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a trip to Alabama Chanin

 Hi there. It's been a while. Didn't mean to go on mute, but some things happened over the last year or two. Anyway!

I finally paid Alabama Chanin a visit. I've wanted to go for years, and finally reached out to them to sign up for a Studio Day and embroidery workshop while I was sitting in a high school gym in Lynn recovering from my first Covid shot. Definitely a bucket-list thing. I would have signed up for their three-day workshop in May, but it happened to coincide with the date of my second shot. :(

It was a bit nerve-wracking -- only my second trip since 2019, going to a new place and all that. I went with a friend from my stitching group, and we'd never traveled together before. 

We had a great time, though. It was an amazing three days! We landed in Nashville on a Wednesday, drove straight to AC, and spent the rest of the afternoon looking around and trying stuff on. Thursday was our Studio Day, where they let you focus on whatever you want. We toured the factory and learned how to stencil (Iona, their stenciling instructor, was SO great -- she actually positioned my hand and showed me how to spray; I feel much better about using an airbrush now). Then we had a fitting session and then spent the afternoon learning couching, relief applique, ribbon embroidery, stitching on gathers and other techniques I really wanted to see in person. It was a bit of an overstuffed day (my fault; I wanted everything and the kitchen sink), but everyone there was super-helpful and kind. 

We enjoyed the embroidery workshop on Friday too -- a bit of a slower vibe and a nice change of pace. We did a second factory tour with the group (fine with me -- I kept noticing new things; I could have spent all day back there!) They ordered us lunch both days and totally accommodated my request for a vegetarian meal, no problem. I'm still dreaming about the tofu. 

Things that surprised me while we were there:

  1. They’ll custom-fit you for kits and keep that info on file so you can order them later (I was fitted for an Ezra coat -- so glad I did that; I fell between 3 sizes -- and a Factory Dress). They’ll also custom-fit you for clothes from the Collection. 
  2. They can pull out old stencils and make kits for you. I’ve always been interested in the Check stencil -- which is from 2014; they don't offer the physical version anymore -- and was able to order a Factory Dress kit with it. 
  3. The DIY section with samples made up is pretty extensive — you can find just about anything and try it on. They’ll also custom-make you the DIY clothes if you want. I ordered the Drawstring Skirt (because I unexpectedly fell in love with it and will wear the crap out of it, but also so I can see how they made it up, for future versions). I also ordered the Josephine coat, which I loooooved (it's their factory uniform and has two sets of pockets!)

We stayed at the Marriott, which was great, aside from the night we went to the rotating restaurant for dinner and had to walk down 25 flights of stairs when the fire alarm went off (long story). But that pool...! Best hotel pool ever. 

Anyway, you came for pictures, right? I have a big post up on the FB AC Stitchalong group with tons of photos, but here are a few.

The shop/Collection (I loved the lights -- they had cotton jersey ropes hanging up too):

The DIY section, with kit samples made up (I loved the Car Coat):

DIY garments to try on (just one rack out of many):

Samples. They had tons of sample books, and I didn't have a chance to go through them all:

A few shots from class:

Finally, a couple of people asked me on Facebook if I had any suggestions on how to maximize time during a Studio Day. My big suggestion: Come a day early to try things on, look at swatches, and get fitted for kits, if that's something you want to do. I honestly could have spent an entire extra day just looking at swatch books.

Oh yeah -- we spent one day in Nashville on our way out. I have NEVER seen so many bachelorette parties in one place. My favorite photo:

That's it for now!


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