MADE BY JUNE

As someone who is usually short on time and always short on patience, I am a master of safety pin alterations. I’ve sewn myself into something more than once, used a glue gun to make a handbag, and embraced unfinished hems with unbridled enthusiasm. Although I enjoy the process of making, most of my handy work would never survive the wash. In a handful of embarrassing moments, it hasn’t survived the evening.

It wasn’t until I joined the ranks of Alabama Chanin and attended my first workshop that I actually made something that had the potential to last. I chose a DIY Swing Skirt in a beautiful shade of green, with our bloomers pattern stenciled just around the edges.  I wielded a needle and thread to the best of my ability and actually managed to finish the skirt by the end of the day. Even though the front seam is a little crooked, it remains in heavy wardrobe rotation and has survived the wash many, many times.

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DIY FACETS SWING SKIRT

A variation on our classic DIY Swing Skirt, our new Facets Swing Skirt is 6″ longer, has all-over embroidery and reverse applique in the facets stenciling. Choose your own fabric and thread colors and we will cut to your size specifications. Follow the instructions for reverse applique and construction from Alabama Stitch Book to make your very own.

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DECORATE – DECOR8

How lovely to spend time this weekend just sitting, reading, and dreaming. A sun drenched afternoon, tea, time with Holly Becker’s new book Decorate leaves me inspired. Every so often a book seems to speak directly to our sensibilities, and I can’t help but feel that Decorate was somehow made for me (and I am not alone). Guidance for highlighting design and architectural details, while using a predominately white pallet- yes please.

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PREPPY: CULTIVATING IVY STYLE

Preppy, the latest collaboration between Jeffrey Banks and Doria La Chapelle, arrived in our studio this week.  The lovely volume documents the evolution of this iconic style with images from the early 1900′s to my favorite Slim Aarons to the current Hilfiger campaign (shown above). The book is not a manual, but rather a brief historic overview of the iconic style. Its strength relies on beautifully curated photographs to illustrate the subtle changes of the trend over  the time.

Perhaps because the style hit its heyday in my youth or simply because I love the color combinations, I find the volume completely stunning. During my teenage years in Chattanooga, Tennessee, our school uniforms were strangely similar to the picture below.

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ALABAMA CHANIN + LOWCOUNTRY

Thank you to Kate for this lovely email that came in today:

“Also – I finished my dress.  (That I started at the March weekend workshop!)  I love it… it took me nine months to make it and I kind of feel like I gave birth to it!  I am so proud.  It fits perfectly.  I haven’t taken any proper photos yet, but will do.  Here’s one from my sister’s iPhone and a far-away shot on my blog. The dress’s debut was at a farm dinner!”

We are working with Kate on a workshop in Charleston, South Carolina for Fall 2012.  Can’t wait for my first Lowcountry Feast!

P.S. Notice how Katharine’s dress has the same pattern as my long skirt – taken at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on a recent trip.

P.S.S Kate’s trip to Burning Man and a pair of Alabama Chanin shorts coming soon!

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

For those of you have participated in our past weekend workshops, there is a good chance that you have already met June Flowers. (The name belies the tattooed fireball of a woman in our studio who is equally adept with computers, flower arranging, and power washing.) If you’ve signed up for an upcoming workshop then you’ve probably exchanged a few emails with her; if you’re hosting a workshop or providing the space for one of our events, you’ve probably exchanged 50+ emails, including pictures of kids, dogs, and favorite garments.

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PERFECT FIT

More than any other time of year, the start of fall brings with it incredible rushes of nostalgia. The first chill usually arrives with distant memories, put away with last year’s winter coats.This light-weight piece is the first thing I reach for to welcome the returning season. Our Tied Wrap employs the simplest of designs. Rectangular layers of jersey drape across the shoulders and tie behind your back. The result? A tailored fit no matter your size. Fold it over for a beautiful muffler when the weather gets colder.

FRESH GINGER LAYER CAKE

Autumn is definitely in the air – even here in Alabama. With autumn, comes a selection of spicier, richer deserts for all the upcoming festivals and celebrations. I adore fresh ginger: the color, the smell, to drink ginger tea and to eat ginger candy.  Our local Ginger Ale – Buffalo Rock – is beautifully hot (very hot), spicy, and hands-down my favorite Ginger Ale.

Get your ginger fix with this great new recipe – the latest in our stenciling series combining cooking with our Bloomers Stencil from Alabama Stitch Book:

FRESH GINGER + BLOOMERS LAYER CAKE

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THE HEART: DIANE HALL

When introducing guests to our office staff, I always have to stop and take a breath at Diane Hall.  Over the years, she has just become so much to me and to all of our staff.  Like Steven, she has held just about every imaginable job and done or touched just about every task we have in the entire studio – except for accounting. Her current title is Studio Directress, a term that I love since her heart and soul are at the very center of our studio; however, her usual introduction goes like this: “Please meet Diane, our Studio Directress, master seamstress, patternmaker, friend, mother, sister, and company ethicist.” Diane is the person that I always consult when I have a question on ethics. Her kind heart and fair spirit can always see straight through a situation and can usually find an equitable solution for everyone involved.  She is the sort of person that summons kindness in all of those around her.

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