After the recent ‘Who made your clothes’ campaign, I’ve been thinking a lot about who the hell makes my fabric? I am a sewer who’s made a pledge to only make my own clothes as a way to avoid ‘fast fashion’ after all. The clothing industry that make ‘fast fashion’ is of course linked very closely to the fabric industry. It’s a no-brainer, but I haven’t really seen a debate about this in the online sewing community (if I’ve missed something, let me know).
The documentary ‘The True Cost’ looks at not only the garment industry in countries like Bangladesh, but also at the incredibly toxic cotton industry in the US and the huge influence and power of GMO a-holes like Monsanto.
The documentary is absolutely nauseating and it’s made me even more resolute to try to have as a sustainable wardrobe as possible. This made me think about where I buy fabric, and how I can make sure that I buy fabric that’s produced in a sustainable, organic way and not harmful to the environment, or the people involved in the production process.
So I’ve done a LOT of googling, and made a list of online fabric companies that are either exclusively organic, or at least provide a selection of organic materials. I thought I’d share this list as a useful resource to all of you fellow sewers. The list is by no means exhaustive (and very Europe and North America-centric…), but it’s at least a good place to start.
If you know of any shops not included on this list – please write a comment below or email me so that we can expand the list! So here we go:
- Offset Warehouse: These guys sell 100% Eco fabric. Lovely website with great information (incl. video’s) about their fabric. They also have a great ‘get involved’ page where you can join their Offset Collective on LinkedIn.
- Ray Stitch: Have a pretty good organic fabric selection – and what’s even better is that it’s the first category on the list of fabric types i.e. they are promoting it which is awesome. Does worldwide shipping.
- Cloth House: Have a small selection of lovely organic cotton on their reasonably new online shop. Their shipping costs are pretty outrageous if you ask me, so hopefully the quality makes up for it!
- Organic Textile Company: Huge range of Eco fabrics, all of it certified organic. If you want shipping outside the EU you need to email them.
- Maud’s Fabric Finds: Sells only ‘eco friendly’ fabrics but not all seem to be organically certified. Great shop though with a lovely selection. They ship worldwide.
- Lebenskleidung: 100% Eco certified textile company. You have to log in to see prices and to purchase anything which is a bit annoying, but otherwise they seem pretty good. Good selection and they ship to quite a few countries.
- Siebenblau: 100% Eco certified fabrics. Really nice website which features photo’s of the production and print processes for some of the fabrics. Ships worldwide.
- NOSH: A Finnish clothing and fabric design company that uses 100% Eco fabrics. Really cute stuff and pretty decent shipping rates to Europe and the US.
- Textilhuset: Limited range and only delivers in Sweden.
- Nordic Naturfiber: Limited range and only delivers in Sweden.
- Stof og Stil: Has an Organic’ section on their site with a sort of decent selection of organic fabrics. It could definitely be better. Don’t seem to deliver outside Denmark.
- Organic Cotton Plus: These guys are 100% organically certified down to their packing – pretty impressive. Awesome website and they deliver worldwide. Super decent pricing and a huge selection.
- Spoonflower: Fabric printing company where you can upload your own fabric designs or buy custom made by other designers. Provide organic options for customers but aren’t 100% Eco. They have an interesting page where they outline how they are working to avoid waste etc.
- HoneyBeGood: 100% Eco fabric retailer with a really fab website. Only ships to limited countries outside the US unfortunately.
- Eden Fabrics: 100% Eco with a nice but limited collection of fabrics. Not sure what their shipping policy is.
- Cedar House Fabrics: Smallish fabric company with a lovely website and 100% Eco fabrics. Stocks a limited number of fabric designers like Cloud9, Amy Butler and more. Cute stuff.
- Nature’s Fabrics: Family run company with worldwide shipping. Their website states that ‘most of their fabrics’ are organically certified.
- Fabric.com: At the bottom of the list because of their limited selection of Eco fabrics. Stock organic cotton fabrics that you can find here.
- Simplifi Fabric: Lovely online shop with a good selection of 100% Eco fabrics, a lot of them produced in the US or Canada. Ships internationally.
- Rawganique: Sells a very limited number of fabrics but their stuff is about how Eco and ethically produced it can get. All fabrics and grown, woven and knitted on site. They are also a self-sustainable farm and raise rescued animals. The real deal people. Read more about them here. Sell a wide range of products and provide worldwide shipping.
- Efforts Hempwear: Sells hemp and bamboo fabric and clothing and also do wholesale. 35% of their products are made in Canada and everything is 100% Eco. They only seem to ship to the US and Canada which is a shame!
It is worth pointing out that a lot of other online fabric shops also stock small selections of Eco fabrics but unfortunately they don’t make it easy to find. That is you have to search for it rather than have a separate category for organic fabrics.
Btw – when I talk about organic certification above, I mean GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) certification.
Finally – it’s worth pointing out the the most sustainable thing you can do as a sewer is to upcycle old clothes and use vintage materials such as sheets etc (and Refashion!!!). Waste not, want not….
I can’t say for sure that I’ll only by organic fabrics from now on, but this exercise has at least given me a load of good resources.
Hope you found this list useful! And again, if you think I’ve missed a brilliant online shop let me know.