For the first time, and in anticipation of our newest book Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, we are offering a DIY Sewing Kit for our A-Line Dress. This dress is part of our new DIY Sewing Kit Collection. Made from our medium-weight 100% organic cotton jersey, the dress is patterned with our Magdalena Stencil and shown here worked in negative reverse appliqué; however, you may choose a technique from any of our books or Swatch of the Month to embellish this kit.

The A-Line dress has been a popular style around our studio because it flatters almost every figure; in fact, we use this dress as part of our uniform for The Factory Store and Café. The kit—or the finished dress—also makes it an excellent gift, as it does not require strict measurements to fit. It is substantial enough to be worn in any weather and works as a versatile layering piece. My daily uniform consists of the A-Line Dress paired with a basic or embellished version of our Every Day Long Skirt.


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Give the gift of membership to the Southern Foodways Alliance and give the gift of Gravy (plus so much more). And download the new Gravy podcast (for free) for your own weekly goodness.

—excerpted from Gravy 53: Food and Social Justice, page 42 

John Earl Reese, shot while dancing in a café in Mayflower, Texas, October 2, 1955.

Not for the wound, not for the bullet,
++power’s pale cowardice, but
for you, for the three full syllables
++of your name we hold whole
as a newborn by the feet, and so
++for the cry, the first note, the key
So every word to follow, the timbre,
++The tone, the voice that could sing
Nat King Cole’s “If I May,” and slow
++dance the flip side, the blossoms
fallen like a verdict to the jury’s lips,
++not to the blood or the broken
glass or the spiders silking juke-box
++wires in a junkman’s shed,
but the fingers’ heat still on the dime
++when it slides to the switch,
the lamp on the platter, the groove
++that tells the needle what to say,
and the pine boards of the café floor
++once moved by the locusts’ moan
now warm as a guitar’s wood, revived
++with all the prayers of songs, Amens
that flame when a blues turns bright,
++not for what was lost, but what
was lived, what is written here,
++in the night, in vinyl, in the air,
for the bead of sweat at the hair’s deckle,
++the evening star in the trees,
soda-pop sugar wild on your tongue and
++for the tongue telling Saturday night
something of Sunday morning, fluent
++as a mockingbird, and for the hand
that opens as if in praise, as if in prayer,
++asking for another to fill it there,
for the smile and for the smile of skin
++behind the ear where love might lip its name,
for you, if we may, pull back the arm
++and start the music once again.

Jake Adam York (1972-2012) was a poet from Glencoe, Alabama, whose work often focused on the civil rights movement in the American South. “Inscription for Air” was originally published in Abide, copyright 2014 by the Estate of Jake Adam York. Reproduced by permission of Southern Illinois University Press. The SFA thanks Sarah Skeen, Joe York, and Southern Illinois University Press. PHOTO BY Mike Garofalo.



It may be cliché to say, “I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas.” But, truthfully, I can’t. Once again, the holiday is upon me before I’ve had enough time to even drop a card in the mail. While I am sure you are all completely prepared, here are some options for last-minute gifts—just in case. While we practice slow design, we do have the ability to ship some items quickly. Each of these gift options have been made either here at The Factory, locally, or regionally. They are ready to be packed with care and shipped right to your door.


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UPS - SHIPPINGorder by these dates for shipping via UPS

For those of you who are searching for the perfect gift – there’s still time. Today we have Last Minute Gift ideas coming your way.

Use the map for UPS (pictured above in Carmine) and USPS (pictured below in Evergreen) to determine your last day to place your orders.

If we receive your order before 2:00pm CST on the dates listed, we will ship all in stock items from The Factory in Florence, Alabama, on the same day. Because we practice slow design, some garments and hand-made items are made-to-order and may require a production and delivery time of up to six weeks.

Give us a call if you have questions about placing an order in time for the holidays, +1.256.760.1090, or email orders (at) Monday-Friday from 8:00am – 4:30pm CST.

UPS - SHIPPINGorder by these dates for shipping via United States Postal Service



Harald Stoffers has been writing letters every day for over twenty years. Long ones. Short ones. Tall ones. Skinny ones. Some of them measure over ten feet high; others are only a few inches tall. Occasionally, he tears them apart. Most of them are addressed to his mother with the loving words, “Liebe Mutti” (Dear Mother), though he rarely sends them to her.

