About four years ago (to my dismay), Diane Hall, our head seamstress and studio directress, turned in her five-year notice. However, as her retirement grows closer, it has become evident to all of us at the studio that we will continue to see her around The Factory after her “official” retirement.
Diane has developed a passion for natural dyeing—in addition to sewing, pattern making, etc. She first encountered natural dyeing with indigo during our workshop at Shakerag in 2012. Her experience there with the renowned dyer Michel Garcia left a lasting impression. Last summer, while our entire company was writing a 10 year vision, Diane wrote that she envisioned a natural dye house here at The Factory and volunteered herself as the head dye master after her retirement.
After that simple act of writing our vision, the dye house miraculously began to take shape.
The Alabama Chanin Panel Tank is one of the most popular and versatile pieces from our current collection. The pull-on tank is flattering for all body types as it provides a secure fit at the bust and flares at the waist. This shape flatters and floats easily along natural curves, but can also create a curvier look for those with a naturally straight silhouette.
The top measures 26” from shoulder to hem. Select from medium-weight or lightweight cotton jersey fabric (shown here in medium-weight Natural). Pair it with our Magdalena Wrap Skirt – or layer it underneath a corset for added length and coverage. The Panel Tank will quickly make its way into regular rotation in your everyday wardrobe.
Introducing the newest addition to our machine-made A. Chanin line—the Long Sleeve Scoop Neck Top. Made from our 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey, this casual top features a scooped neckline in the front, drawing focus to the collarbone and shoulders.
Each month, we feature a favorite Alabama Chanin embroidery technique as part of our Swatch of the Month Club. Additionally, we offer suggestions as to how you might put your completed swatches to use. Past month’s project offerings have included the DIY Clutch, DIY Book Covers, and DIY Swatch Pillows. This month – with 6 completed swatches to utilize – we offer instructions on how to construct a Tied Wrap. Our wrap uses our completed swatches from January through June; each reworked using a White/Natural colorway.
6 completed Swatch of the Month panels (or 6 – 10” x 16” cotton jersey fabric swatches of your choice)
1 – 20” x 48” rectangle of cotton jersey fabric, for optional backing layer
2 cotton jersey ropes 18” long (see page 8 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design)
Basic sewing supplies: scissors, needles, thread, pins, and Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, which includes all necessary instructions for completing swatches and Tied Wrap.
The Collared V-Neck Shell Top is a new style for our Basics collection. It has a feminine silhouette that draws focus to the collarbone, without being too revealing. The top pulls on over your head and flares slightly from the waist. You have the option of selecting either our medium-weight or lightweight cotton jersey fabric for your garment (shown here in lightweight Nude). The top allows for a comfortable fit with a focus on feminine structure while the collar adds a bit of softness at the neckline.
The top measures 26” from the shoulder to the bottom hem. Pair it with jeans for a casual look, or with our Basic Wrap Skirt or one of our Full Wrap Skirts – like the Whispering Rose Full Wrap Skirt – for an elegant, curvaceous silhouette.
This is the time of year to celebrate the men in our lives: fathers, husbands, partners, sons, and brothers who have been there through it all, and continue to support us through thick and thin. This year we’ve selected a few favorite Father’s Day gifts which will be discounted from our online store through Friday, June 13.
The Thursday before Father’s Day, we are hosting our inaugural “Friends of the Café” Dinner Series benefiting Alabama Gulf Seafood. The dinner features James Beard award-winning chef (and father) Chris Hastings who will prepare a three-course meal, followed by a book-signing. Buy a ticket for dad (and yourself) and visit us at The Factory in Florence. Be sure to get a copy of Hot and Hot Fish Club).
If you can’t make the trip to Florence, you can always make something special or give something handmade; we have a selection to help celebrate the dad who deserves the best.
Sass Brown’s ReFashioned: Cutting Edge Clothing From Upcycled Materials, is the second in a series focusing on the eco-fashion movement. Previously, in Eco Fashion, she examined designers and labels (including Alabama Chanin) practicing sustainability in the fashion industry. In ReFashioned, she features 46 international designers who create using recycled and upcycled textiles. The result is a stunning volume of forward-thinking design that also opens a discussion on the current state of fashion and its many wasteful practices.
Sass is one of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful voices in the eco-fashion movement. She considers herself a fashion activist, writing, “As a designer and writer, I like to tell the stories around our clothes, to help revive our material connection to our clothing.” She says, “It became equally important for me to reveal the hidden price tag of fast fashion, as a means to promote conscious consumerism.”
We are excited to introduce our newest machine-sewn piece—the A. Chanin Racerback Tunic. This casual top is the perfect addition to your summer wardrobe. The tunic can be worn alone (for those wanting to show off shoulders and summer skin), paired with leggings or a skirt, or can be layered underneath cardigans, blazers, or vests.
The 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey top has a fitted bust and a bit of a flare starting at the waist, which is both comfortable and forgiving. It measures 29” from shoulder and features a T-shaped back behind the shoulder blades and side vents at the hem.
Stay tuned as we continue to add even more garments from our machine-made line, further embracing our company’s commitment to sustainability, and local, hometown manufacturing. You will love the beauty, simplicity, and durability of our A. Chanin garments, designed to fit exquisitely and last a lifetime.
MAKESHIFT began three years ago as a conversation about the intersection of the disciplines of design, craft, art, fashion, and DIY—and, on a bigger level, using this intersection as an agent of change in the world. Since then, we’ve explored making as individuals, and how making as a group can open conversations and build communities.
For MAKESHIFT 2014, we have once again partnered with Standard Talks in New York to host the conversation, and will cover a range of topics, including raw materials, craft, fashion, global communities, food, and the act of making. 2014 James Beard award-winning chef Ashley Christensen will also participate in the discussion, helping answer the question: What can design learn from food?
“Don’t throw anything away. Away is not far from you.”
The quote above hangs in our studio as a reminder that each action we take (no matter how big or small) impacts our environment. Designed by our friend Robert Rausch a few years ago, the simple quote was stamped on an event invite as a means to provoke thought about what people use and, consequently, throw away each day. At Alabama Chanin, we are taking strides to become a zero waste company—where the results of one production process become the fuel for another. It is our continuing goal to maintain a well-rounded, (w)holistic company that revolves around a central theme: sustainability of culture, environment, and community.
Not only do we reuse and recycle each scrap of fabric, but we also participate in other sustainable and environmental practices on a daily basis. We recycle paper and cardboard, collect and save glass in the café, compost all food waste, repurpose scrap paper, plant trees, and are even starting a garden at The Factory. Waste not, want not.