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Ethical Sewing – ways to be an eco-sewist


When we discuss climate change we tend to think about agriculture and transportation. We are all aware of trying to help the environment by buying organic and locally grown produce and trying to reduce our carbon footprint.

What we very rarely think about is the effect that garment and fabric production is having on the climate too. Modern-day fashion has become so fast, cheap and mass produced, that this enforces cheap labour in the factories and a huge amount of pollution is created through the production and dyeing of fabric.


image from Ethical Sewing.com


image from Sense and Sustainability

But let’s not despair because as sewists we can do our little bit to help. I’m sure that we would all like our world and environment to be a little more sustainable, so whether you’re a dedicated sewer or a weekend dabbler, here are a few simple ways to make your creations a bit more eco-friendly.

Way#1: We can start by sewing with eco-friendly fabrics. Cotton is one of the most water-intensive crops to produce and it’s also dependent on pesticides in order to maintain and increase its yield. To help with this there are some great suppliers out there offering organic cottons and bamboo fabrics: Mauds Fabrics, Off Set Warehouse, Ray Stitch and Truro to name but a few.

Remember, you can also be eco-friendly by giving a new lease of life to charity fabrics or second-hand garments that can be cut or re-made into something new. We have collated some great fabrics finds on our ethical fabric Pinterest board.

Way#2: Use what you already have! Use old scraps of fabrics lying around in your sewing corner to make new projects. Why not seek out patterns that use less than a metre or use your scraps to make a great bag or pillow?


project by Make-it Love-it

Way#3: Be savvy and start a new sewing journey adventure by learning how to upcycle or refashion. Don’t throw out, re-use and  redesign the clothes you haven’t worn for quite a while. Try buying garments from a charity/thrift shop to create an individual design that no one else in the world has? Turn a pair of old denim jeans into an Ipad case or rucksack? The ideas are endless and you could have lots of fun with this whilst developing your sewing skills.

There are some really inspiring blogs and posts to help you along your re-fashioning journey. Some of our favourites are: Makery.uk, Charity Shop Chic, Re-fashion co-op

We have also collated some great ideas on our Pinterest board to help you use your scraps and re-fashion unwanted or charity bought clothes.

Here are some eco-friendly articles to give you a little more insight into thinking ethically when sewing.

Let us know if you’re trying to sew more sustainably or send in your new re-fashion projects. Why not share it with us on our Facebook page too so you can inspire others?

About Sam Sterken

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