Over the past two years, The School of Making has evolved into a community of creators who experiment together with a diverse range of sewing, stitching, and embroidery techniques, design concepts, dyeing methods, and a widening array of practical skills. Through our Swatch of the Month and our Host a Party programs, we’ve watched our community of makers grow in leaps-and-bounds. This year we expand our hand-sewing programming with Build a Wardrobe—moving from the fabric embellishment and embroidery techniques we developed through Swatch of the Month into garment fit and construction. Designed for use with our Alabama Studio Book Series, we’ll be featuring variations of new garment patterns throughout the year on our Journal. As we move through 2016, we will combine techniques, colorways, and stencils from our two previous Swatch of the Month bundles with our Build a Wardrobe garments.
Build a Wardrobe is comprised of four new DIY Garments that will be used as the basis for creating a hand-sewn wardrobe. Launching with our beloved Maggie Dress pattern in January, makers can work together to create wardrobe staples or follow along globally on social media with the hashtags #buildawardrobe2016 and #theschoolofmaking.
The format of Build a Wardrobe is similar to that of Swatch of the Month. Participants will subscribe for a year’s worth of content that will be executed with guidelines presented in our Alabama Studio Book Series and specifically Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns. Each quarter, subscribers will receive an exclusive new printed pattern, instructions, and enough fabric to make basic garments in the colors of your choice (thread, notions, and digital pattern versions also included).
In addition, each quarter, subscribers will also have exclusive access to order custom DIY kits for that pattern at a discounted rate. For example, when we launch the Maggie Dress pattern, you will receive your bundle of fabric yardage, thread, and pattern that you will use to customize your garment. You will also have the option to order custom DIY Maggie Dress kits for an additional cost—an offer you can take advantage of at any time in the year. These custom DIY kits are only available to Build a Wardrobe subscribers.
When you order Build a Wardrobe you will receive:
- Digital inspiration and information packet of garment and treatment ideas for your wardrobe
- Digital link to a form where you will choose your fabric and thread colors for the year
- Discount coupon for 25% off stenciling supplies (for those who want to stencil their garments)
- Subscription to an exclusive monthly Build a Wardrobe newsletter
In January—the first quarter—you will receive:
- Maggie Dress Pattern in both printed and digital format. This pattern provides 3 length variations (top, tunic, and dress) and all necessary instructions
- 6 yards of 100% Organic Medium-weight Cotton Jersey in two colors (3 yards each color)—enough to complete one double-layer 45” dress or two single-layer 45” dresses or any variation of your choice
- 2 spools of thread in the color of your choice
- 1 15mm snap
- Exclusive digital link to a Custom DIY form that gives you the option to purchase DIY Kits for the Maggie Dress—cut and stenciled to your specifications
In April—the second quarter—you will receive:
- Alabama Sweater Top Pattern in both printed and digital format. This pattern provides 3 length variations for the garment body (crop top, top, and tunic) with 4 variations for sleeve lengths and all necessary instructions.
- 2 yards of our 100% Organic Medium-weight Cotton Jersey in one color—enough to complete a single-layer 31” tunic with long sleeves (or any variation of your choice)
- 1 spool of thread in the color of your choice
- Exclusive digital link to a Custom DIY form that gives you the option to purchase DIY Kits for the Maggie Dress and the Alabama Sweater Top—cut and stenciled to your specifications
In July—the third quarter—you will receive:
- Walking Cape Pattern in both printed and digital format. This pattern provides 3 pocket variations (Walking Cape pocket, patch, and 5-side).
- 4 yards of our 100% Organic Medium-weight Cotton Jersey in two colors (2 yards of each color) for completing a double-layer walking cape
- 1 spool of thread in the color of your choice
- 1 32mm snap
- Exclusive digital link to a Custom DIY form that gives you the option to purchase DIY Kits for the Maggie Dress, the Alabama Sweater Top, and the Walking Cape—cut and stenciled to your specifications
In October—the fourth quarter—you will receive:
- Full Wrap Skirt Pattern in both printed and digital format. This pattern provides 3 variations (Full Wrap Skirt, Half-Skirt, and Pull-on Skirt) in three different lengths: 21”, 24” and 26”, with all necessary instructions.
- 4 yards of 100% Organic Medium-weight Cotton Jersey in two colors (2 yards each color)—enough to complete one double-layer 26” Full Wrap Skirt or two single-layer 26” Full Wrap Skirts or any variation of your choice
- 1 spool of thread in the color of your choice
- Exclusive digital link to a Custom DIY form giving you the option to purchase DIY Kits for all of the 2016 Build a Wardrobe patterns—cut and stenciled to your specifications
Just as with our Swatch of the Month subscription, anyone can join at any point in the year. By purchasing the materials through Build a Wardrobe, you will automatically receive approximately a 25% discount off the total retail value of the materials, plus the printed pattern, special inspiration packet, and notions to complete your garments. Free domestic ground shipping. International orders may incur extra shipping fees.
Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns can be used as a guide for altering patterns and perfecting individual fit. The rest of our Studio Book Series provides excellent resources for embellishing these four basic garments to create one-of-a-kind wardrobe essentials.
