Sewing your own wardrobe is great fun and environmentally conscious. Especially if you recycle, up-cycled or repair clothes yourself. But how do you know fabrics have been produced environmentally-friendly? After all, you need fabrics, linings and interfacing fabrics to create your own clothes and you actually know very little about them. Wool always looks 'environmentally conscious' and neoprene, for example, not at all. But is that really so? We have made a list of The Best Sustainable Fabrics!
The photos in this blog are mainly green and about butterflies. Why, you may ask? This is mainly because 'green' is of course the metaphor and symbol of the environment, sustainability and environmental awareness. And butterflies? Because we think they are so beautiful, because they are such wonders of nature and because they seem so fragile.
The diversity of insects and insects in general is rapidly declining. What can we do about it? Be careful about the things you are buying. Because everything has to be produced and most producers do not care about 'being green'. Fortunately, there are more and more products, companies and technologies which are more concerned about the nature and are producing their products as environmentally-friendly as possible.
Making your own clothes is nice and sustainable!
We are promoting 'sewing is fun' many times before at Sewing Chanel-Style. The reasons are known: you do not easily throw away a clothing item which is made with love, time and attention. Sewing your own clothes is also great because you have the possibility to create them perfectly fitting. And we make the most beautiful things of fabric leftovers!
There are many more arguments to mention. Local production is always better than buying mass-produced clothing and having it transported from another part of the world.
As a seamstress you often need fabrics and not every fabric is labeled 'sustainable'. Sometimes you need these 'bad fabrics' to make a sewing project. Fortunately, nowadays you can often choose alternatives and go for sustainable fabrics. There are beautiful fabrics for sale that are durable. Brand new fabrics and some of the oldest fabrics we have known since mankind.
Abaca is an unknown fabric in the fashion world, but will play an important role in the future. The fabric comes from a large type of banana tree that does not produce fruit, but can be pulverized into a fiber: manilla hemp. The fabric is very strong and lasts a long time. The fabric also breathes very well.
The so-called 'peace silk' is made by silk caterpillars that have first been given the chance to become butterflies (in contrast to other types of silk in which the caterpillars die during the silk production process). The production of the silk therefore takes longer and the silk is more expensive. But the silk is beautiful and animal-friendly! The silk is also increasingly called: 'Vegan silk'.
Bamboo is hot and bamboo is very popular. Wherever the 'Bamboo' label appears, appreciation for the product is increasing. Whether these are bamboo men's underpants or bamboo t-shirts. Bamboo is very popular and is used more and more. Bamboo is environmentally conscious and sustainable because it is a very strong plant that grows quickly, is resistant to many diseases (no pesticides needed!) And it requires few extra chemicals to transform into a beautiful base for many types of fabric.
Bamboo is used in tricot, jersey, fleece, cotton and even in viscose jersey. Bamboo also has very fine properties, namely:
Most people know hemp offers more than just the basis for a drug. But we always keep associating hemp with drugs and jute-like substances. The opposite is true. Hemp is a strong fabric that will last for years and is four times stronger than cotton. The hemp plant has a long strong fiber structure which makes the fabric so strong. You hardly need to iron clothes made from hemp and you can wash it as often as you want.
It's as if the fabric gets softer the more you wash it. Hemp fabrics often have natural colors but can be dyed just as well. The fabric is also anti-bacterial, absorbs moisture quickly and breathes well. The fabric keeps you cool in summer and winter. It even blocks a little UV radiation! Hemp uses only 3% of all the water required to produce cotton. That is also a very nice quality to be nice and sustainable.
Hemp is almost indestructible and should be much more appreciated.
Burlap - Hessian - Crocus - Jute
Many names for the same fabric: burlap! Burlap is a fiber made from vegetable raw materials and such as Bamboo and Hemp: strong, versatile and affordable.
Jute is suitable for multiple end results except for jute/burlap bags. While jute grows (fast!), It purifies the air and the fibers can be combined with many other raw materials. Jute is ideal for making carpets, furnishing fabrics and can also be used for clothing.
And anyone who loves making hats knows that jute (the slightly finer stuff) can also be used as a base for hats and intermediate material for hats.
Kapok comes from the cellulose of the kapok tree and is silky, soft and hypoallergenic. Kapok is mixed with other raw materials because it is not a substance on its own. It is used as a filling (fiberfill) for pillows, mattresses and furniture filling. It insulates and can even be used as an alternative for medical purposes, replacing absorbent cotton.
Kapok is environmentally friendly because it is completely natural. It can be reused many times without deforming or wearing out.
Linen is not only natural but also has a very natural look. It wrinkles a lot, but strangely enough this is also chic, because everyone knows this chic blazer or this beautiful suit is made of real linen. Linen is ideal for the summer because it is airy and breathable. Linen comes from flax and can grow anywhere. It also requires less water than cotton. And because it can also grow in Europe, it does not need to be transported as far. A big eco-friendly plus!
Linen is as old as the road to Methuselah and has never been out of style. A classic and we love linen!
This fabric-substance is a natural fiber from pineapple plant / tree. It is made into a luxurious fabric that is softer than hemp and shiny as silk. Pina clothing is lightweight and low maintenance. Pina comes from the Philippines and must be transported. A downside, despite the fact that the fabric is very natural. You don't hear much about Pina in our fabric stores. Often the fiber is mixed with other raw materials to form a different type of fabric.
Piña-tex is the leather variant and is used for shoes and bags. It looks like leather, but is therefore a 'vegan' leather.
Ramie is a flower and resembles cotton and linen. However, it is stronger and the crop requires less chemicals both to grow and to produce dust. It is a very old crop and is also called 'China linen' or 'grass linen'.
Ramie is extremely strong and has many positive properties: it retains its shape, it prevents wrinkles and has a silky shine. It is increasingly used to mix with other substances. Ramie is completely biodegradable! Ramie is often categorized under 'linen'.
Tencel, Lyocell or Rayon
Tencel sounds very chemical and new, but it is not. Other names for Tencel: Lyocell or Rayon. Tencel is a cellulose made from wood pulp from trees. It is produced in an environmentally friendly manner and already has one of the few substances with a closed production loop. This means that it is completely recyclable and there is no waste. It is ideal for clothing: it hardly creases, it looks chic and feels great on the skin.
It is the latest fabric that will become more and more popular (and more affordable)!
Organic quality labelled
Fabrics with an organic label are also environmentally friendly. This is often mentioned on cotton and sometimes on other types of fabrics. There are various quality marks such as ECO, BIO, Vegan and Fairtrade. As a consumer you can assume that those brand names are good.
Recycled fabrics are of course always environmentally friendly. They start a second or perhaps a third life. Regardless of whether they are produced in an environmentally friendly way, buying recycled fabrics is of course a good thing.
Do you know more sustainable fabrics? Please let us know and we will gladly complete our list!