What's it like to work with AIBI?
We have a lot to offer. So sometimes it can be hard to decide where to start.
Check out some of our frequently asked questions, to see how (and where) AIBI can work for you. Don't see the answer you need? Send us your questions!
Q: Do I have to be a Member to use the Fashion Lab?
A: No, you do not have to be an AIBI Member to use the resources in the Fashion Lab. However Members DO get a discount on Day Passes, on top of 1 FREE Day Pass a month. You can purchase your Day Pass here.
Q: I bought a Day Pass to the Fashion Lab… Now what?
A: Congratulations and welcome! If this will be your first time using the AIBI Fashion Lab, the first half hour or so of your time will be spent in an Orientation.
In the Orientation, we will cover the policies and safety procedures, and establish which of the resources you are confident in and which you might need tutoring in before using (i.e. the industrial sewing machines and the Gerber software).
You will also be asked to sign a User Agreement (indicating that you have read and understand the policies), an Intake Form (which helps us with grant reporting), and a Liability Waiver.
Q: I bought a Day Pass! Now how to do I get to the Lab...?
A: The AIBI Fashion Lab is located within the ICNC Make City Incubator at 2021 W Fulton St (Suite K-111) here in the near west side of Chicago. The closest intersection is Damen and Fulton.
By Public Transit: There is a bus stop (#50) at the corner of Damen and Fulton. A green line stop at Lake and Damen should start construction in 2022.
From 290: Exit at Damen, and go north 8 blocks (past the United Center), turn left on Fulton Ave.
From 90/94: Exit at Division, and go west on Division almost 1 mile. Then turn left on Damen for 1 mile, turn right on Fulton St.
FREE Parking is available on the street, but it can be quite busy. Please allow yourself enough time to find parking and arrive at the Lab for your appointment.
When you arrive, please use the door marked 2031 W Fulton St. That is the door closest to the Fashion Lab. Please use the call box next to the door, which will let us buzz you in. Our unit is located directly across from the large exterior garage door. If you have any questions, or cannot find us, call the office number (312-836-1041).
Q: If I have a Membership + Monthly Unlimited Pass, does that cover bringing in someone to work with/for me?
A: No. A Pass (Day or Monthly) only covers one person working in the lab. A member can purchase a day pass for an additional employee at the non-member rate.
Q: What kind of machines do you have in the Lab?
A: We have several different industrial sewing machines in the AIBI Fashion Lab, all of which are available under a Day or Monthly Pass, provided you have a basic proficiency in operating it. A full list of the machines and their descriptions can be found on the AIBI Fashion Lab page.
Q: What do I do if the machine I’m using doesn’t work properly?
A: If you are in the Lab with a Monitor or AIBI Staff member, please alert them right away. It may be something as simple as adjusting the needle or rethreading the machine. But if it is not, you may need to switch to using one of the other machines until it can be corrected.
If you are in the Lab with a Monthly Pass, during off hours, please 1) stop using the machine, 2) place the “Emergency Sign” on top of the machine that is not working, and 3) email firstname.lastname@example.org to alert us to the trouble.
Q: Do I need to bring my own... (thread, machine needles, shears, etc)?
A: It is a good idea to bring your own tools, especially those you know you will need to complete your tasks.
There are some tools at the Lab that are available for general use, such as:
Rulers for pattern making
A small amount of pins, tailors chalk, and other miscellaneous tools
all-purpose polyester thread cones in black and white
Bobbins to fit the each sewing machine
There are a few items that can be borrowed from the AIBI Lab monitor:
Motorized Rotary Cutter (ideal for cutting multiple layers at one time)
Miscellaneous Office Supplies
If you are cutting, you will want to bring your own fabric scissors, shears, and/or rotary cutter. We cannot guarantee what we will have on hand, and how sharp they will be.
You will also want to bring thread to match whatever you are working on. We do not have colors to match your material. We do have extra empty bobbins available at cost, for you to purchase when matching thread colors.
Q: Is there anywhere I can store my materials or projects?
A: Storage space is limited at the Fashion Lab. There are a few lockers for personal storage, but they are limited to Monthly Pass holding members. All materials must be taken with you at the end of the day.
Q: I’m worried about coming in to use the Lab because of the pandemic. What are you doing to keep people safe?
A: While we are allowing people in to the Fashion Lab to work, it is limited to 4 people (other than staff) to allow everyone to safely distance as they work. Masks are required throughout the building, and while working with others in the Lab. Hand sanitizer and cleaning products are also readily available.
Forgot your mask? We have them on hand in the Lab, and you can purchase them online.