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: 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.


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 with in Fort Knox Studios at 4255 N. Knox Ave, #Suite 175.

By Public Transit - Both the Montrose Blue Line Station and the Mayfair Metra Station is just around the corner on Montrose Ave. AIBI can also be reached by the Cicero Bus (going North-South) or the Montrose Bus (going East-West).

By Car - AIBI is located just south of the 90-94 split, and can be accessed from the Montrose, Wilson, Cicero Ave, or Irving Park exits of the Kennedy Expressway. 

FREE Parking is available on the street, or in the Ft. Knox Parking lot on the south side of the building.

The main Ft. Knox entrance is located at the back of the parking lot, however the closest entrance to the Fashion Lab is the Tenant Entrance located off the street, next to the loading dock and the UPS drop box. This is the door we prefer you to use. When you get there, call the office number (312-836-1041) and we'll come open the outer door and show you how to get to the Lab. 

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 memberservices@aibi.com 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

  • Measuring Tapes

  • Pattern Weights

  • Pressing Tools

  • 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.