Craft, stitchin' and sustainable living

Monday, August 13, 2012

On choosing ethical fabric

Today I started cutting out a new pattern - the very excellent looking Pleated Pants from Papercut Patterns (here's hoping mine turn out just as excellent).  The fabric is nothing special - cheap suiting from one of those large chain fabric stores.  I went into the store to find a colour fasting product (which they didn't have) and came out with two metres of this fabric for around $4 per metre.

As I cut into the fabric I had mixed feelings.  One of the main reasons I make my own clothes is because of the horrible effects that the fashion industry often has on people, animals and the environment.  By making my own clothes I know that no one has been treated unethically in the process, and there was no packaging or shipping needed.  But the problem is that I'm still making these clothes from fabric that I don't know the origin of.

Who produced this fabric?  In which country?  Were they paid a fair wage?  Did the production of the fabric pollute a natural environment?  I have no idea.

It's sometimes difficult to find ethically made fabric - be it fair trade or environmentally friendly or both.  So I've decided to start a list of websites where ethical fabric can be bought - you can see it on the right side of my blog.  I'd love for you to share with me any companies that have ethical fabric - just comment here and I will add them to the list.

So far I have:

Some of these companies I have supported previously, others are new to me but I will make a real effort to support them in the future.

Do you know of others?  Please add them here!

Please share any ethical fabric websites that you know of!


  1. great idea, great resource. here's what i know...

    Melissa Bombardiere
    maze & vale was really good - but looks like they are in the process of making changes to their website.
    Pippijoe have an eco-friendly fabric section.

    that's all i got for now :)

  2. So glad you posted about this as I have often wondered too! I've done quite a lot of altering of existing clothes in order to avoid buying new but the lure of some gorgeous material is sometimes just too strong for me...I shall be keeping my eyes peeled for ethically sourced fabric from now on.

  3. You're missing a big one: (all ethical!! Including the lining and buttons and stuff - such a cool resource)

  4. Some of my favourite fabrics on and to sew have come from op shops, not just from the remnants bins, but from actual garments. I bought a 100 per cent silk shirt this week that I will turn into a top for summer.
    Glad to hear you're a Feast reader too. Have you made any of the recipes? Successes?

  5. Thanks so much for your awesome recommendations guys - I am adding them to the list now!