Whether sewing new garments for myself or creating samples of my sewing patterns for my halfmoon ATELIER sewing pattern label, I do my best to use re-purposed, organic and/or sustainably and ethically produced fabrics. When I got back in to sewing back in 2012, I wasn't able to find any of these fabrics in person, and also found it a challenge to source them online. So that you don't have to search as far and wide as I did, I created this long and growing list below of online fabric shops that claim to sell exclusively organic and sustainable fabrics.
Looking for something to sew? My sewing patterns are versatile and timeless, which is an important aspect in creating a more sustainable wardrobe.
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What do I mean by "sustainable" and "ethical" fabric when considering shops for the list?
When I say "sustainable" and "ethical", I am generally referring to fabrics that were produced in a manner that was respectful of people and planet as verified by internationally recognized certification, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Because I am in no way an expert on textiles or sustainability, I tend to rely on certification as this covers the entire process, ensuring that the workers were taken care of as well as the planet. However, certification is not fault-free, and there is no guarantee that the metrics used or prioritized by the certifying organization meets your idea of what is sustainable. Some of the shops listed below also carry un-certified organics. This is also important because achieving certification is an expensive and intensive process, making it out of reach for many small-scale textile producers.
We often think of cotton when talking "sustainable" and "ethical" fabrics, but other examples are flax (linen) and hemp, as these come from plants that require little water or pesticides and regenerate easily (as opposed to cotton, which is apparently more agriculturally intense).
Fabric that has been "recovered" or "reclaimed" from old or unworn clothes is even more sustainable and ethical than purchasing fabric by the yard. It's also far cheaper - think up-cycling and refashioning!
I also consider "deadstock" fabric to be sustainable, as this is fabric that was over-produced or over-ordered by designers. So while the content of the fabric may not be organic, for example, this is kind of like using the remnants or scraps of designers in our home sewing.
Why do I choose these fabrics? So many reasons!
+ Because I can't stand the idea of hurting somebody so that I can have something. I do not claim perfection in my fabric stash or wardrobe, but it is something that is always on my mind.
+ Because placing strict restrictions on the type of fabric I allow myself to purchase means that, although my fabric is more expensive per yard, I don't spend a lot on fabric in a year and maintain a very small stash.
+ I am pretty minimal and live in a location that basically has one season. This means that the few clothes I do have never get a break and therefore need to be high quality.
+ Clothing cannot be recycled where I live. As we tend to wear things until they're nearly threadbare in my family (or stained beyond repair), I want to make sure that our clothing is relatively burn-safe (waste does not go into landfills here but gets burned).
Would you like to be more sustainable in your sewing practice, but don't know where to start?
+ MEND: mend old clothes, rather than replacing them, whenever possible
+ REUSE: up-cycle old and unworn clothes to create something new and unique!
+ THRIFT: if you have access to thrift stores, check to see if they have fabrics (including sheets!) that suit your style
+ BUY: purchase the highest quality and most sustainably produced fabrics that fit within your family budget.
For more information on the sustainability of fabrics, I highly recommend starting with this article and then just spending some time clicking around on the Time to Sew blog by Kate. Kate is also very interested in sustainability in sewing and is an excellent researcher and writer on the subject. She also happens to be a friend of mine (a long time internet friend who I finally got to meet in person in September 2019!).
If you're looking for a place to source fabric where sustainable is the standard, the following shops claim to sell exclusively organic and sustainably produced fabrics.
