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.


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Click to read 22 comments
  1. martha

    I LOVE my indigo A. Chanin bolero. It’s even more special now that I know that Diane had a hand in it. Thank you!

  2. Angela

    Indigo is magic. I am making a vat this week and have invited my darling 9-year-old neighbor and her friend over for a dyeing party on Friday. I hope they love to watch the oxidation process as much as I do!

  3. Judilee

    Way to go, Diane and Natalie! Indigo, Shakerag, and Alabama Chanin….all wonderful gifts to us all. Thanks for picking up the natural dye baton.

  4. Ina

    … I got goosebumps just reading about these exciting developments … time to plan a visit … putting it out there … just like you said … it will happen … cheers and happy summer days!!!

    Ina + Pokey + Stella

  5. Amber

    All so wonderful and exciting. Thank you for sharing!

    Also… I’d love to know who made those boots featured in the picture below with the long skirt.

  6. karen

    How exciting. I would love to read more about her processes and see more special edition lines based on a variety of dyestuffs.

  7. Linda Stutterheim

    I am so excited all the dyeing is going to be done there. The Natural dyed fabrics are to die for. They are the best of the best! I’m planning on a visit to see all of you in the near future. Happy dyeing!

  8. Vikki Lovelady

    It was such a great pleasure to visit The Factory yesterday after having purchased fabric and notions online as well as sewing a few garments from “Al. Studio Sewing and Design”. It is truly candy for the eye without being overstated. Sara and your staff were helpful and friendly. And the garments are breathtakingly beautiful….. Also, the lunch was perfection….. my only regret (I’m ashamed to say) is that I forgot to tip the precious server…. (forgive) for I was distracted & thinking of my second purchase which I promptly made and scooted out the door. ‘ looking forward to another visit and your next book. Thank you Natalie for your genius and generosity in sharing it.

  9. Cathy Smith

    That is fantastic news. I met Diane at a summer workshop at the Factory in 2012 and she was a great teacher and such an asset to your company. Natalie told us that Diane was going to retire, and I was sorry to hear that, so now am very excited to hear she has branched out into yet a new creative outlet! Go Diane!!!

  10. Linda

    How exciting is this! I hope you will sell the fabric!!!!?? I just finished my first hand sewn reverse appliqué T-shirt and I am hooked.

  11. Lynn

    Oh, am going to find the organic fabric dyed 23yrs ago (and after). Its the look of it that makes you Feel it.
    The third photo down looks like embroidering with narrow fabric strips sewn through as though ?