It is hard for me to believe that I am almost finished with my third book, now titled Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. Had someone asked a decade ago where I saw myself in ten years, it certainly would not be lying in bed, reviewing and making notes on a “pass” (publishing lingo for a low-resolution printout) of my third book, writing additional texts, and trying to be quiet while a sleeping five-year-old tries to nudge me out of my own bed.

Strange where life takes you when you least expect it.

For our avid journal readers, I believe that it was clear over the last year that I was – at times – absent.  I most definitely was.  There were certainly times when I wanted to write – and felt that there was something important to say – but could not find the words.

For my staff, it must have seemed that I would never return (and am not fully “back” yet).

I am driven by enthusiasm – in all areas of my life.  So, when we signed the contract with STC for our third book, I was over the moon and (CERTAIN I) knew exactly how the book would work and look.  I was convinced that this was going to be a piece of pie. You know, third book, seasoned designer, a decade of work behind me… I was sure things would just fall into place, right?One and a half years later, I am thinking that I survived by the skin of my teeth.  I can’t tell you exactly why this book was harder than the rest. But I assure you, it was. I remember once distinctly calling out across our studio, “Can someone please drive me to O’Neal Bridge, so I can jump off?”

Those days are fading in (my tarnished) memory and these days I patiently await the final proof from the printer – the last step in this intricate process. I look back over the printout from the photo above and I am surprised how much information we managed to pack into 176 pages. And I think to myself that, I am really, really proud of this work.

The Alabama Studio Design Series truly documents my path these last ten years.  From simple new t-shirts crafted from recycled ones, to couture garments, to sustainability on all levels, the books follow from one stage to the next. Alabama Chanin history is all here: from the materials we use, to the way we make our garments, to cultural sustainability, and finally to open-sourcing our patterns for individuals.  (More about my decision to open-source coming soon.)  It is a path that makes me proud.

A big warm thank you to everyone in our studio – who put up with me over the last year (I am asking forgiveness for all transgressions), to Sara Martin – who read and reread and listened to me rant, to Robert Rausch – our book designer – who practiced zen patience with every tiny change, and to Melanie and all the folks at STC who believed that we had one more in us.

16 comments on “AWAITING PROOFS

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    1. Steff

      We thank you ahead of time for all that hard work. You are an inspiration to so many of us to sew, design, write, live purposefully. We appreciate it.

    2. Linda Selby

      Anxiously awaiting this third wave of inspiration. I understand being “driven by enthusiasm.” I live for those “Aha” moments when a new idea takes root in my head & I am ready to rush forward. Thank you for being one of my best sources of fuel for these drives!

  1. mari

    I am so excited to see your latest book! Your work is a true inspiration to me. I admit that I owned both books for quite a while before I dived in, but once I did, I was hooked. I’m sure this one will be just as wonderful (if not more!) than the first two!

  2. Jamesylala

    Natalie, I find you’ve been inspiring me for years. It was such an incredible pleasure to meet you at Ikram (in chicago, many years ago) and your books and website keep me company in the UK. Keep creating and inspiring us lost southern souls!

  3. katie

    i love your style and passion and commitment. i can’t wait for this book. i have made at least a dozen of the projects from your first two books in an effort to, among other things, teach myself to sew.
    thank you for your hard work, katie
    ps i don’t know what open-source means, but i hope it means i can get the pattern for the diamond long skirt. i love it but am too scared to try it without a pattern.

  4. Debbie U.

    Just know that every moment of angst translate into (at least) a hundred moments of joy for those of us who get to share your written gift!! Thank you for persevering for all of us! Can’t wait to have this in my hands!

  5. Monica

    I am beside myself that you have a third book coming out! I bougt the first two, read them cover to cover, and have been eager to jump in to projects. Crazily, I want to attempt one of the dresses first!
    Cannot wait to have the 3rd one 🙂

  6. Maria

    As much as I enjoy reading your journal entries, I am WAY more excited about the new book. Thank you thank you for working so hard to share your brilliant creativity and beautiful work. I am so grateful for your be able to recreate your beautiful skirts and a dress for my beloved sisters is such a great gift. I know how many hours it takes to make one of your dresses – I can’t imagine how many hours it took to write your book!!!!

  7. Rose

    I am very excited to get my hands on the new book! Your other two are favorites of mine–they are so inspiring in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your beautiful talents with the world.

  8. Kathleen

    I will just add my own thanks to everyone else’s for all your hard work, and the inspiration and fun you and your staff share with all of us.

    You all (y’all) keep me in touch with my Southern roots, inspite of my many migrations and nil tolerance for heat and humidity at my (advancing) age 😉

    Can’t wait!

  9. Jonn

    i am lierally addicted to Alabama Chanin – i keep the first two books [with AC clippings & pics] in my backpack that i carry with me at ALL times – WHEN CAN WE PRE-ORDER FROM AC? – i need a fix-heehee – it is difficult to live in the present as i am so excited about attending the November workshop – the visit to AC should tide me over until the book is released – Natalie, staff and all that is Alabama Chanin are nirvana and surely a piece of heaven on Earth! – thank you, thank you with appreciation and gratitude!

    1. Tina Leigh

      I wish we did not have to wait until next spring!! I am so excited to see all the new things you will be sharing with us.