IN PROCESS: BUILDING 14 FINISHINGS LIBRARY

IN PROCESS: BUILDING 14 FINISHINGS LIBRARY

When we first opened our Building 14 division in July of 2013, we learned quickly that there was still SO MUCH to learn. So, with the concept of The School of Making firmly in place, we began at the beginning to work on a set of finishing examples for our Building 14 machine-made division. Like our Alabama Chanin Library of hand-embellished fabric swatches, this library documents the capabilities of the machines, folders, and attachments we have available in the factory and the endless variations and combinations that create everything from collars to hems and in between.

In 2015, and as we fold our MAKESHIFT programming into The School of Making, we foresee many more conversations about design, fashion, DIY, and community. And, of course, we will continue sharing the evolution of our manufacturing systems—including this new sort of maker’s library—to explore their part in the larger making process.

IN PROCESS: BUILDING 14 FINISHINGS LIBRARY

Photos from Abraham RoweAngie Mosier, and Rinne Allen

#makeshift2015

IN PROCESS: BUILDING 14 FINISHINGS LIBRARY

HOMEMADE BITTERS (REVISITED)

HOMEMADE BITTERS (REVISITED)

In December of 2011, we started playing with bitters. Today, we explore how craft meets cocktail with Jesse Goldstein. Read on to learn how to make variations of your own of cocktail bitters and how to use this relatively simple ingredient to add complex layers to your own drinks:

It was in 1806 when the word “cocktail” was first defined in print. The Balance and Columbian Repository of Hudson, NY classified it simply as “a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.” Fellow cocktail enthusiasts may recognize this description as what we would call an Old Fashioned today; but it’s that last, often misunderstood, ingredient listed the lineup that has fascinated me for many years.

The term “bitters” typically refers to alcohol infused with a variety of botanical ingredients resulting in a somewhat bitter or bittersweet taste. There are really two classifications of bitters: digestive bitters like Campari are sipped neat or on the rocks after a meal; concentrated tinctures of cocktail bitters (often referred to as aromatic or potable bitters) like Angostura are used in drops and dashes in many classic and modern craft cocktails. I’ve often referred to bitters as the “salt and pepper” of cocktails, providing amazing depth and flavor that you can’t get from basic booze ingredients alone. But the more I looked into bitters, the more fascinated I became with their history, their variety and, eventually, the process of making them myself.

Though modern Americans are only recently regaining an appreciation of bitterness, our ancestors once embraced the taste of bitter flavors. Bitters were originally developed for medicinal purposes, with a history traced as far back as ancient Egypt. The proliferation of distilled spirits and an obsession with pharmacology led to even more concentrated varieties in the Middle Ages. The use of bitters for ailments continued for generations, often used as preventative medicine for everything from seasickness to heartburn.

Bolstered by the renaissance of craft cocktails, bitters have been gaining steam amongst cocktail connoisseurs for the past few years. The old standbys of Angostura and Peychaud’s have been joined by companies like Hella Bitters, Scrappy Bitters, and The Bitter Truth popping up all over the country—reimagining bitters in small batches with flavors created specifically for cocktails. These purveyors are joining classic bittering ingredients of gentian, quassia bark, dandelion, or wormwood with ingredients more commonly found in your kitchen spice cabinet. But these craft bitters are not cheap, often fetching more than $10 for a single ounce.

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A. CHANIN INDIGO: LONG SLEEVE CARDIGAN

A.-Chanin-Long-Sleeve-Cardigan

Part of our A. Chanin collection, the A. Chanin Long Sleeve Cardigan is a must-have piece for cooler weather. Constructed of lightweight cotton rib, the casual cover up is machine sewn and hand dyed here at The Factory.

The Cardigan features raw edge detailing along the placket and hits at the natural waist—accentuating curves. Measures approximately 17 inches from shoulder and is hand dyed to order in Dark Indigo.

Like our other A. Chanin basics, the Long Sleeve Cardigan integrates beautifully with Alabama Chanin garments—layer over the Panel Tunic for a feminine silhouette, or pair with the Daisy Long Skirt to create a classic look.

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MLK DAY, SELMA, + SONGS OF FREEDOM

MLK DAY, SELMA, + SONGS OF FREEDOM

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and we are honoring his legacy and observing the holiday through service to our community. In the past few weeks, the Civil Rights Movement along with the work of Dr. King has received much media attention, due in part to the film Selma. The film, directed by Ava DuVernay, tells the story of how the Voting Rights Act of 1965 came to be and chronicles the events leading up to its monumental passing.

There were three marches that took place in March of 1965—the first is referred to as “Bloody Sunday” due to brutal attacks on the marchers, and the second march was cut short, as Dr. King felt the marchers needed protection by a federal court to prevent further violence. On March 21, 1965 the third march began—this time with the protection of the Army, Alabama National Guard, FBI Agents, and Federal Marshalls. The marchers arrived in Montgomery, at the State Capitol building, on March 25. The route taken from Selma to Montgomery is now a U.S. National Historic Trail.

MLK DAY, SELMA, + SONGS OF FREEDOM

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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 1.19.2015 – 1.24.2015

THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 1.19.2015 – 1.24.2015

“Just when you think life is a bitch, it has puppies.” – Lois Battle, The Florabama Ladies’ Auxiliary and Sewing Circle

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, January 19 – Saturday, January 24:

STORE
Join us today, January 19, for Third Mondays @ The Factory. Spend your morning working on your latest project in the company of fellow sewers. Share inspiration, encouragement, and fellowship. Coffee, tea, and light breakfast with be available for purchase from The Factory Café. Please bring your own fabric and sewing notions.

