

 Peach-Bourbon Sorbet
topped with lime salt 4.25

Three Chocolate Chip Cookies 2.95

(All desserts are made to order; please allow 10 minutes.)

SIDES

Two Deviled Eggs 2.45

Side of The Factory Salad 3.95

Cup of Soup with toast 4.50

Route 11 Potato Chips 1.50

Thyme-Infused Roasted Potatoes 3.25

Roasted Vegetables of the Day 3.25

Half Pimento Cheese Sandwich 3.95

Half Gram Perkins’ Egg Salad Sandwich 3.95

DAILY PLATE
Choose three of the sides listed above,
served with one chocolate chip cookie, and your choice of tea or coffee 10.95

DRINKS

Mountain Valley Spring Water (flat or sparkling)
Full Bottle 3.75
Individual Size 1.90

Bottle Drinks 1.90

Organic Iced Tea
your choice sweet, unsweet, or half-and-half 1.90

Hot Tea 1.90

The Factory Blend Drip Coffee 2.50

When possible, we proudly serve organic and source our ingredients locally from
Jack-o-Lantern FarmBelle Chevre, and other purveyors.

Enjoy your lunch on exclusive Alabama Chanin @ Heath Ceramics dinnerware.

PICTURES TAKE YOU PLACES | THE FACTORY

PICTURES TAKE YOU PLACES | THE FACTORYHim and Her

Phillip March Jones says, “Seeing is everything. But it takes practice.” Expanding our collaboration with Phillip, we asked him to take a look around our studio as part of a new and ongoing travel series—and an extension of his daily photo blog Pictures Take You Places.

PICTURES TAKE YOU PLACES | THE FACTORYShop Show

“During my last trip to Florence, Natalie asked me to take some pictures of the re-imagined Factory with its new shop, café, and production facility. I spent an afternoon wandering around the building, amazed at what they had accomplished but also bewildered by this seemingly impossible marriage between a literal factory and the sophisticated, comfortable aesthetic that is Alabama Chanin. Chandeliers hang below fluorescent tubes, soft pieces of dyed cloth are hung to dry against corrugated metal walls, and plant shadows grow over the cracks in the asphalt. I love the idea of this great big metal building in Alabama, all dressed up and ready to go.”

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POLKA DOT STENCIL – LARGE, MEDIUM, + SMALL

POLKA DOTS – LARGE, MEDIUM, + SMALL

As a designer, I am constantly in search of inspiration for new patterns. Often, I find ideas in nature. Other times, I’m drawn to simple geometric shapes – such as circles or dots – and how they interact with one another. Polka dots, with their equal size and relative spacing, create a classic pattern on a garment. In fact, polka dots have quite an interesting history throughout fashion.

The spotted design gained popularity in the mid to late-19th century, as the polka dance came into fashion. Martha Stewart describes the origins of the term in her book, Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts:

“To capitalize on the popularity of the polka in the late nineteenth century, one enterprising American textile manufacturer coined the term “polka dot” to describe the dots on one of his fabrics. The name stuck, and today the term refers to round, evenly spaced dots of identical size.”

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