ON DESIGN: WILLIAM MORRIS + ARTS AND CRAFTS

ALABAMA CHANIN – ON DESIGN: WILLIAM MORRIS + ARTS AND CRAFTS

Last fall, as an extension of our Makeshift initiative, we began a new series of events and conversations called On Design. The series explores art, design, makers, relationships, and the elevation of craft. Our conversation in January explored William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement. Here are some of Natalie’s thoughts from the presentation. Feel free to share your own thoughts and join the conversation.

From Natalie:

When I started the company that Alabama Chanin has become today, I had a vision for what I wanted to accomplish. At the time, I wouldn’t have identified that vision as a business model—but as the company expanded, I understood that I wanted to design and grow the business in a sustainable way. In a world of fast fashion, mass production, and machines, I wanted to design slowly and thoughtfully. I also wanted to promote skills that seemed to be vanishing, particularly hand-sewing skills—like those used by quilters.

ALABAMA CHANIN – ON DESIGN: WILLIAM MORRIS + ARTS AND CRAFTS

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THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 6.29.2015 – 7.4.2015

THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 6.29.2015 – 7.4.2015

“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits.” – Thomas Jefferson

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, June 29 – Saturday, July 4:

STORE
In celebration of Independence Day, stop by The Factory Store and pick up an organic cotton jersey American Flag Quilt (or make one of your own).

Please keep in mind that in observance of Independence Day, The Factory Store + Café, the Alabama Chanin offices, and our production studio will be closed Friday, July 3 – Saturday, July 4.

Join us again on Monday, July 6 for a morning filled with sewing, coffee, and inspiration at First Mondays. Please bring your own fabric and notions.

STORE HOURS
Monday – Thursday, 9:00am – 5:00pm

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 a new menu every day. This week’s menu features our popular White BBQ Chicken Sandwich as well as our Fatback Italian Sandwich which is made using ethically-raised pork from The Fatback Pig Project.

Be sure to join us on Saturdays for Brunch featuring seasonal choices that highlight products from local and regional farms and purveyors.

Also don’t forget to take a look in our cooler—stocked with homemade ready-to-go items like our customer-favorite pimento cheese.

We offer freshly baked whole cakes as well. Our cakes are made from scratch, fresh from the oven. 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 – Thursday, 11:00am – 2:00pm
*Lunch service begins at 11:00am but coffee and snacks are available all day.

 SMALL PLATES

Four Deviled Eggs
made with locally-sourced, farm-fresh eggs 4.95
(V) + (GF)

Soup of the Day
served with toast 7.50

Magpie + Ruth’s Pimento Cheese Sandwich
served open-faced 7.45
(V)

Grilled Cheese Sandwich 4.95
(V)

SAVORY

The Factory Quiche of the Day
made with a selection of locally sourced ingredients, topped with a homemade puff pastry,
served with sautéed greens and a side of The Factory Salad 10.95
(GF) option

Roasted Vegetable Sandwich
made with roasted red peppers, roasted squash, roasted spring onions,
and sorghum-glazed carrots, with an oregano ricotta cheese spread,
served with your choice of chips 7.95
(V)

Fatback Italian Sandwich
prosciutto, smoked ham, and spicy bacon jam, with roasted red peppers on house made ciabatta, with whole grain mustard aioli and an herb vinaigrette,
served with your choice of chips 8.95

White BBQ Chicken Sandwich
made with roasted chicken, white BBQ sauce, and seasoned greens,
served on house made ciabatta bread with your choice of chips 8.95

SWEET

Crêpes
made with a fresh cream cheese filling, topped with a plum basil sauce 4.25

Chocolate Cake 4.25

Three Chocolate Chip Cookies 2.95
(Cookies are made to order; please allow 12 minutes.)

SIDES
Two Deviled Eggs 2.45
(V)

Side of The Factory Salad 3.95
(V) + (GF) + (P) option

Cup of Soup with toast 4.50
(P) option + (GF) option

Vegetable of the Day 3.25
(V) + (GF)

Route 11 Potato Chips 1.50
(V) + (GF)

Half Magpie + Ruth’s Pimento Cheese Sandwich 3.95
(V)

Half Grilled Cheese Sandwich 2.95
(V)

DAILY PLATE

Choose three of the sides listed above,
served with your choice of tea or coffee 10.95

We proudly serve organic and locally sourced vegetables and all-natural, hormone-free meats
from Bluewater Creek Farm, Anson Mills, The Fatback Pig Project, Cottonwood FarmJack-o-Lantern Farm, and other purveyors.

Please note: ingredients are subject to local availability; some dishes may become unavailable during our daily lunch service.

Enjoy your lunch on exclusive Alabama Chanin @ Heath Ceramics dinnerware

MENU KEY

Gluten Free: items marked with this symbol (GF) are appropriate for those who choose to avoid gluten. If you have a gluten allergy, please let us know and we will take special precautions to avoid cross contamination.

