On the heels of MAKESHIFT 2013, we are inspired and invigorated by the conversations around design, fashion, food, craft, and DIY that took place last week during New York Design Week. We hope that you have followed our explorations throughout the events this year and have used our discussions to begin conversations of your own. We are even more convinced about the importance of making, sharing, and finding common ground, and look forward to expanding the conversations about design, fashion, food, craft, and DIY over the coming months.

One thing that resonates from those talks last week, are the concepts of collaboration and skill sharing.  As we continue to open source our ideas, our Alabama Chanin workshops will continue to grow. These events—like MAKESHIFT—have become an intimate, extraordinary way for us to connect with fellow makers, designers, and like-minded creators across the country (and the world).


The idea for these one-on-one workshops originally came from my editor, Melanie. And when she first explained what she meant, I couldn’t imagine that anyone would want to come and spend time in our studio.  (This wasn’t the first time she proved me wrong.) Today, this idea has become an important part of who we are as a company and our growing business model.

Most companies don’t have the ability or the location that allows for hands-on studio work. The Factory, our studio since 2007, was originally built as a as a sewing factory in 1982, and has proven an ideal place for designers, makers, sewers, and potential business owners to gather.

The types of workshops we offer in our studio have grown and expanded over the last five years, from a One-Day Workshop, to a Studio Weekend, to a Studio Week. And this may sound trite, but no matter the group, the environment, or the length of time spent, we have walked away from each workshop having learned something – about others’ sewing techniques, family histories, personal connections to craft, even some off-color jokes that we won’t admit to telling. There is always an incredible sense of sharing, of collaboration, and of community. We teach; we learn.

We are in the process of expanding our space here at The Factory, designing an event center that will provide the space for community events, communal dinners, and, most importantly, a studio space for total immersion into design, craft, making, and expanding ideas. After a few requests from workshop attendees, and upon spending a week this past summer at Shakerag Workshops, followed by two weeks at Penland School of Crafts, we decided to expand our collection of workshops to include a week-long studio experience.

Our Studio Week Workshops explore different types of fabric manipulation with 100% cotton jersey, including how various stitching, stenciling, and color application techniques can transform and personalize a garment or a piece of work. Students will learn to hand sew and create contemporary embellishments using classic techniques like appliqué, couching, and various types of thread work. The class will explore color, layout, and inspiration for fabric design and project creation.

11 comments on “STUDIO WEEK

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  1. Patti

    And it just keeps getting better. You guys are amazing. Your commitment to your craft and sustainablility is unfailing. What a wonderful experience this week-long workshop shall be, a treasure indeed.

  2. Amy Hall

    Thanks so much for your generosity of time and talent. I am probably going to have to be content with the books and the inspiration they generate but I am so grateful for them.

  3. Linda Gerig

    How wonderful. Wish I could get to a one day workshop. Ever think of coming to Grand Rapids or even holland, mi? It would have to be close. I don’t get too far away as I care for my son. Linda gerig

  4. Nina

    Please come and hold some workshops in London, UK! I’m sure the Crafts Council would be interested in helping to organise it…

  5. jennifer

    I have so enjoyed the things I’ve made from Alabama Chanin — I don’t know that I’ve ever had an experience when I loved both the process and the end product that much. So, this sounds like a dream come true. I will definitely be coming to Florence one day. It sounds just lovely.

  6. Susaninfrance

    sounds amazing and I’ll be working on this as my goal for next year! can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

  7. Angela

    I missed out on the workshop that was a dyeing establishment here in Berkeley, California so I am pretty bummed about that. I envy those who live near Alabama Chanin. I will have to be content with the books and teach myself. Sigh.