Organic cotton is the heart of Alabama Chanin. It binds all aspects of the company: sustainability, fashion, DIY, and craft. All of our garments- couture or DIY- are made with these naturally grown fibers. We have examined the influence cotton has had on our community. We have thought about its global impact. We have voiced our concerns.
I have spent countless hours contemplating major business decisions because I feel it is vital to my own ethical truths and the philosophy of our company to buy and sell only organic cotton. But, we have our own supply chain issues that affect commitment to organic cotton (more to come on this very soon). Continue reading
Whether you plan to purchase a DIY KIT or make a garment from the Alabama Studio Book Series, we suggest that you keep a set of our medium-weight organic cotton color cards on hand. The cards show you what our fabric colors look like in person so that you can choose the exact shades that are right for your projects. They also make it easier to choose corresponding thread, notions, and bead colors.
I keep a set of color cards for inspiration and to mix and match my materials before starting a design project. With 50 colors of organic cotton jersey and special jacquard fabrics to choose from even the most seasoned designer can benefit from a visual aide.
For those of you who haven’t yet discovered, Alabama Chanin is now on Pinterest. And for those who haven’t begun exploring Pinterest, consider yourself warned – hours slip by in the blink of an eye. Pinterest is not a site for those short on time or attention spans.
For our weekly Studio Lunch, my son Zach prepared a savory Grilled Vegetable + White Cheddar Quiche with cherry tomatoes. In a move that delighted me, he delivered it to the studio and included a heaping salad of fresh greens- Butterhead lettuce, Red Oakleaf, and arugula- all from Jack-o-Lantern Farms, one of our local farmers’ markets. For the salad, he also made strawberry-balsamic vinaigrette, with which I (for certain) over saturated my greens.
Quiche is one of my all-time favorite dishes. It can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner depending on your choice of ingredients. Continue reading
Fabric designs are the basis of all our collections at Alabama Chanin. Each design starts as a simple 10” x 16” rectangle of our organic cotton jersey that is embellished using a variety of techniques and manipulations that may include stenciling, embroidery, beading, and/or appliqué.
My decision to use a 10” x 16” rectangle was based on the mere fact that we can easily obtain 3-ring binders to store and display swatches this size. These binders also provide us a simple way to organize our designs by color, season, and/or pattern.
It is no secret that I feel a commitment to my community; it is equally evident the role that growing up in Florence, Alabama, had on my development as a designer. Textiles – the growing, picking, spinning, knitting, cutting, and sewing – were a part of the vernacular of small southern towns from the late 1800s until the signing of NAFTA. My community has been no different.
This textile history is present in our studio today and we are surrounded by friends, colleagues, and families who have worked textiles, their parents worked textiles, and their grandparents worked textiles. My great grandmother “worked socks” at the Sweetwater Mill in East Florence. Continue reading
As I flip through the pages of this gorgeous book, I am captured by the beauty and magnitude of the universe. It makes me feel small.
However, I know in my heart that the work that we are doing makes a difference. I am grateful that through the workshops and lectures, we are able to travel and share our stories and ideas.
More importantly, we meet so many people who teach us. Because of the book series, website, and this blog we are able to share that wealth of knowledge and to connect across the globe. Maybe we are not so small.
As Einstein said, in so many words, “It’s all relative.”
In conjunction with our Star stencil post today for DIY Thursday, we are featuring our Satin Stars fabric from page 129 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design as our March Desktop of the Month.
This hi-resolution photograph, for use as your computer desktop background, is now available to download from our Resource Downloads page.
The word “star,” with its many meanings, occupies several places in my mind (and the universe):
First, a star is simply a shape- the most common being five-pointed. As I was taught in geometry class, it is constructed from points, proportions, and folds. Seen in patriotic prints of the 1960s and 70s, its contour was fitting with the bold, geometric patterns of the time. Fifty of these shapes are on the American flag, each representing a state and the collection of stars symbolizing our country as a whole.
While designing and constructing quilts, I’ve learned that a quilt’s geometry is systematic. Sewing together the triangular and diamond-shaped puzzle pieces to make each polygon requires great planning and thought. This geometry is apparent in our Indigo Star Quilt, and in the repeated shapes of the Flag Quilt.
Meet Kristy – friend, caterer for our Weekend Workshops @ The Factory, and the newest contributor to this blog. I love the symbiotic relationship between the ferns and the mushrooms – along with Kristy’s recipe. Enjoy!
On a visit to the Florence/Lauderdale County Farmers’ Market last fall, I was taken by the beautiful shiitake mushrooms offered by one of the vendors. ”These are grown locally? Wow!“ was my initial thought, and that was before I tasted them. The mushrooms were not only beautiful, but deliciously earthy and some of the tastiest I’ve ever tried.