LITTLE FOREST AND BIOPHILIC DESIGN

ALABAMA CHANIN – LITTLE FOREST + BIOPHILLIC DESIGN

As part of our On Design and Makeshift conversation and event series, we have led discussions on various design movements and schools of thought (like Bauhaus, Arts and Crafts, and Memphis), the business of artisan craftwork, and designers like Charles and Ray Eames. This week’s discussion takes a turn toward a new design arena—Biophilic Design and Terrariums.

The speaker today was Birmingham-based artisan Jonathan Woolley, whose collective—known as Little Forest Design—has given The Factory entrance a facelift by installing a beautiful tableau of terrariums. The effect is transformative; bringing natural elements into our workspace influences not only our work environment, but also our mood and productivity.

Response to the installation reflects the basic philosophy behind Biophilic Design—that incorporating nature into living and working environments can affect mental and physical health, and allow for healthier connections within communities. The design theory presents the idea that humans fundamentally need a connection to nature, but our urban environments have separated us from those elements that might nourish our spirits and physical bodies. Biophilic Design is a way of reconnecting people to nature in a way that incorporates natural elements into current living and working systems.

In preparation for his presentation, we asked Jonathan to give us some background on the theory of Biophilic Design and his design collective, Little Forest Design.

Little-Forest

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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 04.13.2015 – 04.17.2015

The Factory This Week

Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” – Aristotle

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, April 13 – Friday, April 17:

STORE

Be sure to join us on Monday, April 13 for the next installment of our On Design Makeshift conversation, presenting Little Forest + Biophilic Design. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, Little Forest is dedicated to bringing the magic of the forest into everyday urban life through small-scale, sustainable design. In their presentation, they will explore theory, highlight the key principles of biophilic design, and offer a variety of small-scale, DIY  projects, including terrariums, that allow participants to incorporate more natural, biophilic design projects into their own home.

$7 includes admission and participation to the conversation, and a cup of coffee or tea. Reserve your seat now.

Our Pop-Up Store at lf8 is back open now through May 22, 2015. The store features a selection of one-of-a-kind indigo pieces, A. Chanin, and a special selection of home goods, accessories, and more. Alabama Chanin will also be hosting a series of events and conversations at lf8 in the coming month.

STORE HOURS (@ THE FACTORY)

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.

Stop in 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 our carrot and ginger soup.

We offer freshly baked whole cakes as well. Our cakes are made from scratch, fresh from the oven – from our family to yours. 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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LAUNCHING: NEW PATTERNS, NEW RESOURCES

New Patterns, New Resources Today, we launch our new Unisex T-shirt garment pattern—available in PDF form through our newly re-organized Resource downloads page. Available for purchase at $12, the PDF download includes the nested pattern and comes in sizes XS to XXL along with instructions for fabric selection, cutting, and garment construction. All of our patterns are the results of hours creating drawings, drafting patterns, making samples, readjusting the patterns, sewing more samples, and finally, grading each pattern by hand into a range of sizes that are then translated to our digital, nested versions. These new PDF patterns (more styles coming very soon) are designed for printing on wide-format printers or desktop printers. We ask that you respect our policies and use our patterns for personal projects, as they are designed for individual use and not intended for commercial ventures or reproducing and distributing.

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INSPIRATION: NEW DIY

INSPIRATION-NEW-DIYHe who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
– Francis of Assisi

Introducing new DIY kits inspired by our brand new book, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns. Be on the lookout for kit details and design choices on our Journal in the coming months…

To engage your hands, your head, and your heart:

A refreshing spin on one of our longest-running and most popular patterns: the Corset, now available in DIY New Leaves and DIY Magdalena.

Our classic DIY V-Neck Shell Top, updated with a placement Magdalena stencil accenting the neckline.

The versatile and effortless DIY A-Line Dress, now offered in the New Leaves design, as featured in Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns.

Try a variation of our Fitted Skirt with the DIY Magdalena Mid-Length Skirt and the DIY Magdalena Fitted Skirt with pockets.

The patterns and kits from our newest book are inspired by real women of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and ages.

INSPIRATION-NEW-DIY-ALABAMA CHANIN

 

 

HOW TO PRINT A GARMENT AND/OR STENCIL PATTERN

TILED STENCIL - ALABAMA CHANINWith the launch of Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns and our updated online Resources page on Friday—including new garment patterns and stencils offered as downloadable PDFs—we are offering a growing range of designs that require printing, either from a home printer or from wide-format printers found at print shops across the globe.

Alabama Stitch Book, Alabama Studio Style, and Alabama Studio Sewing + Design included paper pattern sheets that allowed home sewers to create Alabama Chanin designed garments. And while this is a straight-forward process, there are new printing options available that may streamline patternmaking for the home sewer.  Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns comes with a CD filled with ready-to-print PDF files for new garments and stencils, plus all of the garments from our previous three books. Additionally, beginning this Friday we will offer new garment patterns and stencil designs for purchase from our Resources page—also in PDF form.

Electronic versions of all of these designs can be emailed from your computer or brought to a local copy/print shop and printed out on extra-large paper so that there is no joining or overlapping of the pattern pieces necessary. Wide-format printers are readily available that print up to 36” (90 cm) and sometimes as much as 44” (112 cm) wide and as long as the roll of paper fits the machine. Look for a copy/print shop in your community that works with architects, who also have large-scale printing needs. In our experience, prices for printouts can vary widely from shop to shop, and so it pays to take the time to research the best value available. If you cannot find a wide-format printer in your own community, there are a range of online services that will print digital files and ship to your door. Continue reading

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LAUNCHING ALABAMA STUDIO SEWING PATTERNS

LAUNCHING ALABAMA STUDIO SEWING PATTERNS

Last Thursday we started shipping our newest book, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns.  Stacks of books around the office moved quickly into boxes and off into the hands of readers.  Thank you for all your sweet notes of praise and excitement.  We find it equally exciting to move on to this next chapter.

