I love mooching around charity shops and vintage fairs to see what fabulous retro fabrics I can find, and I have built up quite a stash, BUT I never seem to have quite the right bit of fabric for the thing I am looking to make. It’s alway not the right colour/fabric type/not enough fabric. So I end up Making Do, and never being quite happy with the results. Or making a total mess of the whole thing as I am trying to squeeze too many pattern pieces onto too little fabric.
I am sure that as I become more experienced, I will be able to work around these issues, and use different fabric to those suggested, or make adjustments in the pattern, but for where my skill level is right now, this isn’t really happening. And it’s a bit dis-heartening, and off-putting.
So I have decided that for my #mmaw2015 challenge, if I don’t have quite the right thing in my stash, I will allow myself the luxury of buying new fabric!
BUT it has to be ethical.
As I said in the previous post, making something by hand is always going to be better than buying something one of the ‘fast fashion’ retailers, but all too often we forget about the environmental impact of the raw ingredients. The cotton, or the wool, and then how it is processed and dyed, and made into the resource that we buy in the shops.
Conventional cotton farming is not good-for the environment, or for those growing it. It uses vast amounts of water and pesticides, and the farmers are often living hand to mouth, as well as exposing themselves to a whole heap of toxins at the same time.
This video by Charlie at Offset Warehouse goes into much more detail about the benefits of organic fabrics over conventional ones:
There is such a fabulous range of organic, eco-friendly and fair-trade fabrics available now, so in my books, there is absolutely no need to buy conventional fabrics.
And there is also a big choice of organic sewing notions too-from thread to pompom trims!
I’ve been hitting the inter web, to scout out the best places to find ethical fabrics and haberdashery, so you don’t have to!
One point I want to make before we start, is that many sites selling organic fabrics and haberdashery supplies seem to be USA based. I have tried to restrict the list to UK companies, as I think that’s where most of my readers are based, and once you factor in flying fabric over from the States, it starts to become a lot less ‘ethical’!
If enough people shout, and tell me whereabouts in the world they live, I will try and put together a global directory (eeeek!)
Stores selling only ethical fabrics
- Offset Warehouse-“Your one stop shop for beautiful, quality eco-fabrics
I LOVE Offset Warehouse! They stock a huge range of eco-friendly fabrics, from cotton, through to denim, fleece, and silks, as well as more unusual fabrics like Banana fabric! In addition to this, they have a fabulous blog, jam-packed full of information about all things eco-sewing.
- Lancaster & Cornish
Based in Cornwall, this online store has a good range of organic printed fabrics, as well as some really cute kits to make your own organic knickers!
- Maud’s Fabric Finds
I came across this fab shop at Kirstie’s Handmade Fair, and it stocks loads of organic and hand-printed fabrics, that you can buy by the metre, or by the fat quarter
- Stitch Organics is a UK based Etsy shop selling fabulous printed and plain organic fabrics
- Warp & Weft
Another UK based Etsy shop, with some lovely printed organic fabrics available by the Fat Quarter
- Organic Cotton.Biz
This online shop sells a super range of organic fabrics, including jersey, fleece and linens
- Fair Trade Fabric
A great shop for quilters, this store has Fat Quarter packs and jelly packs, as well as Fair Trade fabrics available by the metre
Stores selling ethical and conventional fabrics
- M is for Make
Along with conventional fabrics, there is a wide choice of fabulous printed organic cottons on this site
- Cloth House London
A small range of organic fabrics, but some useful ones, like organic denim, if you fancy having a go at making your own jeans!
- Eco Earth Fabrics
Selling a wide range of organic fabrics, as well as nappy making accessories!
This popular online fabric store, also have some lovely plain and printed organics
- Eternal Maker
Another UK based fabric store that stocks a great choice of organic prints
This international site allows you to design and print your own fabrics (and you can choose to print on organic fabric), and also stocks some original and unique designs
Stores selling ethical haberdashery
- Offset Warehouse
There is a great range of organic threads-check out this gorgeous marshamallow colour!
as well as shoulder pads (!) and sustainable fusible interfacing
- Lancaster & Cornish
A range of bamboo silk natural dyed ribbon, as well as these organic pompom trims!
- Maud’s Fabric Finds
Lots of lovely ribbons, like this one from Berisfords, woven in the UK
- Stitch Organics
Organic threads, eco-buttons and even organic zips!
- Warp & Weft
Gorgeous organic cotton lace
- Organic Cotton. Biz
Good range of organic threads, including jumbo cones of black and white!
Wow, who would have guessed there was such a fabulous range of ethical sewing loveliness, available at the click of a button!
If for any reason you can’t find what what you are looking for, or just haven’t got time to wait for an online purchase to arrive, then the next best ‘ethical’ option for buying conventional fabrics and notions, is always your local independent haberdashery! Don’t forget about these guys, and if you have one near you, always choose it over the big multinational craft stores-shopping locally, and keeping money in your local economy is a very valid ethical choice!