The substance of the letters varies from the banal activities and formalities of daily life—like what he is planning to wear the next day or the price of a cup of coffee—to personal thoughts and reflections. Most of the text is legible, but Stoffer’s process of writing and line-making sometimes obliterates what he has already written. At times the individual letters might be written so closely together that they become clouds of black ink.


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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 12.15.2014 – 12.20.2014


“We don’t beat the reaper by living longer, we beat the reaper by living well and living fully.”
– Randy Pausch

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, December 15 – Saturday, December 20:

Available for a short time at specially discounted prices, find our three brand new DIY Kits in the DIY Gift Guide.

Shop our Evergreen Collection for one-of-a-kind hand dyed garments, all available for a limited time.

We have also just added an exciting special on one of our most popular garments, the Organic Cotton Poncho. For a limited time, buy three ponchos and save 25%. Check out these and other special gift ideas in our Holiday Shop.

Give the Gift of Craftsy and save on Natalie’s Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric online class on, as well as on our Craftsy Bundle, which includes all the materials required to complete Vogue Pattern 1263 from the Donna Karan Collection.

Now is the time to sign up for our 2015 Swatch of the Month Club. Sample a variety of our techniques and designs and receive ready-to-sew organic cotton jersey, along with detailed instructions to guide you.

Stay tuned for our Last Minute Gift Guide, coming this Tuesday, December 16.

Store Hours
Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturdays, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Please note our upcoming Holiday Hours:
• We will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas day to spend time with our families and spread the holiday cheer
• We will be open with regular store hours on December 26
• On New Year’s Eve we will close at 2:00pm
• We will be closed on New Year’s Day

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 brunch at The Factory Café this, and every Saturday, and enjoy our fresh, seasonal offerings.

Join us for lunch at The Factory Café this week and enjoy our fresh, seasonal offerings.

Just in time for holiday celebrations, we now have freshly baked whole cakes available to purchase for $38 each from The Factory Café. Please give at least a 24-hour notice when placing your order.

Also, don’t forget to check out our ready-to-go items like fresh ciabatta bread, pimento cheese, and our soup of the day.

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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“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
― A.A. Milne

We’re serving up fresh biscuits with local honey for brunch today (yes, it’s 12-13-14), and every Saturday, at The Factory Café.

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

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

Call us: +1.256.760.1090 or email office (at)

P.S.: Whisper the secret code “12-13-14″ for a special café treat.



My daughter Maggie is obsessed with holiday music. For her, it’s never too early to display a wreath (hung throughout the year in her bedroom) or to enjoy a loudly sung Christmas carol. When she was only three and in nursery school, holiday songs were go-to sing alongs—just after we finished, “Here Comes Peter Cottontail,” we would begin with “Here Comes Santa Claus.”

Over the years, her tastes became more sophisticated: we listened to Etta James wail out “Winter Wonderland” on any given Memorial Day and Fiona Apple’s version of “Frosty the Snowman” on a last summer jaunt to the beach. I’m hoping to introduce her to Darlene Love’s holiday catalogue over the upcoming school holidays.

This year, she is creating her own versions—armed with almost a year of piano lessons under her belt and stacks of holiday sheet music. We will let you know how it all turns out next year.

Happy holidays from Maggie and me,
xoNatalie and Maggie



2014 has been a big year for Alabama Chanin’s Do-it-Yourself endeavors. We started the year by announcing our 2014 Swatch of the Month Club, and recently announced the new 2015 subscription for the upcoming year. In September, we launched our DIY Collection with new kit styles and stencil options. And the biggest news was the introduction of The School of Making—which oversees our workshops, Studio Style DIY, Makeshift, and all things educational in the company.

In our 2014 DIY Gift Guide, we reflect back on the year and offer savings on a selection of new and favorite kits, stencils, and many more things along the way. Find the perfect gift for the person in your life who loves to make—even if that person is you.

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The Camisole Apron is an embellished version of an apron my grandmother wore nearly every day for most of her life. It is beautiful and incredibly practical—especially for those of us that need full-coverage protection in the kitchen. This DIY kit—created from our Camisole Dress pattern from Alabama Studio Style—is available for a limited time as part of our DIY Gift Guide. The apron is fitted for a woman’s body and features a large, two-sided pocket across the front. It comes with our faded fabric as a backing layer and our Black Variegated embroidery floss; choose your outer layer and thread colors.


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