Look for our post tomorrow on “How To Print a Pattern,” fresh DIY Kits—inspired by the new book—launch on Thursday, Friday our updated Resources page arrives with a new downloadable garment pattern and improved stencil design PDFs, and look for our (first-round) blog tour over the coming weeks, featuring Heather Ross, Anna Maria HornerKristine Vejar, Amy Herzog, Joelle Hoverson, and Amy Butler (in no particular order).

Once you’ve had the chance to open your box and digest the contents, let us know what you think. Looking forward to hearing from each and every one of you…

xoNatalie

LAUNCHING ALABAMA STUDIO SEWING PATTERNS

 

COMING FRIDAY: NEW PATTERNS, NEW RESOURCES

ALABAMA CHANIN – COMING FRIDAY: NEW PATTERNS, NEW RESOURCES

It’s a BIG week for us here at Alabama Chanin. Our newest book, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, lands in stores and into the hands of the makers tomorrow. This fourth book in the Alabama Studio Series includes all the patterns from our first three Studio Books on a convenient CD, plus instructions and patterns for 12 new skirts, dresses, tops, and jackets, with illustrated guidelines for customizing the fit and style of each. The book teaches readers the ins and outs of refashioning garment shapes, raising and lowering necklines, taking in and letting out waistlines, and many more key forms of customization; it also offers guidelines for adapting patterns from other popular sewing companies to the Alabama Chanin style—stitched by hand in organic cotton jersey and embellished with stencils, embroidery, and beading. Check back on Wednesday for information on the best ways to print our patterns and stencils.

On Friday of this week, we introduce a newly re-organized Resources section. This re-formatting will make possible our first-ever downloadable garment patterns for purchase—beginning with our popular Unisex T-Shirt. Additionally, new and improved stenciling patterns will be available to purchase in PDF form with full-scale artwork for wide-format printing and also for tiled printing on both 8 1/2″ x 11” paper, or A4 paper. Look for additional garment patterns through 2015.

ALABAMA CHANIN – NEW PATTERNS, NEW RESOURCES

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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 4.6.2015 – 4.11.2015

The Factory This Week

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, April 6 – Saturday, April 11:

STORE
Join us on Monday, April 6, for First Mondays. Spend your morning working on your latest project in the company of fellow sewers. Coffee, tea, and light breakfast will be available for purchase from The Factory Café.

Spend next Saturday with Alabama Chanin at our Annual Open House and Community Picnic. We will be providing barbeque and fixins’, please bring your favorite side dish or dessert. We will also be hosting a series of one-hour mini-workshops that afternoon, 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 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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CREATIVE TRUTHS

ALABAMA CHANIN – CREATIVE TRUTHS

I originally wrote the post below for the Etsy Seller Handbook. It ran on September 14 of 2011—just before my lecture at Hello Etsy. I ran across these “truths” recently while writing this post on The Business of Fashion’s “How To Set Up A Fashion Business”  and still find them true today.

xoNatalie

From the Etsy Blog:

I’ve often described my creative journey as “falling off a cliff,” yet thinking about it recently, I’ve realized — to my great surprise — that my journey has actually been quite linear. I went from design school, to working in the fashion industry, to styling, and then back to fashion with Alabama Chanin. It is unlikely that I would have appreciated how direct my path has been if I hadn’t been asked to reflect upon my journey. Thanks to a few flight delays, day-long drives, and long afternoons spent gardening, I’ve been able to spend some quality time reflecting upon the events of my past. Sometimes it takes a little time to gain perspective.

I am incredibly proud of my company, my amazing team, and everything we’ve accomplished in the past decade. When things are running smoothly in our studio (as has happened once or twice in the ten years since we opened our doors), I feel an unrivaled sense of calm and satisfaction. However, it is the creative chaos, the phones that ring (but cannot be found), the revolving cast of friends and clients, and the unwavering support of my family that are much more invigorating and make me understand that my path has been the right one — for me.

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APRIL + SWATCH OF THE MONTH

ALABAMA CHANIN – APRIL + SWATCH OF THE MONTH

With the arrival of April (and the announcement of our partnership with Nest), it feels as though we are finally settling into the year. April’s warmer weather is also welcomed with open arms (and horseback rides). April is a busy month.

April is National Poetry Month. Poetry lovers can begin a project using our Poetry stencil—available for download on our Resources page or work your favorite poem or quote directly onto any garment.

Here is what’s on the horizon for April:

April 2 – International Children’s Book Day—Maggie recommends favorites by Maira Kalman.

April 5 – Easter Sunday – however you choose to celebrate, we hope you approach today with a spirit of renewal.

April 7 – Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns launches (very exciting)

April 11 – This day we host our Alabama Chanin Open House + Community Picnic, plus our One-Hour Mini-Workshops at the Factory. Spend a day with our team at The Factory. Sign up for mini-workshops on dyeing, stenciling, and/or sewing. For the potluck-style picnic, we provide barbecue and “fixins”—so bring your favorite side dish or dessert to share. The open house is free and open to the public.

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