(P.S. It's totally cool if you want to buy something already made. If you'd still like to try and shop more sustainable options, head over here.)
|company (retail)||ships from||eco-fabric focus|
|Alexa Organics *||USA||knits + DIY baby accessories|
|Allgots||Sweden||knits for babies|
|Amandine Cha||France||modern wovens + knits|
|A Thrifty Notion||USA||thrifted + rescued fabrics|
|Aura Herbal Textiles||India||naturally dyed + printed wovens|
|Aurora Silk||USA||peace silk|
|Bamboo Fabric Store||Australia||wovens + knits|
|Biostoffen||NL||knits + quilting cotton for kids|
|Bio Tissus||France||wovens + knits|
|Bulk Hemp Warehouse||USA||hemp wovens, knits + notions|
|Cedar House Fabrics||USA||wovens + knits for kids|
|Conscious Clothing||USA||organic linen, cotton + hemp remnants|
|Cousu Bio||France||wovens, knits + notions for garments + homeware|
|Earth Indigo||Canada||neutral wovens + knits|
|Elvelyckan Design||Sweden||fun printed knits|
|FABCYCLE||Canada||fabric recycling, deadstock, vintage patterns|
|Fil Etik||France||wovens + knits|
|Gaia Conceptions||USA||natural dyed knits|
|Georgette||Belgium||fabrics, patterns + notions|
|Hemp Basics||USA||hemp wovens|
|Honey Be Good||USA||wovens + knits|
|Isee Fabrics||USA||USA-milled organics|
|Lebens Kleidung||Germany||modern, innovative wovens + knits|
|Lillestoff||Germany||wovens + knits|
|Matchpoint Fabric||Canada||fashion industry deadstock + sustainably produced|
|Naturellement Chanvre||France||hemp wovens|
|Nature's Fabrics||USA||knits (specialized in cloth diapering)|
|Nelly Morelley||Germany||wovens + knits|
|Nuno Organics||Malaysia||wovens + knits for kids|
|Offset Warehouse||UK||modern, innovative wovens + knits|
|Organic Cotton Plus||USA||wovens, knits, natural dyes + yarn|
|Organic Fabric Company *||USA||wovens, knits + DIY baby accessories|
|Organic Textile Company||UK||wovens + knits for garments + homeware|
|Pure Coverz||NL||wovens, knits + notions for garments + homeware|
|Queen of Raw||USA||unused fashion industry textiles|
|Rawganique||Canada & USA||ropes + yarns, some fabrics|
|Revival Fabrics||USA||original vintage fabrics|
|Seidentraum||Germany||woven + knit peace silks|
|Sew 4 Planet||NL||knits + jerseys|
|Sew Organic Fabric||USA||colorful wovens + knits|
|Shop Well Fibre||USA||curated collection of thrifted fabrics|
|Siebenblau||Germany||modern, innovative wovens + knits|
|Simplifi *||Canada & USA||wovens, knits + patterns|
|Stoffbotin||Germany||wovens + knits|
|Studio Spatz||NL||modern print knits|
|The Bamboo Fabric Store||USA||natural colored bamboo wovens + knits|
|Tissus Nature||France||wovens, knits + notions|
|Truecolours Textiles||NL||eco-friendly fabrics made in India|
|Two Sisters Ecotextiles||USA||upholstery + sturdier wovens|
|Vida Textiles||New Zealand||wovens, homeware + upholstery|
|Voladora Vintage||USA||deconstructed vintage kimono fabric|
|Wazoodle Fabrics||USA||innovative waterproof + activewear fabric|
|Zonen 09||Belgium||fabric + (hip!) kids sewing patterns|
*indicates affiliate link
|company (wholesale)||ships from||eco-fabric focus|
|Bo Weevil||NL||fashion, wellness + promotional bags|
|Chat Chocolat||Belgium||stylishly printed knits|
|Ecological Textiles||NL||fashion + interior|
|Eva Mouton||Belgium||printed knits for kids|
|Hem Mills||USA||USA manufactured hemp textiles|
|Lebens Kleidung||Germany||fashion + elastics|
|Pickering International||USA||fashion, trims + buttons|
|Spiritex Organic Cotton Fabric||USA||USA grown and produced organic cotton knits|
|Vivify Textiles||Australia||innovative swimwear, silks, linen + cotton|
|Council for Textile Recycling||USA + Canada||find textile recycling locations near you|
|FABSCRAP||NYC||recycle fabric scrap in NYC|
|Recycle Now||UK||find textile recycling locations near you|
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