Vegetarian: Dishes marked with this symbol (V) are made without meat, fish, or fowl.

Natalie’s Clean Detox: Menu selections marked with this symbol (NC) follow our 2015 clean diet detox program (see additional information) and include no beef, pork, eggs, dairy, gluten, or processed sugar. To the greatest possible extent, these dishes are made with whole foods and unrefined ingredients that are unprocessed or minimally processed.

Paleo Diet: Menu items marked with this symbol (P) are designed to be high in protein and fiber, low in carbohydrates and sodium and, to the greatest possible extent, free from refined sugar and dairy.

Photo above from our DIY Stars Tunic kit that launched last summer.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: BEADED FACETS COAT

ALABAMA CHANIN – FROM THE ARCHIVES: BEADED FACETS COAT

This week, we take another look at the lives our clothes have led and the memories forever linked with them. For some reason, we associate memories with objects—or in this case, clothing. Every time I look inside, I think that my closet is, in a small way, some sort of prism through which I see the world.

Project Alabama Garment #17821
Built in September 2005
Pattern:  A-359 Long Coat
Stencil: Facets
Fabric: 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Outer layer color: Sapphire
Backing layer color: Black
Thread: Navy
Beads: Black bugle and chop
Sequins: Gun Metal
Seams: Inside felled
Knots: Inside
Size: Medium
Owner: Natalie Chanin

The Beaded Facets Coat was originally created for the Project Alabama Spring/Summer 2006 Collection, as you can see in the picture above left. It was presented in the first and only runway show we ever produced (thank you Gail Dizon, Jennifer Venditti, Lori Goldstein, Jake Xerxes Fussell, Ruby Jane, and to UPS—who sponsored the show). I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that show made the cover of Women’s Wear Daily the next morning. I had to look three times to realize that it was actually the cover and not from the interior of the magazine. There were eventually 14 of these coats produced in both the Amber and Sapphire colorways shown above for Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Jeffrey Atlanta, and a few special clients.

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MERCHANT & MILLS: THE FACTORY DRESS PATTERN

ALABAMA CHANIN – MERCHANT & MILLS: THE FACTORY DRESS PATTERN

In January, we added to our ongoing Makeshift series, adapting available garment patterns using Alabama Chanin techniques with a Merchant & Mills pattern for the Shirt Dress. This month, we’ve created another Merchant & Mills garment in our own style—an Alabama Chanin version of the Factory Dress (love the name). This piece is shown here without embellishment to highlight the simple design, but you can choose to utilize any of the techniques from our previous posts or our Swatch of the Month Club to embellish your project

Keep in mind that Merchant & Mills is a UK-based design house and that UK sizes differ a bit from US numbered sizes. Their website has clear size charts that can help you select the right pattern size for your body. Also note that their patterns are priced in pounds, not US dollars, and you should take into account shipping costs when shopping. Alternatively, there are quite a few stockists in the US with ready links available here.

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WHITE BARBEQUE SAUCE

ALABAMA CHANIN – WHITE BARBEQUE SAUCE

Barbeque lovers are often staunch proponents and defenders of their favorite preparation, favorite meat, and favorite sauce—or lack thereof. Just as there is an entire range of styles of barbeque (everything from pulled pork with slaw to smoked chicken to a plate of burnt ends), there is a whole spectrum of barbeque sauces. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of sugary red sauces; but as an Alabama native, I must wholeheartedly profess my love of our native white barbeque sauce.

Many of you may be unfamiliar with this particular variety of sauce, as it is a North Alabama specialty. But, it is a staple of almost every barbeque restaurant in the area and has found its way to our tables and local grocery store shelves. White sauce is a tangy condiment made of mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, and pepper. While that might sound a little odd to the uninitiated, those in the know are evangelists for the stuff.

While white barbeque sauce has been served in the area for years, local lore suggests that Bob Gibson of the legendary Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama, invented it in 1925. Bob worked for the L & N Railroad Company, but would host barbeques on the weekends, smoking meat over a hickory pit in his backyard. Eventually, his food became so popular that he quit his job at the railroad and opened a proper restaurant.

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INSPIRATION: ONE-OF-A-KIND INDIGO

ALABAMA CHANIN – ONE OF A KIND

Indigo – electric, deep, light, or tropical

Indigo can be bright, violet-blue, midnight blue.

Electric indigo represents the sixth chakra—the Anja—that includes the third eye.

It is the color of intuition and self-awareness.

Today, the New Leaves stencil + layers of indigo of the Indigo Shell Top made me think of this:

A creation of Miya Ando: a representation of the bioluminescent bays of Puerto Rico.

Phosphorescent leaves floating on a pond, lighting up the night with a dreamy, radiant blue glow.

