Tag Archives: DIY + Sewing

Alabama Chanin - Celebrate Handmade


For the holidays, we’ve put together our favorite tools, notions, and materials. We’ve also introduced new products—and new fabric colors for our DIY collection. We invite you to explore our DIY Holidays.

Alabama Chanin - Celebrate Handmade

DIY Collection
Cut by hand, stenciled by hand, packed by hand, and delivered to you—to make by hand.

Alabama Chanin - Celebrate Handmade

Alabama Chanin - Celebrate HandmadeAlabama Studio Sewing Patterns
“The truth is that sometimes if you want a garment to really and truly fit and suit you, you have to take the power of creating or altering it into your own hands.”


Alabama Chanin - Celebrate HandmadeButton Craft Thread
This thread is going to sew the most beautiful garment that’s ever been made. It will bring the wearer joy, or riches, or prosperity, or love, or beauty, or health, or anything else we want to wish for the person who will wear this garment.”

Alabama Chanin - Celebrate Handmade

Alabama Chanin - Celebrate HandmadePocket Pin Cushion
A helping hand as you sew. Place your scissors in the pocket and secure your needles and pins into the canvas.

Alabama-Chanin---Celebrate-Handmade---10Stenciled Fat Eighths
For quilters, crafters, and beyond, these 1/8 yard cuts can be used as appliqué pieces, to patch holes in well-loved garments, and even as gift wrap.

Alabama Chanin - Celebrate Handmade

Alabama Chanin - Celebrate Handmade - 12The Modern Natural Dyer
Thousands of natural materials can produce glorious color.” – Kristine Vejar, author
(Featured here are a few our of favorite A. Chanin garments.)

Alabama Chanin - Celebrate HandmadeWorkshops: Give the gift of learning
Gift an experience for face-to-face and hand-to-hand instruction for the what, why, and how of our hand sewn garments. (Materials, food, and memories included.)

Alabama Chanin - Celebrate Handmade

Alabama Chanin - Celebrate Handmade2015 Swatch of the Month
Inspired by our extensive fabric library, Swatch of the Month was created for (beginner and experienced) sewers to try out new techniques and embroideries.  After completing all the swatches, piece them together and make a quilt—or use the swatches for smaller projects. Purchase now and receive the entire year’s worth of materials.

Alabama Chanin - Celebrate Handmade

Celebrate hand made and visit our DIY Holiday Shop for more.



We have updated our Resources section with an all-new pattern called the “Baby Bundle”—a multi-item downloadable package that includes patterns for a Baby Blanket, Baby Bucket Hat, Baby Bib, and Stuffed Bunny Rabbit. This set of items would be a wonderful holiday gift for new or expecting parents, and the patterns are useful to keep on hand for future baby shower gifts. Plus, each of these items works up more quickly than our more elaborate kits or garments. Choose to make one item—or all of them. Our 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey fabric is sturdy enough to last through many wash cycles and soft enough for a baby’s smooth skin.

When you purchase your pattern bundle, you will receive instructions on completing each item—but we have previously featured the Baby Bib and Stuffed Bunny on the Journal.

As with all of our downloads, these new patterns are designed for printing either at home or on a wide-format printer at your local print shop. (Find information on how to print downloaded stencils and patterns here.)




I looked down at my calendar recently and was stunned to realize: this year is almost over. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was thinking summer vacations and tomato sandwiches. Now, I have to shift gears and get into holiday mode—quickly. It seems the older I get, the more I seem to ask myself: where did the year go?

As our calendar continues to fill up in the coming month, this is what November looks like for us, right now:

November 2 – National Deviled Egg Day—a true holiday for the people. Maybe we should petition to make it a Federal holiday? At any rate, try our recipe from Alabama Studio Style (or experiment with these pink deviled eggs).

November 3 – Election Day. While it is an off-year election, there are many local races and initiatives to consider. Please exercise your right to vote.

November 5 – Café Nights with Zach. Visit Zach at The Factory as he mans the bar and makes special drinks and wine cocktails. (Every Thursday this month, excluding Thanksgiving Day.)

November 6 – 8 – Classic Studio Weekend @ The Factory. For more information or to register, click here.

November 11 – Veterans Day. At the end of World War I, fighting ceased on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. It was declared a federal holiday by President Woodrow Wilson and since then has been a day to honor those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

November 12 – Sip + Sew @ The Factory. Our sewing group meets the second Thursday to work on their projects over drinks. This group is open to beginners and experienced sewers alike. Or just come join us for a glass of wine and lively conversation.

November 14 – National Pickle Appreciation Day. Though its importance pales in comparison to Veterans Day, may we suggest a lighthearted celebration of the humble pickle? Here is Gram Perkins recipe for Fourteen-Day Pickles.

November 15 – America Recycles Day. Take the pledge to reduce personal waste by recycling. Learn more and get involved in your community at AmericaRecyclesDay.org

November 19 – Talented artist, friend, and collaborator Rinne Allen delves into her “Harvest series” for the New York Times T Magazine in this month’s On Design Lecture Series, “Harvesting America.” More information here.

