Those of you who have followed Alabama Chanin for years know that this company was built around the concepts of expert craftsmanship, beauty, function, and utility. Focusing on using sustainable, organic, and local materials and labor, we have committed ourselves to producing quality products made in the USA.
As we grew, the company developed a life of its own that emerged as a multi-fold organization—while staying true to the original mission and business model. We encouraged organic growth, without forcing ourselves to fit into a traditional mold. We recently began referring to what has emerged as the “Alabama Chanin Family of Businesses”—a heartfelt nod to the Zingerman’s approach and their Community of Businesses. Each of our divisions has individual specialties, yet all fall under the same mission established for Alabama Chanin. Our philosophy guides each arm and we all work together toward the same goal: creating beautiful products in sustainable ways that enrich our customers, community, and co-workers.
From our mission statement:
At Alabama Chanin, we preserve traditions of community, design, producing, and living arts by examining work and life through the act of storytelling, photography, education, and making.
Thoughtful design. Responsible production. Good business. Quality that lasts.
A guide to our growing family of businesses:
Alabama Chanin—the heart and head of our family of businesses—began early in 2000 with the creation of hand-sewn garments made from cotton jersey fabric—and retains the same intention and integrity today. Heirloom pieces are made from 100% organic cotton, sewn by hand through a group of talented artisans who each run their own business, in their own time, and in their own way. The company strives to maintain sustainable practices—across its disciplines—and create sustainable products, holding ourselves to the highest standards for quality.
Over the past few years, social media has become an integral part of many businesses, including Alabama Chanin. It is a way for us to share our ideas, designs, and inspirations with you. Pinterest is a great platform for inspiration and collaboration. Thousands of images are shared daily on the site, creating a beautiful and useful medium for those looking for inspiration.
Recently, we discovered hundreds of Alabama Chanin-inspired Pinterest boards, curated by you – our followers, fans, and friends. Browsing your boards was like taking a journey through the history of this company. From past collections, to Studio Style DIY, and even creations of your own design, you have created something that is encouraging to all of us here at the Alabama Chanin studio. Knowing that we can serve as a source of inspiration for you to create, dream, design, and learn motivates us to continue sending inspiration your way.
Be on the lookout for a new Collection, recipes from The Factory Café, the machine-sewn line A. Chanin, new DIY projects, special in-store offers, and a new Bridal Collection to be shared on our Pinterest boards soon.
*Stay connected (and inspired) by following us on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.
January’s Swatch of the Month incorporates Alabama Chanin’s basic reverse appliqué technique with our Paisley stencil. Explore our techniques and build your skills with a membership to our Swatch of the Month Club and follow along here on the Journal.
The photograph above shows one of many options you can create when making your own swatch. (This hi-resolution photograph, for use as your computer desktop background, is now available for download from our Resources page.)
Experiment with your swatch. You can work it in reverse appliqué like we did, or use another treatment: negative reverse, backstitched reverse, quilted, or embellish with beaded stitches. Reverse appliqué can be done by beginners and experienced sewers alike and is worked on two layers of fabric: The top layer is stenciled and then stitched to the backing layer; next, part of the top layer is cut away to reveal the backing fabric underneath.
Each kit comes stenciled and ready-to-sew with all of the notions needed to complete the swatch—just provide your own needles, pins, and scissors (or purchase an essential sewing kit). Colorway options include Navy/Black (our design choice), White/Natural, Neutrals, Reds, and Blues. Techniques and instruction can be found in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.
The BUST DIY Guide to Life, which might be more aptly titled the BUST DIY Guide to Life and Death, as it also covers a DIY funeral, may be the most useful book I’ve ever had in my possession. Understand that this is a remarkable claim as I love books, and have been exposed to a wide array of literature including hand drawn survivalist volumes weighing 15 pounds (I had a roommate in college who loved that sort of thing). I do think identifying edible foliage and making an outdoor shower are useful skills, but I only cling to that knowledge in a paranoid, worst-case scenario sort of way. But, the BUST DIY Guide feels like a survival guide for everyday. It’s perfect for any girl on a budget, or anyone that has any interest in homemade butter, managing a rental property, styling a beehive (like the one pictured above), or making basic home repairs.
Recipes, home remedies, and beauty tricks abound- each with simple, straightforward instructions and a witty intro.
The BUST DIY Guide contains 250 projects from BUST magazine’s archives, organized by category: beauty and health, fashion, food and entertaining, career, finance, travel, and sex. Right now you can get your own copy for less than $20, which will more than pay for itself when you start your own business, skip a trip to the salon, or brew your first batch of beer.