Monday, January 19, 2015
8:30am – 11:30am

The Factory
462 Lane Drive
Florence, AL, 35630

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 our fresh, seasonal offerings. This week features items like customer favorite Open-Faced Meatloaf Sandwich, as well as our Lentil and Wild Rice Salad.

Whether stopping by to shop, eat lunch, or take the afternoon tour, don’t forget to bring home our egg salad, pimento cheese, and/or soup of the day. We also bake fresh ciabatta bread every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and have bread available daily for $6 per loaf.

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 – Friday, 11:00am – 2:00pm; Saturday, 11:00am – 2:00pm
*Lunch service begins at 11:00am, but coffee and snacks are available all day.

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SATURDAY BRUNCH + THE WEEK IN REVIEW

SATURDAY BRUNCH + THE WEEK IN REVIEW

Join us tomorrow, January 17, for Saturday Brunch at The Factory Café. This week’s Brunch features a Factory Benedict loaded with pork paillard, poached eggs, and sriracha hollandaise sauce, as well as ricotta pancakes with house made honey ricotta, Amish butter, and maple syrup.

As always, we will have a selection of seasonal choices that highlight products from local and regional farms and purveyors.

View our Saturday menu here or check below.

Saturday Store Hours: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Café Hours: 11:00am – 2:00pm

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

Call us: +1.256.760.1090 or email office (at) alabamachanin.com

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NEW YEAR | NEW WEBSITE

NEW YEAR | NEW WEBSITE

Since its inception in 2006, Alabama Chanin has evolved into a multi-fold lifestyle company with guiding principles of thoughtful design, responsible production, good business, and quality that lasts. What began with our handmade collection now includes multiple lines like our Essentials and Basics, and the A. Chanin machine-made line. Alabama Chanin also houses new and ever-expanding divisions within our company: The School of Making, The Factory Store, and also, the Café.

NEW YEAR | NEW WEBSITE

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MERCHANT & MILLS: THE DRESS SHIRT PATTERN

MERCHANT & MILLS: THE DRESS SHIRT PATTERN

In our ongoing Makeshift conversation on design, craft, food, DIY, and fashion—and how they intersect—we continue to adapt open-source patterns from other designers and brands using Alabama Chanin techniques. This experiment demonstrates how open-sourced materials and collaborative works can be used in any number of ways and tailored to almost any personal style.

For this entry in the series, we have chosen to work with a pattern from Merchant & Mills, a popular UK-based company created by Carolyn Denham and Roderick Field, formed, in their words, “to elevate sewing to its proper place in the creative world, respecting the craftsmanship it entails.” That is certainly a philosophy in line with Alabama Chanin’s mission and Makeshift’s goals.

Merchant & Mills has an interesting selection of patterns to offer. UK sizes differ a bit from US numbered sizes, but the website has clear size charts that can help you select the right pattern size for your body. But keep in mind that their patterns are priced in pounds, not US dollars; you should also take into account shipping costs when shopping. Alternatively, there are quite a few stockists in the US with ready links available here.

In order to highlight the simple beauty of this Dress Shirt, we have opted to make a basic version. Of course, you can choose to utilize any of the techniques from our previous posts or our Swatch of the Month Club to embellish your project. We’ve found that the loose fit and shape of the pattern makes it an easy pull-on garment when paired with our stretchable cotton jersey, and this piece looks great with The Every Day Long Skirt or the Bloomers Swing Skirt and Stripe Tall Socks.

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TRAVEL: TROWBRIDGE’S

TRAVEL: TROWBRIDGE'S

I’d wager that every native, and recent guest, to The Shoals would urge future visitors to set aside time for lunch at Trowbridge’s Ice Cream Parlor and Sandwich Shop. The universally beloved local eatery is a backdrop for so many of our memories, and it has managed to serve up simple, delicious food for decades, while keeping its unpretentious charm. The green awning and the window advertising “Sandwiches, Ice Cream, Sundaes” are as iconic to residents as any official logo or state seal.

The little shop was opened in 1918 by Paul Trowbridge and is still run by his grandson. The story (as it was told to me) says that in 1917, Mr. Trowbridge was traveling to North Carolina for a dairy convention and stopped in Florence on the way. He loved the lush area and the town enough to move his family from Texas to Florence and opened Trowbridge’s shortly thereafter.

TRAVEL: TROWBRIDGE'S

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THE SCHOOL OF MAKING: WORKSHOPS 2015

THE SCHOOL OF MAKING: WORKSHOPS 2015

Docendo discimus — “by teaching, we learn”
–Seneca the Younger

As we slide into 2015, we invite you to join us for one (or more) of our Workshops offered through The School of Making. As a company, Alabama Chanin believes strongly in the ideas of sharing, collaborating, exploring, educating, learning by doing, and—in the process—creating a community; our hope is that our work will produce a happy work environment, happy people, happy products, and a happier Mother Nature.

As Alabama Chanin and The School of Making continue to grow, so do our Workshops. Over the coming months we have a variety of Workshops scheduled and more to be added. We will have events lasting a week, a weekend, one-day, one-hour, and two-hours; some events will be held at The Factory, with other events in Tennessee, Texas, Illinois, New York, California, and beyond.

Here is an overview of the events we have planned. Come one, come all; come to one, come to all.

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