November 26 – Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy the long weekend with your family and friends. To liven up your traditional Thanksgiving dishes, try Vivian Howard’s Buttery Turkey recipe or Natalie and Zach’s Mother and Son Thanksgiving Dressing.

November 27 – Join Natalie for our second monthly Stammtisch, part of our Café Nights @ The Factory. Come for lively conversation and fellowship. Small bites, wine, and beer available for purchase.

November 27 – Our Beautiful Black sale begins—traditionally known as the busiest shopping day of the year. The holiday season will be in full swing, and we will also offer special savings.

November 28 – Small Business Saturday. Support small, local businesses in your community. If you are in Florence or the surrounding area, we invite you to visit us at The Factory.

November 30 – We’ll have a few surprises online as part of our Holiday Shop.

November’s Swatch of the Month features embroidery using our Ermine Stitch and Alabama Eyelets, which you can find detailed on pages 80 – 81 of Alabama Studio Sewing and Design—part of our section about Decorative Stitches.

Purchase a membership to 2015’s Swatch of the Month Club here.


Fabric – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Top layer fabric – Twilight
Backing layer fabric – Twilight
Treatment – Circular embroidery with Ermine Stitch and Alabama Eyelets
Button Craft thread – Slate #26

The hi-resolution photograph above, for use as your computer desktop background or smartphone screensaver, is available for download from our Resources page.

Purchase a membership to the Swatch of the Month Club at any point in the year and receive all prior month’s swatches together in one bundle, with an entire year’s worth of supplies and notions.

Explore our Journal for an archive of all past Swatch of the Month swatches for 2014 and 2015, including some projects you can create using swatches.



One look at our upcoming events calendar will tell you that there are still quite a few opportunities to join us for an event in 2015. Our School of Making continues to grow and create an array of learning experiences in different environments, with new and exciting ventures on the horizon.

I know it feels as though summer is barely over, but it will soon be time to start thinking about holiday gifts. (I can’t believe it, either.) There gift options for workshops both here at The Factory and abroad—in the literal sense. In 2016, Alabama Chanin will, for the first time, take The School of Making across the Atlantic Ocean.

Here is an overview of what 2015 still has to offer and what’s in store for 2016:

We continue our On Design series with discussions in October and November. On October 16, we will feature a talk with Rebecca and Chris van Bergen of Nest—the non-profit organization The School of Making has partnered with to focus on sustainable educational opportunities that impact communities. They will explain Nest’s mission and talk about using education to effect long-lasting social change. On November 19th, collaborator Rinne Allen will share some of the stories she chronicles as part of her Harvest series, for the New York Times T Magazine.

On October 22 and 23, we are offering back-to-back One-Day Workshops at The Factory. On Thursday the 22nd, we will host a One-Day Business Workshop focusing on the Alabama Chanin method of manufacturing, with specifics on using artisans as independent contractors, maintaining an organic supply chain, and manufacturing using sustainable methods. On Friday the 23rd, we will present a One-Day Indigo Workshop that will explore indigo dyeing techniques and hands-on instruction. These sessions are $475 each and still have limited availability.


We will wrap up 2015 with a final Classic Studio Weekend @ The Factory from November 6 – 8. View the event page for more information on how to register.

Our workshop schedule picks up again in March of 2016 with a remote retreat at Art & Soul in Portland, Oregon. Instructor Patti Calande has worked very closely with the Alabama Chanin team to become a certified instructor for a One-Day Workshop scheduled for March 4. For more information and to register, visit the Art & Soul Retreat page here. We will also host a Two-Hour Sewing Workshop @ The Factory on March 25th. More information is available on our Events page.

We currently have two Classic Studio Weekend Workshops scheduled for 2016: the first from May 13 – 15 and the second from November 11 – 13. Both of these workshops will be held at The Factory and participants will work with Natalie and the Alabama Chanin team on a customized project of choice from one of our Studio Series Books. As always, we offer a range of options that can be tailored to any skill level.

Our Classic Studio Week will be held from June 6 – 10 @ The Factory and will offer an in-depth look into Alabama Chanin’s philosophies, methods, materials, and products. Participants will be able to experiment with different techniques and learn details about design, stencils, patterns, fit, as they work on a custom garment from our Studio Book Series.


For the first time ever, Alabama Chanin will offer a Weeklong Workshop Abroad from August 6 – 13 at Chateau Dumas in France. Workshop details are currently being finalized but are scheduled to include daily instruction from Natalie Chanin, opportunities to study dyeing with woad, gourmet meals, and quite a few excursions. Look for a detailed post about this workshop very soon.

We invite you to join our mailing list here to receive information on upcoming workshops, events at The Factory, away, and abroad.



