Eco fabric dyes are available, but you can also use plants as natural dyes to create stunning colours or 'Shibori' style prints on natural fabric. You don't need to just buy plain, boring beige fabrics to sew organically, the options are endless.
Approximately 3.5 million people make their own clothes in the UK alone. That's 3.5 million people potentially throwing out scrap textiles, which end up in landfill. By applying more conscious thought, we can do our bit to help relieve the pressure on the environment while creating a demand for textiles that improve conditions for farmers and workers.
Home sewing is a fantastic way to make good quality clothing, but just how ethical is the fabric that we're buying to make our garments? And what's the impact of our scrap waste?
It takes vast amounts of water to produce cotton. Approximately 20,000 litres of water is needed to produce 1kg of cotton, which is just one pair of jeans and a cotton t-shirt. Organic cotton uses less water and energy, and creates healthier soils which hold water better, and absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Cotton is grown in hot climates such as India, China, Pakistan or Turkey which are less-developed countries suffering from scarcity of water and the effects of climate change. Unsustainable cotton farming affects farmer's livelihoods and abilities to provide for their families.
Farmers in under-developed countries are controlled by GM cotton seed companies, giving them little to zero choice in how they farm their crops. Farmers often end up with huge debt. Organic cotton does not use GM seeds and does not require use of harmful, expensive pesticides.
Water is often polluted from chemical dyes and pesticides, contaminating soil. It has been reported that 20% of freshwater pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment.*
Polyester fabric is made from fossil fuels and has an extremely high carbon footprint of 9.5 kg per ton of spun fibre. It also has a landfill life of between 20-200 years. However, polyester can be recycled into a near virgin state, which is currently being demonstrated by certain designers in the fashion industry.
Organic, ethical fabric is not expensive. You can find quality fabric that is GOTS certified online and in stores. Check out our resources page for links.
Sustainable sewing is NOT
about reducing your sewing
time. It's about encouraging awareness and simply thinking a little more consciously.
Refashioning existing unwanted clothes using sewing skills is a fantastic way to regenerate your wardrobe sustainably. There are a variety of fantastic blogs & resources online showing you how to make on-trend garments from old clothes.