Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Whoops! Belated Go-Green Tuesday!

(Let's rewind for a moment, all the way back to yesterday, when I forgot to put this post up!)

Go-Green Tuesdays aren't all about body lotions and shampoos - because 'going green' is so much more than that, it's a change in your lifestyle completely to suit both yourself and the environment. As crafters, we have to be conscious of the materials we're using too.

This is a lot of what Pocket Pocket is about - being conscious about materials and looking for ones that are low-impact on the environment. But we're not the only company that is trying to do this - there are huge groups of people who are working daily to provide crafters with what they need to make beautiful, eco-friendly things. So today, I'm going to share some awesome eco-friendly fabric sources with you! The most important thing you should remember is that everyone's level of participation is gradual, so some of the fabrics (though not most) have notes included that discuss certain questionable fibers.

Modern Fabrics is a company that buys cuttings (which can be huge, mind you) from larger textile and upholstery companies. So, they're already recycling - but in addition, some of the fabrics they offer have aspects of environmental consciousness. I've put three examples below so you can see some of the gems they have in their online store.

Left: Carnegie Pebble, 100% post-consumer recycled polyester
Right: Luna Textiles Charm, 100% bamboo
Lower: Knoll in the Loop Nectar, 53% wool, 41% rayon, 6% nylon

Many of you may have noticed the last product, which includes rayon and nylon. Rayon comes from wood pulp, but does require significant processing to get to fabric production, including methods that have long been considered air and water pollutants. However, big steps have been taken to improve the production of this manufactured regenerated fiber - in the US, many producers are working towards closed chemical systems that recycle any waste the factory would put off, and re-use water so that they aren't putting it into the environment. Nylon, on the other hand, is entirely synthetic and I try to avoid it wherever possible, since it is produced with a lot of chemical processing and uses fossil fuel - petroleum - as the base material. Since this fabric only contains 6% nylon and is already recycled, I have still included it in the list.

If you are a textile designer, you've probably already heard about Spoonflower. This printing company takes your digital images and prints them on fabric - a great boon to those of us who want to have fabrics that match our collections exactly. While some of Spoonflower's fabric options are not remotely eco-conscious, please note that they also offer printing on Organic Cotton Knit fabric, Bamboo Cotton-Rayon fabric, and Linen-Cotton Canvas. The coolest thing about Spoonflower is that if you aren't a designer, you can enter something in the search box and come up with neat prints already for sale on whatever fabric you choose! I searched one of my favorite people - Heidi Kenney from My Paper Crane - and got several of the fabrics she's been recently showing on her blog.

Etsy also provides a wealth of awesome organic and natural textiles.

Daisy Janie features textiles designed by Jan DiCinto, who has her work professionally printed on organic fabrics. While a little pricey, the fabric is totally worth the cost - it is supremely beautiful. I bought some of her Boxwood Parkside print as a fat quarter to use in a school project last year, and was enamored with both the hand of the cotton sateen and the quality of the print. The print pictured to the left is on heavyweight cotton canvas duck, which is not organic, but is all-natural cotton. It is called 'Audrey'.

Cicada Studio doesn't have organic fabrics, but they do specialize in great prints on linen and on linen/cotton blends, making them all natural. The sophisticated whimsy of these prints make them remarkably versatile as apparel, housewares, and even toys. I have long been a fan of the Winter Foxes print, on 100% linen.

The newest series of prints by Cicada Studio features classic geometric designs that just scream to be made into dresses and jackets.

Last, but definitely not least, Betz White fabrics are all-organic and remarkably colorful. I know they'd make a fabulous quilt because I am always drooling over her fat-quarter packs. Her new Indian Summer collection is utterly gorgeous, and she's written a book - Sewing Green - that you may have heard of on several blogs.

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