As with most of our patterns, each of these new styles are created with multiple length variations—allowing each person to choose the length that fits their personal figure best.
All patterns in our Build a Wardrobe program will also be available for individual purchase in digital format from our website for $18 per pattern, each quarter as the new patterns are released. The Maggie Dress Pattern will be available beginning in January. Note that all garment patterns are intended for use in combination with our Alabama Studio Book Series.
If you make a basic of each variation of every pattern offered through Build a Wardrobe, you can end the year with 30 hand-sewn garments—a sturdy foundation to your own handmade wardrobe. Pattern possibilities, by the numbers:
- Maggie Dress – 3 garments (top, tunic, and dress)
- Alabama Sweater – 15 garments (3 length variations X 5 sleeve options)
- Walking Cape – 3 garments (one with each pocket variation)
- Full Wrap Skirt – 9 garments (3 pattern variations X 3 length variations)
Whether you need wardrobe-building basics or a new statement piece, Build a Wardrobe offers endless possibilities for customization—allowing you to develop your own personal (and sustainable) style.
Follow along on social media and on our Journal with the hashtags:
View our current Build a Wardrobe collection here.
I think this is brilliant & can’t wait to be a part of it!! I am going to share with the ladies in our sewing group – thank you!!
Love the idea!
What would the additional cost be for shipping to Canada please?
Is the price for a yearly or monthly subscription?
I’m sorry, I meant yearly or quarterly subscription.
The cost and subscription is a one-time payment that covers the 2016 calendar year. The patterns and materials will be sent in quarterly installments in January, April, July, and October. Let us know if you have more questions.
The Maggie Dress!!!!!!!!!! yay!!!
I am an XXL. Will the patterns be available in XXL, and will the yardage listed be enough to complete the projects in the larger size? (and if not, will there be an option to pay to add enough additional fabric?)
Thank you! Happy Holidays!
All of the patterns are offered in sizes XS – XXL except for the Walking Cape, which is one size fits all. You will receive enough fabric to make up to an XXL. Thank you, and Happy Holidays to you as well!
Will you be offering all of your fabric colors as options, or will the kits be available in limited colorways? If the latter, is it possible to know the color combinations before placing an order for the subscription?
We will be offering all 50 colors of our organic medium-weight cotton jersey in both yardage for the projects and for the Custom DIY Kits fabric color options.
I agree – this is brilliant! I had concerns about the XXL which you have already addressed. I’ve been wanting a way to focus learning how to construct these garments and here it is. With supplies! Thanks – I will definitely be signing up.
What a wonderful and exciting idea! Just to clarify, if one were to order a custom diy kit (say Maggie Dress for example), would your fabric allotment for the quarter go towards the kit components? Or does one get fabric + fabric in kit to make one Maggie Dress? Can one choose between these two options? What would ballpark price of the Maggie kit be? Many thanks.
Your fabric allotment will not go to the kit components. For example, when we launch the Maggie Dress pattern, you will receive your bundle of fabric yardage, thread, and pattern that you will use to customize your garment. You will also have the option to order custom DIY Maggie Dress kits for an additional cost—an offer you can take advantage of at any time in the year. You cannot choose between the two options. And only subscribers will also have exclusive access to order custom DIY kits for that pattern. The Maggie patterns range from $178 to $398 depending on the style.
First, this is my new email address. Second, I own all of your books and am very interested. However, I am a bit bigger than the pattern sizes. I lack confidence in modifying the patterns correctly. I have made two corsets and the gored skirt for my daughter-in-law and they fit perfectly (she is a medium). I made a “muslin” of each garment before cutting into the beautiful fabric.
I have a bad case of the vapors about trying this for myself, but would love to build a wardrobe.
I’m so exited about this!!
In the third paragraph it says “In addition, each quarter, subscribers will also have exclusive access to order custom DIY kits for that pattern at a discounted rate.”. What percentage discount will be offered? Will the DIY custom kits be available for 2016 only?
The Custom DIY Kits will be available throughout 2016 at a 20% discounted rate only to Build a Wardrobe subscribers. In 2017, they will be available to everyone as Custom DIY Kits—and at their regular value. Please note that Custom DIY kits are excluded from all regular site-wide sales and promotions.
I would love to join this club!! Thank you so much!!!
I have been an avid follower of Alabama Chanin for many years although only a novice sewer. This new initiative may be just what I need to get started on finally making my own garments.Can you let me know what the cost would be to post the packs to me in Tasmania , Australia. I would be interested in the Subscription only option.
I look forward to your reply.
Emily from our shipping department will be contacting you directly to let you know more about shipping costs. Thank you.
Please let me know exactly how to join the club!
You can subscribe for the yearly membership here: http://alabamachanin.com/2016-build-a-wardrobe
I would love to join you in January to build my own wardrobe of your beautiful designs. All the projects are practical for my lifestyle with one exception that being the walking cape. Is it possible to use the allocation of material to create a cardigan. I am an artist and potter and my lifestyle here in Australia is beyond casual. My clothes presently fall into two categories with paint and without paint. Ha ha.