More one-of-a-kind Indigo pieces have been added to our current Collection.

 

THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 6.22.2015 – 6.27.2015

ALABAMA CHANIN – THE FACTORY | THIS WEEK 6.22.2015 – 6.27.2015

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Here is what we have going on this week, Monday, June 22 – Saturday, June 27:

Beginning this Friday, Natalie and our workshop team will be in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains for a Classic Sewing Weekend at Blackberry Farm. This workshop includes all materials necessary to create your own Alabama Chanin project, incredible meals prepared onsite, and stunning scenery. For reservations and pricing, please contact Blackberry Farm at (865) 984-8166 or Ashley at aalderman (at) blackberryfarm.com.

While you’re enjoying your weekend away at Blackberry Farm, stay an extra day for our Mother/Daughter One Day Sewing Retreat. This one-day workshop is suited for beginners and experienced sewers alike, and guests will work with Natalie and her daughter Maggie to create a beautiful DIY project. For reservations and pricing, please contact Blackberry Farm at (865) 984-8166 or Ashley at aalderman (at) blackberryfarm.com.

STORE
Be sure to grab one (or two) of our essential A. Chanin V-Neck Tanks in one of our newest colors: Peacock or Apple. Just in time for the Fourth of July.

Please remember that Alabama Chanin will be closed Friday, July 3rd and Saturday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day.

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 a new menu every day.

Be sure to join us on Saturdays for Brunch featuring seasonal choices that highlight products from local and regional farms and purveyors.

Also don’t forget to take a look in our cooler—stocked with homemade ready-to-go items like our homemade pimento cheese.

We offer freshly baked whole cakes as well. Our cakes are made from scratch, fresh from the oven. 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 – Saturday, 11:00am – 2:00pm
*Lunch service begins at 11:00am but coffee and snacks are available all day.

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TRAVEL: THE NATCHEZ TRACE

ALABAMA CHANIN – TRAVEL: NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY

Those traveling to The Shoals often ask for the best routes into and out of the area. I’m not sure what your definition of “best” may be, but I personally love to travel visually interesting routes, when time allows. For those that have the time and inclination for a scenic drive, I always recommend taking part of the journey on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile historical path that travels from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee, and connects the Cumberland and Mississippi rivers.  It follows a geologic ridgeline that prehistoric animals followed in search of new grazing land and water sources. The Trace connected tribal homelands of the Natchez, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations. Native travelers used the same pathways repeatedly, creating natural sunken sections in the ground.

ALABAMA CHANIN – TRAVEL: THE NATCHEZ TRACE

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KRISTINE VEJAR: ALABAMA STUDIO SEWING PATTERNS

ALABAMA CHANIN – KRISTINE VEJAR: ALABAMA STUDIO SEWING PATTERNS

As we continue to get feedback from some of our favorite makers on Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, we realize how lucky we are to be part of such a positive DIY community. So many fellow writers, designers, knitters, and Journal followers have contacted us with generous responses and honest commentary. How heartening it is to find ourselves in the middle of a group of makers who choose to lift one another up.

That being said, we received a lovely review from Kristine Vejar, founder of A Verb for Keeping Warm. You may remember that we spoke with Kristine in the past, specifically about the Seam Allowance Project, a clever and beautiful approach to sustainability. (Read more on the project here.) In her review she points out something many readers have also noted: Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns is not necessarily written for beginning sewers. It was written for those who want to learn more about patterns and customization. Manipulating patterns is something that most of us graduate to rather than begin doing (though it’s not impossible).

When considering customizations for a her garment, Kristine took into account both practical and stylish considerations. First, she likes to keep things simple, without toting lots of bags here and there. The solution was easy enough: add pockets (see Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, pages 28-29 for detailed instructions and photos). Secondly, the breezy San Francisco weather leaves her reaching for long sleeved garments. Another easy solution: add sleeves to her chosen A-Line Dress (see pages 121-123 for instructions).

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FOURTH OF JULY LOVE

ALABAMA CHANIN – FOURTH OF JULY LOVE

We love you all. We love the Fourth of July. We love our staff. We love for our staff to spend time with their families. In celebration of Independence Day this year, The Factory Store and Café, the Alabama Chanin offices, and our production studios will be closed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, July 3-5, 2015. Some of our staff will celebrate by spending time on the Tennessee River and barbecuing with family and friends. Maggie and I will be eagerly awaiting fireworks and participating in our yearly neighborhood parade.

Here are some ideas on how to get ready for the weekend festivities:
Get started on a DIY Flag Quilt
Decorate 4th of July napkins
Sip a Strawberry Rosemary Prosecco Cocktail
Make (and share) a cobbler
Dress your best in one of our Made in the USA
garments (we’re sporting Indigo this summer…) 

Happy Birthday America (coming soon).
xoNatalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin