When I returned to Alabama over a decade ago to start the project that has become Alabama Chanin, I had NO IDEA that this simple project would surround me with stories of cotton, mill work, and, quite honestly, the history of the small community where I grew up. This blog is proof to the fact that I am STILL learning – each and every day.
While researching the post about Sweetwater Mills and reading William McDonald’s books a few weeks back, I came across Rick Bragg’s book, The Most They Ever Had. As an avid reader and, quite honestly, a Rick Bragg fan, I was surprised that I’d never read this book before. I have followed his work for years: from Anniston, Alabama, to The New York Times, through all the novels, the Pulitzer, to the controversy surrounding his departure from the Times. (Full disclosure, I know some of the parties attached to The New York Times scandal and have a few thoughts on that myself – we will save that for a later day or a face-to-face conversation.)
Our latest DIY Kit is a collection of the tools and materials necessary to create your very own custom stencils. In addition, we’ve also included, as suggestions, a handful of our favorite placement options in print form. Simply select your desired print, attach it to the stencil felt using your spray adhesive, and cut away the dark areas of the print to create the stencil of your choice. Continue reading →
Thank you to our employees and artisans for their commitment to the extraordinary and thank you to everyone at Etsy for telling our story with this beautiful film. It makes us proud to share the stories that unfold each day in our growing community.
Please visit the Etsy blog to read a little more and leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design plus a DIY kit that includes everything you’ll need to sew your own Alabama Chanin garment.
Our studio has been somewhat sorghum obsessed lately, so I thought this would be the perfect time to use this southern treat to create a variation on the everyday latte. I love enjoying a simple coffee on a day-to-day basis, but sometimes it’s nice to spice things up a bit with ingredients that feel near and dear to my southern roots and make me feel warm and cozy inside. While spring has certainly sprung here, I know that a lot of cities just a bit north of us are still covered in snow and need to indulge in something to make the heart feel warm. Continue reading →
At the Factory, we play music to help set an inspiring tone for our work environment, and sometimes to just get us through the day. At any given time, you will hear a range of genres including folk, classical, rock, country, and independent artists. We don’t usually pick favorites, but The Civil Wars’ sounds are often heard floating through the shelves of organic fabric in the studio.
Joy Williams and John Paul White’s soothing and harmonic melodies have provided the soundtrack to many FULL workdays. The songs are sometimes bluesy, sometimes haunting, and always powerful. Their voices simply sound natural and right together. Perhaps we’re partial to them—not only because of their poetic music—but also because they are rooted in the Shoals; The Civil Wars are a vital part of our artistic community. But, we also feel connected to the band because of their approach to making, or “crafting” music.
Over the last weeks (and months), we have been introducing our new patterns, stencils, fabric designs, plus patterns from our newest book, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. Hands-down, our Paisley has been a favorite new design and I was excited to see that EcoSalon even did a feature on this iconic pattern last week. As we just finished a round of world-wide fashion weeks, we witnessed the classic paisley in some new interpretations.
I feel so honored and happy to introduce Jessamyn Hatcher as a new contributor to this blog (soon we will add a face to the name). Jessamyn has been a source of inspiration for me as I continue to learn how to frame the work that is so easy for me to DO, but so difficult for me to EXPLAIN in words. My conversations with Jessamyn have taken place across several states, drinks, emails, and phone calls. I am so excited to expand upon those in-depth conversations here with you—beginning today. Please show a big, hearty, and embracing welcome to Jessamyn—our newest contributor and a part of the growing heart and soul of Alabama Chanin. Continue reading →
Next Thursday, as part of Nashville Fashion Week, I will participate in an educational panel discussing production issues in fashion. The panels and events for the day have been thoughtfully curated by Nashville Fashion Week and Imogene + Willie.
Visit Imogene + Willie’s blog to learn more about the origin of the educational panels.
PRODUCING THE GOODS
The production process and what it takes to source, sew and manufacture fashion in the United States. An emphasis will be placed on the importance of and challenges to keeping production in this country.
WHAT MAKES A BRAND?
The focus, hard work, and thought required to define, build and market a fashion brand. Special emphasis will be placed on the importance of social media and issues concerning propriety.
SOUTHERN FASHION NOW
An exploration of trends, characteristics, and the national and international affect of modern Southern design and designers.
Kristina’s Rose is one of our newest fabric designs and stencil patterns, seen in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. The undulating circular pattern is reminiscent of the Circle Spiral Applique from page 156 of Alabama Studio Style, but translated using more elegant techniques.
Highlighted in Chapter 8 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.: Fabric + Fabric Maps, the Kristina’s Rose fabric (page 126) uses the folded stripe appliqué technique from page 108 of Chapter 7 in combination with the stripe with beaded chain stitch on page 105, and the beaded rosebud stitch from page 79 of Chapter 5 – all worked in loose, undulating circles.
As a child, I ate molasses these ways: drizzled over my biscuits at my grandmother’s table, in Shoofly Pie, barbeque sauce, and baked in fresh gingerbread. As an adult, I’m beginning to notice plenty of restaurants adding this sugar cane syrup to their dishes in glazes and sauces, salad dressings, and many delicious cocktails. I have eaten molasses-rubbed pork tenderloin, a tuna sashimi with pomegranate molasses, and at Blackberry Farm, I had a to-die-for cocktail sweetened with molasses.
Molasses is making a comeback. Like beer, there are modern versions that might be considered “craft” molasses. Today’s molasses is more than a sweet syrup – it’s also a presence in the re-emergence of handmade, small, traditional, and local goods. Continue reading →