If there is one thing we’ve learned, it’s that there is joy and power in making in a group setting. We’ve witnessed this in a multitude of workshops, Makeshift events, and also in our informal First and Third Mondays and Thursday night Sip + Sew events here at The Factory. Many of us have outside sewing circles or knitting groups we belong to, and it’s the opportunity for growing conversations that make those experiences most meaningful.

One of our educational goals at Alabama Chanin has always been to increase opportunities for these conversations to flourish.

So, with that in mind we introduce our new Host a Party programming through The School of Making.

Organize a group of 6 or more friends, colleagues, or acquaintances and provide a location and refreshments. You and your group will choose one garment style—with difficulty levels ranging from beginner to advanced. You will all be working on the same garment style, but each group member can choose their own size, fabric color, and stencil design.

As host, you will receive your kit for free, in exchange for providing sewing instructions and hospitality. Each of your guests will receive the selected kit at 20% off the original price.

Meet once a week, once a month, or as often as you and your group would like, provide good light, beverages, good conversation, and start sewing. You will be the leader and teacher to the Alabama Chanin sewing techniques. Our Studio Style book series can be your guide, and we’ll provide some handouts on basic techniques that will help you along the way.

Provide tools, needles, scissors, or show your sewing group which tools you love the most.

Some tips we’ve found for the best sewing parties:

Consider seating carefully. If you have a large table that can accommodate your entire party, this is the ideal setup. You can also set up smaller groups or tables around a single room—but you should ideally have a surface to spread out your sewing pieces and hold your sewing tools and notions. And, of course the best conversations are had around one big table.

Good lighting makes all the difference in the world.

If you plan to spend an entire afternoon or evening stitching together, keep snacks on hand—but not messy ones. Think grapes or cheese and crackers rather than chips and salsa…

Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes, take everything apart, and start again. No one is grading your efforts and one imperfection won’t ruin your garment.

Host a sewing party by contacting us here: workshops@alabamachanin.com

And learn more on how Host a Party works, including kit options, here.




October is here and—finally—we are beginning to get a reprieve from the heat of summer. By now, my house has gotten back into the school, work, homework, bedtime routine. (I think every year Maggie manages to negotiate a later bedtime, while mine gets earlier and earlier.) October is one of my favorite months, because it starts to really look and feel like autumn. Leaves are changing and falling, and backyard fire pits are put to regular use. If you want to visit and make a drive down the Natchez Trace, this is a great month to choose.

We hope you have been enjoying the new hours, offerings, and libations at The Factory. October is National Cookbook Month and, given our obsession with cookbooks, we have plenty to flip through and share. Some of our current favorites are available in the online store and include the Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook, Heritage by Sean Brock, Pure Pork Awesomeness by Kevin Gillespie, Anne Quatrano’s Summerland, Hugh Acheson’s The Broad Fork, and Steven Satterfield’s Root to Leaf (among others).

As for the rest of the month, here’s what it looks like for us:

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Last September, as we were preparing for a workshop at Anna Maria Horner’s venture, Craft South, we got our first look at her new line of knit jersey fabrics—Anna Maria Knits. We have since experiemented and played with several of these patterned knits using our techniques and are loving the results. Shown here is our Swing Skirt from Alabama Stitch Book appliquéd with our Large Polka Dot Sencil, using her Tangle Knit print in Rust.

It reminds me of a harvest moon.


2 yards cotton jersey fabric for skirt
1 yard cotton interlock for appliqué
1 yard fold-over elastic ribbon
Button Craft thread
Basic sewing supplies: needles, pins, embroidery scissors
Alabama Stitch Book for Swing Skirt pattern and instructions

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Patagonia’s Worn Wear truck and team arrived in Alabama and to The Factory yesterday morning. They’ve set up in the parking lot and brought fabrics and machines to repair your existing gear. As a bonus, they’ve also brought a slew of jackets that they’re giving away so we can learn to make our own repairs.


I scored this black down jacket which is shown below before repairs and after.


Of course, we added some Alabama Chanin touches. Lucky bonus: I found this tidily rolled dollar bill in the right pocket of my jacket.

WORN WEAR IN THE HOUSE (4)The Worn Wear team will be at The Factory today from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (get there early to get your jacket). Zach and our team are cooking up tacos and more to celebrate.

Grab a jacket, a taco and a beer, and join come us…



We are constantly inspired and impressed by our DIY community and what you make and share. We loved sharing your projects as a part of #MeMadeMay and wanted to highlight more of our recent #theschoolofmaking favorites from Instagram.

With the weather (finally) cooling, now is the perfect time to settle in and sew something new. So, choose a pattern, alter it (if needed) with help from Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, cut, stencil, and sew along with our entire DIY community on Instagram. Or, if you’d rather get straight to sewing, choose from one of our DIY kits (or get really creative and design your own).

Photos courtesy of @vicki.knitorious, @tantesophie, @jessica_k_mf, @sojbird, @oldsaltstudios, @lotsaland, and @displaylady.

P.S. Follow us on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

P.P.S. Use our hashtag #theschoolofmaking to share your latest Studio Style DIY project.