Arts & Crafts Magazine

Earth Day Sewing

By Sewchicago @sewchicago
Earth Day

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Happy Earth Day! Are you expecting me to tell you that today is the perfect day to make a tote bag from a t-shirt? C’mon, we can be more imaginative than that, don’t you think?

Eco-Friendly Fabrics

Bamboo knit dress
How about making something from an earth-friendly fiber? Such as a non-petroleum product. Or an organic fiber. Bamboo knits are more widely available these days; Vogue Fabrics (an ASG Supporting Retailer) has a selection of bamboo knits that have a lovely hand and come in a variety of colors. I recently made some scarves and a convertible dress out of their bamboo knit. It was easy

To learn more about eco-friendly fabrics, here are a couple of links:

  • Vogue Fabrics’ blog, “Organic and Eco-Friendly Fabrics”,
  • Green Living, “A Guide to Natural and Eco-Friendly Fabrics: Get to know green clothing inside and out”
  • Natural Environment, “17 Eco-Friendly Fabrics”

However, do be careful in trusting everything labeled as “organic.” Some practices are still not as regulated, so some of the so-called organics may not be as organic as they claim to be and may just be a way to inflate the price/yard. Unfortunately, as a consumer, we don’t have a way to ask for verification.


Reconstructed Outfit by Alla

Material Girls' Alla shows her reconstruction challenge outfit

Upcycling. Recycling. Reconstructed clothes. Altered Couture. Call it what you may, you could be earth-friendly by taking an existing item and making it into something new or embellish something you have to give it new life. This isn’t new; generations have done it before us, but the current trend is to call it “Altered Couture.” Kinda nicer than “I recycled this old shirt,” don’t you agree?

Here’s an interview about eco-sewing from with Ruth Singer. Ruth Singer is the author of Sew Eco, sewing sustainable and re-used materials and Sew it Up, a modern manual of practical and decorative sewing (called The Sewing Bible in US/Canada). Ruth is a textile artist and designer, creating one-off exhibition pieces using her large stash of sustainable and vintage fabrics. She also writes and designs projects for magazines and books, and teaches extensively in the UK.

Earth Day Sewing Projects

I don’t think you have to go so far as to only use a treadle sewing machine, but maybe Earth Day is the opportunity to catch up on hand-sewing…no electricity needed to run a sewing machine. How about hand-picking a zipper instead of machine sewing? Nancy S. from SewChicago NG said her grandmother used to press her hand-sewn aprons by folding neatly; placing under a book on a chair; and sitting on it during supper. Talk about no carbon footprints!

Still want to bust out your sewing machine? How about making a stuffed globe or an endangered animal.

  • Globe: Use this pattern for your basic ball shape, then trace the continents from a map onto felt and appliqué to your ball.
  • Endangered Animal: Search the internet for free animal patterns or check your library or bookstore for “Wild and Wonderful Fleece Animals” for a fun selection

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Follow our tweets today for more Earth Day-inspired projects and ideas— including the obligatory t-shirt tote.
Happy Earth Day Sewing!

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