A former business partner of mine once wrote a press release that stated our company “came from nowhere.” When I read that “came from nowhere” years ago, my stomach began to turn and, honestly I was a little angry and my feelings were a bit hurt. That sentence seemed to imply that our work was effortless and my business was created magically, without the pains of labor. It certainly didn’t feel to me like I came from nowhere.

Who was talking about me working my way through design school with a four-year-old child, on a wish and a prayer? Who talked about years of working day-in-day-out? Who knew that, in the beginning, I often worked alone, in a basement full of cave crickets and the occasional 6-foot snake? Those were important moments in the life of our company. Ignoring those moments makes our accomplishments seem less important. Nothing comes from nowhere.


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We are devout believers in Dust-to-Digital, April and Lance Ledbetter’s acclaimed record label. Their first release, Goodbye, Babylon, is a testament to the Dust-to-Digital mission of archiving, producing, and reproducing high-quality, cultural artifacts.

Lance spent several years researching and compiling the collection of 135 rare gospel songs, dating from 1902 to 1960, and 25 sermons, dating from 1926 to 1941. The stories and songs included in Goodbye, Babylon are filled with Southern and religious folklore. The collection is archived on six CDs, and features recordings from below the Mason-Dixon Line – everything from string bands and gospel quartets to sacred harp choirs and shouting preachers. You might recognize some of the artists, but most of the recordings are obscure treasures.


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FACTORY-THISWEEK-6WEach Monday morning on the Journal, we will be posting the weekly happenings here at The Factory Store + Café.

Monday, November 11 – Friday, November 15:

We are pleased to have pastry chef and SFA member Yewande Komolafe acting as café consultant, setting up our kitchen, and developing recipes for our fresh, seasonal menu:
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As most of our readers know, we are in the process of expanding our company. Growth is good, and we are now hiring for several open positions.

Food service and retail associates are needed for The Factory Store + Café. Our production team is looking for experienced sewing machine operators, an experienced pattern maker, and a clothing inspector. We are also looking for an in-house cleaning person for the space.


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When we began our mailing list back in 2004, we had a small following. As we’ve grown as a company over the years, we’ve also seen our followers grow. We want to offer you the most up-to-date information, and that often requires a little trial and error.

Recently, we added some new mailing list options. If you are signed up for our “Get It All” mailing list, you will now receive the Daily Journal.

We hope that you will enjoy our daily Journal posts in your inbox, and join our ongoing conversations about sustainable design, recipes, DIY projects, art, travel, and fashion.

If you do not wish to get a daily email from us, please click here to update your subscription preferences.

xoNatalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin


We are in the season of giving – giving thanks, giving gifts – but also of making. Perhaps you’re baking a pie, sewing a stocking, or creating a one-of-a-kind garment or handmade item full of personal touches and plenty of love. No matter what you choose to make, handmade items are certainly the best kind of gift to give and to receive.

Designed with the holidays in mind, this DIY Kit for our classic T-Shirt Top, featuring a negative reverse appliqué Paisley pattern, can be completed quickly, but has lots of detail. The pattern for this Capped Sleeve T-shirt Top is included in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design and detailed instructions for construction can be found on pages 48-49.

Use our Studio Style DIY supplies to make your own or get the pre-cut and stenciled kit here.

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We are excited to be a part of the first-ever Made in the South Weekend, hosted by Garden & Gun magazine in Charleston, South Carolina, next month. The Jubilee will be a lively mix of sporting, shopping, food, music, and art, and will feature an Alabama Chanin Trunk Show and Two-Hour Workshop. Make plans to join us.



The Alabama Chanin Collection table at the Made in the South Marketplace will feature an array of holiday gifts including knotted necklaces, scarves, ponchos, cocktail napkins, tea towels, books, and socks.

You can also shop our selection of Studio Style DIY items, including fabric, notions, sewing kits, DIY kits, studio books, and Handmade Holiday.

Special orders and custom order DIY kits will also be available.

Friday, December 6 through Sunday, December 8

Friday: 11:00am – 4:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Sunday: 10:00am – 3:00pm

Charles Towne Landing
1500 Old Towne Road
Charleston, SC 29407

(*Early, private access begins at 9:00am on Friday)

Tickets may be purchased here.

For more information, contact +1.256.760.1090 or visit



Sunday, December 8, 2013
10:00am – 1:00pm

Charles Towne Landing
1500 Old Towne Road
Charleston, SC 29407

Join Natalie and the Alabama Chanin team for a two-hour sewing workshop at the Jubilee. Choose from three projects: a Journal Cover, a Scarf, or Placemats. The workshop is suited to beginning and experienced sewers alike. Materials, instructions, stories, and laughter are included.

Tickets available for purchase here.




The Alabama Chanin Gore Skirt has continually been a popular DIY item because it works up beautifully in any color, using any design and embroidery technique. As part of our Handmade Holiday collection, we are offering a special-edition DIY Eyelet Embroidered Gore Skirt that is perfect for any holiday gathering.

The bottom edge of the skirt is embroidered using an eyelet stitch (instructions available on page 62 of Alabama Studio Style), with bugle beads added to some of the eyelets for a touch of sparkle. The end result is a snowflake-like effect that will fit right into any holiday setting. You can choose how much or how little to embellish your skirt, as the design’s scatter effect allows for plenty of improvisation. Instructions for construction are available in Alabama Studio Style.

The completed skirt measures approximately 24” from the waist and your finishing stitches can be chosen based upon your own design aesthetic.


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Newsletter-#10--WNewsletter #10 announces The Factory Grand Opening on November 18th, featuring the 2013 Holiday Market, live music, and cocktails, and also celebrates our recent CFDA/Lexus Eco-Challenge Award for work in sustainable fashion.

Read about our recent DIY projects on the Journal, and shop our Handmade Holiday collection of holiday-inspired DIY projects and kits.

Join our mailing list to receive our Monthly Newsletter, or update your mailing subscription to include the newsletter (and our new Daily Journal) here.

xoNatalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin




November’s Desktop of the Month demonstrates that tone-on-tone designs—where both the front and back appliqué layers are the same or similar colors—allow the stencil to subtly take center stage.

The Magdalena stencil is shown in black-on-black backstitch reverse appliqué. Both the textile paint and the embroidery floss are black as well, but light hitting the surface of the two fabrics reveals the elegant stencil detail.

The photograph above shows one of many options you can select when creating your own Handmade Holiday DIY item or Custom DIY Kit. View the Handmade Holiday section of our website for special, limited-time DIY options.

This hi-resolution photograph, for use as your computer desktop background, is now available to download from our Resources page.


Fabric – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Backing layer – Black
Top layer –Black
Stencil – Magdalena
Treatment – Backstitch reverse appliqué
Textile paint – Black
Embroidery floss – Black
Knots – Inside