Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”  

–Desmond Tutu 

In these unprecedented times, hope has become a pivotal emotion for all of us. There is so much wrapped up in our hope for the future, our hope for change, our hopes for well-being. Hope has always been a driving force in Alabama Chanin and The School of Making, where—against all odds—we were able to build our business in a rural county, using hand embroidery techniques.  

Artisan embroidery has always played a vital and meaningful role at Alabama Chanin and The School of Making. From a simple monogram on a scarf to elaborate stitching on jackets and dresses, our artisans use this hand sewing skill passed down from generations of their families to craft truly unique and heirloom pieces. For so many of our makers, this skill is gradually learned over a lifetime, refined and expanded with each new project. Embroidery allows one to customize even the most basic of garments into a reflection of themselves and their own hopes.  

The School of Making’s newest project, The Shirt Bundle, was inspired by a shirt of Natalie’s that, with a disappearing ink pen, she wrote a simple one-word decree on the cuff and embroidered over it: Hope. One word can convey so much. A sentiment. A moment in time. A fierce belief. A thought made tangible with needle and thread.  

A picture containing table, sitting, green, sign

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Use any shirt in your closet or make your own shirt from The School of Making with The Shirt Bundle and use a backstitch (see illustration above) to customize any garment or project. Our hope is when you pull this shirt from your closet in the years to come that you will be reminded of your life at the moment you stitched these pieces together and of the resiliency of your words. 

The Shirt Bundle includes The Jumpsuit Pattern (with The Shirt, Shirt Dress, and Jumpsuit variations), two yards of fabric, one pack of Button Craft thread, and one spool of Embroidery Floss. Pair it with The Geometry of Hand-Sewing: A Romance in Stitches and Embroidery from Alabama Chanin and The School of Making for inspiration and in-depth instruction on a variety of embroidery techniques and stitches. 


Pattern variation – The Shirt 
Sleeve variation – Long Sleeve 
Fabric weight – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey 
Fabric color – Natural 
Button Craft thread – Cream 
Embroidery Floss – Natural 
Embroidery technique for ‘hope’ – Backstitch 
Knots – Inside 
Seams – Inside Felled 

P.S.: Photo at top “There is Hope – Dublin – County Dublin – 1996″ by Bernd Weisbrod from his book Irish Moments.

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