Organic or not organic? That’s the question

And I am not talking about fruit or free range chicken, I am talking about fabrics. When we look for a fabric for our next sewing project, we usually have the colour in mind, the material, the amount we need… But do we also think about where that fabric come from, where and how it was printed or if the cotton used is organic? Not usually, right? And that happens to me as well, even though I actually sell organic fabrics. I almost always choose the fabric based on how cute the print is (I know you do as well! 🙂 ), the colour and if it is light or heavyweight.

But, what does a cotton fabric need to be considered organic? Well, it needs to be grown and harvested by methods that do not use toxic pesticides and that it relies on natural methods like crop rotation and cow manure for soil fertility, lengthened growing periods for natural defoliation and hand-picking, which results in less waste. Also, organic fabrics are printed using low impact dyes, so no heavy metals or chemicals are involved (they are more friendly to the skin). And the harvest, dying and all the process should be monitored as well by the Fair Cotton Grower’s Association or any other group that guarantee the rights of workers.

You now may think, ‘ok, the theory looks promising, but how do we know that the fabric we are buying is actually organic?’. Well, you can look for any of these little symbols on the manufacturers website (shops usually say who the producer of the fabric is) and also asking! to know for sure.

Soil Association symbolOEBlended symbolOE100 symbolGots symbol

One of my favourite organic manufacturers is Cloud 9 Fabrics, based in the US and founded by Gina Pantastico and Michelle Engel Bencsko (a fabric designer herself!).

Cloud 9 Fabric owners

Michelle and Gina from Cloud 9 Fabrics

What I love the most is all the amazing surface pattern designers they work with.

Cloud 9 Fabrics website

Some of their collections

And look at this fabric wall at their offices!

Fabric Wall Cloud 9 Fabrics

Dream fabric wall at Cloud 9 Fabrics HQ

Another favourite, and also US based, is Birch Fabrics. I specially like their “Why choose organic” section on their site where they explain everything you need to know about the fabrics they sell.

Birch Fabrics stand

Birch offer lots of cute organic fabrics

Westfalenstoffe in Germany, the Green Style line by Robert Kaufman offering Oeko-Tex100 certified Kona Kotton Solids and the lovely fabrics from Daisy Janie are other producers out there selling to online and brick and mortar fabric shops around the world like Fairtrade Fabric, who works with growers from Guatemala to Vietnam or the Organic Textile Company, that weaves their GOTS Certified organic cotton yarn in Kerala and Turkey.

So what do you consider when buying fabrics? Would you go organic? Share your thoughts below ladies and thanks for the reading!

Ana

(Picture credits: Cloud 9 Fabrics website, Birch Instagram account).

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