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.
For several years now, Alabama Chanin has worked with dyers in Nashville, Tennessee, to transform our organic cotton jersey into beautiful hues, including variations of indigo. Previously, we’ve featured this indigo fabric it in our “Alabama Denim” collection, paired it with Carmine and Anna Maria Horner stencils, and celebrated its beauty in quilt form.
When we got word our dyers at Artisan Natural Dyeworks were closing shop to pursue other things, we were grateful that they offered to pass along their knowledge of dye techniques to our Alabama Chanin team.
So, last year, Diane eagerly traveled to Nashville with members of our studio team to learn about natural dyeing. The team brought those skills back to Alabama, where we have established our own in-house natural dye vats. We now have two dye vats that will allow us to produce our classic Indigo colors here at The Factory.
Stay tuned as we continue to explore natural dyeing at Alabama Chanin.