If you are interested in making a cardigan, the newest book, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns, has a digital pattern for our Classic Cardigan/Mid-length Classic Jacket/Classic Coat. In theory, you can use the yardage that is received through Build a Wardrobe for any project, but keep in mind that we cut the appropriate yardage and provide the patterns and thread amount for the specified projects for Build a Wardrobe. You will receive 4 yards of fabric for a double-layer Walking Cape and the 19″ Classic Cardigan featured in Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns requires 3 yards for a double layer. Here’s a link to the book: http://alabamachanin.com/alabama-studio-sewing-patterns Hope this helps! Let us know if you have further questions.
Would love to sign up for the build a wardrobe club, but first I’d like to know if participants will be able to choose fabric colors for each quarterly project, or will this be like Swatch of the Month where the entire year comes in the same colors that are selected at the beginning?
You will have the option to choose from the 50 medium-weight fabric colors that we offer by the yard. You will have this option for your top and bottom layers with the exception of the Alabama Sweater Top, which will be available as a single layer. When you register, we will send you a link to a form to select all of your fabric and thread colors for the year. Thank you!
Great idea! But am afraid that the shipping cost to Europe would make this a no no!
I am looking forward to being part of this club.
I have had so much fun stitching the “Alabama Chanin” way this year. Would you please give me an idea of shipping costs to Canberra, Australia ?
Look for an email from our shipping department in the next day. Thank you for your interest and Happy New Year!
Can you give an estimate of cost to join plus shipping to Europe?
Look for an email from our shipping department about shipping details. Happy New Year!
I’m so incredibly overjoyed with excitement!!!! I nearly screamed out loud. Love the sharing of new patterns!!! I’m going to have to purchase mine in February unfortunately but I’ll catch up to you all!! Extremely giddy for Maggie dress!!! Thanks Natalie and gang for continually just being amazing. Much love from Iowa!
hello I am french and I wanted to know if its possible you send in any country and what is the price in this case
Hi my birthday is coming up and I would really love to join as I have now made around 6 pieces from the latest book and love them all (even the ones that didn’t fit or suit me but have given away to friends) plus loose t-shirt of my own design. My question is what will it cost if I’m in Melbourne, Australia?
Emily from our shipping department will be in touch with you via email about shipping costs. Thanks for your inquiry and Happy (early) Birthday!
Hello! This is such a wonderful idea! Since it is already coming up on the second quarter, what is the policy for joining now? Would you get the first two quarters at the same time? Or would you get the 2017 first quarter instead?
You can join at any time and will receive the previous quarters with your membership. For example, if you subscribe now, you will receive the first and second quarter patterns and materials at the same time.
Do any of the basic projects include stenciling? Or any other embellishment techniques? Or are they all for simple, unadorned garments? Also, can you please give me some idea about the newsletter’s content. Thank you.
Hi Mary Jane,
With a Build a Wardrobe subscription, you will receive a pattern, fabric yardage, and thread each quarter to make a basic, unadorned garment start-to-finish instead of one of our pre-cut and stenciled DIY kits. Nothing for Build a Wardrobe will come stenciled unless you purchase an exclusive Custom DIY kit in your selected style—which is only available to Build a Wardrobe subscribers. If you desire a stenciled and embellished garment, there is a coupon code for 25% off a purchase of stenciling supplies only available to subscribers. We encourage experimentation as you create and have a range of supplies available on our website: http://alabamachanin.com/the-school-of-making/stenciling
The Build a Wardrobe newsletter content varies each month and has included tips and tricks specific to each quarter’s pattern, design inspiration, details about some of our favorite pieces from past collections, and instructions for special techniques.
We hope this helps. Let us know if we can answer any more questions.
Is patch a month club still available?
Hi Mary Ann,
We have both 2014 and 2015 Swatch of the Month Clubs available here: http://alabamachanin.com/swatch-of-the-month-3 and here: http://alabamachanin.com/diy-swatch-of-the-month-2015
You can call us at 256.760.1090 if you have any questions about your order.
Is this offer available to a resident of Australia? (Me!) What would the extra shipping charges be?
I have the books, just need to source the cotton jersey which is ridiculously difficult for a cotton producing country…..
Yes, the 25% off promotion applies to international customers. (We noticed you left your comment on our Build a Wardrobe post. Our Build a Wardrobe subscription is excluded from the promotion.) However, our medium-weight cotton jersey was included in the sale. Someone from our customer service team will be emailing you with more information about shipping charges. They can also help with your order, and we are happy to honor the 25% off discount for you today.
I want to join in 2017. When will it be available and will there be new shapes?
Our 2017 Build a Wardrobe is available now and will begin shipping next week. You can learn more about the silhouettes offered here, and purchase the 2017 subscription here.
Let us know if you have any further questions.
This is great! I would love to be a part of this, if you do it again for 2018?
Subscription to our 2017 Build a Wardrobe is still available through the end of the year. Once you sign up and select your colors, you’ll receive all fabric, thread, and patterns for the first three quarters. Our next pattern—The Drawstring Pant—will launch early October.
Be on the lookout for information about the 2018 Build a Wardrobe program on the Journal in the coming months.