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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TRAVEL: THE SHOALS

Northwest Alabama - Amos Kennedy

As our new travel series expands, we realized that we have never laid the groundwork by adequately defining and describing the community that we call “The Shoals.” Since Alabama Chanin’s inception, love of community has been the cornerstone of our inspiration, design philosophies, and production practices. Shared stories of our region’s history, our neighbors, and our food, have inspired our work and brought visitors from afar. Reflecting on how much we talk about our home—The Shoals—I thought we should (finally) explain exactly what that term means.

“The Shoals” is a reference to the low-lying shoals of the Tennessee River in Northwest Alabama, at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, along which the cities of Florence (where The Factory is located), Sheffield, Muscle Shoals, and Tuscumbia are situated. The name “The Shoals” is also a shorter way of saying the Florence-Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Area—also known as the “Quad Cities”—which spans two counties and is home to somewhere in the neighborhood of 70,000 people. Before each city was named, the region was called the “Muscle Shoals District”; it was supposedly named such by Native Americans who found that navigating the strong current of the Tennessee River in this area almost impossible—and paddling upstream required a great deal of “muscle.”

It is believed that prehistoric Native American tribes crossed into North America during the Ice Age and followed herds of buffalo into the Northern Alabama region. This area was settled by what became the Woodland Indians (1000 BC – 900 AD) who built several ceremonial and burial mounds in the area. The largest in the area—tucked away between the local farmers co-op and the scrap metal yard—holds artifacts dating back over 10,000 years. I’ve been told that this holy site is believed by many to be part of a chain of important spiritual points in North America and has been visited by holy people of many different tribes across North and South America. Our friend Tom Hendrix’ wall is a living testament to the spiritual nature of our ancient Indian community.

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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 1.12.2015 – 1.17.2015

THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 1.12.2015 – 1.17.2015

“..I do not want art for a few; any more than education for a few; or freedom for a few… ” – William Morris

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, January 12 – Saturday, January 17:

STORE

A big THANK YOU goes out to Southern Living Magazine for including Natalie as one of the 50 People Who Are Changing the South in 2015. There are a lot of good folk on the list and we are proud to be included.

Join us on Monday, January 12, for On Design. This fourth event in our lecture and conversation series will feature a multimedia presentation by Natalie Chanin on William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement.

Our One-Day Sewing Workshop will take place in our Pop-Up Store inside the Billy Reid shop in Austin, Texas, on January 15. Work with Natalie Chanin to create a hand-sewn project from a selection of kits available as part of our Studio Book Series. There will also be discussion of the physics of sewing, reverse appliqué, garment construction, and an overview of other Alabama Chanin techniques. Register here or contact workshops (at) alabamachanin.com for more information.

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 our customer-favorite Petite Homemade Meatloaf, as well as our new Sweet Potato Risotto.

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.

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

Below is the menu for Monday, January 12; check here each day for an updated menu.

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SATURDAY BRUNCH + THE WEEK IN REVIEW

SATURDAY BRUNCH + THE WEEK IN REVIEW

Join us tomorrow, January 10th, for Saturday Brunch at The Factory Café. This week’s Brunch features a Factory Benedict loaded with scallopini pork loin, poached eggs, and Sriracha sauce, as well as pancakes made with house made honey ricotta, and served with 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 below.

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) alabamachanin.com

THE WEEK IN REVIEW
On Monday, we shared our interview with New York Time’s Bestselling Author, Emily Spivack. Spivack opened up about her childhood, her inspirations, writing process, goals for Worn Stories, and what the future holds for her. Read the interview in its entirety here.

Newsletter #24 previewed some of the exciting things on the horizon for us in 2015. New events, new products, new recipes, the addition of Saturday Brunch to The Factory Café, site changes—and more announcements to come. Join our mailing list here to stay abreast of all the goings-on.

We were intrigued by the idea of combining Italian dishes with classic Southern influences. Read our review of the cookbook, Collards and Carbonara: Southern Cooking, Italian Roots to learn more about this distinct cuisine (and take a sneak peak at a homemade gin and tonic recipe) here. We are looking forward to hosting Andy and Michael one day soon at The Factory Café.

This week, we explored the colors black and gold as pieces from our collection (and/or DIY Kits), come stenciled with new shades of Gold textile paint. Learn about some of the history of pairing black with gold and our inspiration for using it in our Journal post Inspiration: Black and Gold.

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ON DESIGN: ARTS AND CRAFTS

ON DESIGN: ARTS AND CRAFTS

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris

Join us this Monday at The Factory for the fourth conversation in our On Design Series. Last month, Natalie spoke about the history of stenciling. This week, the conversation continues with a lecture about the Arts and Crafts Movement and its irrefutable leader, designer William Morris—including examples of the movement throughout history and a study of the work of Morris himself.

Monday, January 12, 2015
10:30am – 11:30am

Alabama Chanin @ The Factory
462 Lane Drive
Florence, AL 35630

$7.00

Open-to-the-public, the cost includes admission, participation in the conversation, and a cup of The Factory blend coffee, a cold drink, or tea.

Register here for our fourth event.

P.S. Look for more information on this and other upcoming Makeshift events on our Journal and/or join our mailing list.

INSPIRATION: BLACK AND GOLD

INSPIRATION: BLACK AND GOLD

Black and Gold – in color symbolism they hint at the unknown, power, and formality alongside abundance, prosperity, and extravagance.

Black and Gold – Madonna on a Crescent Moon by an anonymous painter in Germany, commonly referred to as the Master of 1456.

Black and Gold – for some reason also makes me think of Madonna (the singer) in the 1980s (but also today).

Black and Gold – our newest blend of fabric and paint—a departure from the tone-on-tone colors seen in many of our previous collections.

When you order black (and other new) pieces from our collection (and/or DIY Kits), the items now come stenciled with shades of Gold textile paint—unless otherwise noted in the description.

P.S.: If you prefer a different color for your DIY Kit, please choose our Custom DIY option.

INSPIRATION: BLACK AND GOLD

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DIY MAGDALENA FITTED CARDIGAN

DIY MAGDALENA FITTED CARDIGAN

This Cardigan is a modified version of our Casual T-shirt Top from Alabama Studio Sewing + DesignWe’ve created the cardigan simply by cutting our t-shirt front panel down the front to create two pieces (or alternatively, you can choose not to cut the pattern on the fold). When cut this way, it creates a cardigan or cover-up from our Casual T-Shirt pattern. Produced in a double-layer, the organic cotton jersey adds warmth but not bulk.

The kit is shown here in Black and has been produced in our backstitched reverse appliqué treatment. But, this and all DIY kits can be customized for any of our embroidery techniques or embellishments. Choose your own fabric color to go with our Variegated Black embroidery floss, or you may also design your own T-Shirt Cardigan through our Custom DIY option. When purchasing this DIY kit to work as a cardigan, you may want to choose one or two sizes larger than you would normally wear, to allow for additional layering room.

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