Welcome back to the blog! Earth Month is just days away from being over, and as we round out a month full of sustainable sewing tips, sourcing fabric, and scrappy projects that use your scraps, I wanted to share one last post. If you’ve been a follower of mine for a few years now, you may have seen my shift from an LTK girl to your local Sustainable Bestie. After working in the fashion world as a technical designer where I was ordering 5-10 samples almost every day, I realized that I had a HUGE impact on the waste generated by the fashion industry.
The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, with a significant impact on the environment. However, with the growing awareness of environmental issues, sustainability has become a crucial topic for the fashion industry. We as the fashion industry have the opportunity to take a lead in promoting sustainable practices and protecting the environment. Whether that is through consumption, fabric choice, or deciding to shop your closet or stash instead of the store.
My #MeMade pants for a conference I spoke at!
Booties that you can change the heels for a new look, paired with my great grandma’s blouse, alongside my corduroy pants I made for the conference! The perfect head to toe sustainable look.
Why is sustainability important in the fashion industry?
The fashion industry is responsible for a significant amount of pollution, waste, and greenhouse gas emissions. As of 2022, the average US consumer throws away 81.5lbs of clothes every year. In America alone, an estimated 11.3 million tons of textile waste. From the production of fabrics to the disposal of clothing, the fashion industry has a massive impact on the environment. For fiber artists and sewists, the production of conventional cotton requires large amounts of water and pesticides. Along with synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, are made from non-renewable resources.
Reverse logistics company Optoro also estimates that in the same year, 16 million tonnes of CO2 emissions were created by online returns in the US in 2020Earth.org
Tips for eco-friendly sewing practices:
While sewists may not purchase clothes as often as a regular consumer. Our consumption of fabric, paper, notions, and other sewing good can quickly make out waste output equal, if not higher, than our non sewist colleagues. The following tips are great things to keep in the back of your mind as a sewist to ensure you are as sustainable as possible.
Choose sustainable fabrics:
One of the most significant ways to make your sewing eco-friendly is to choose sustainable fabrics. Look for fabrics made from organic cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, or Tencel. These fabrics are sustainable, biodegradable, and require less water and pesticides than conventional cotton. You can always do this by checking the fiber content before buying! In the US, retailers are required to list this information, Making buying sustainable fibers easy!
Try to reduce waste by using leftover fabric scraps to create patchwork, quilt, or other creative projects. Like the scrap bag I created this month! You can also donate unused fabric to local charities or sewing groups. My personal favorite is Thistle Creative Reuse to shop here locally in Denton! Most of the notions I am sewing with these days are from Thistle. Plus, if I ever accidentally over buy or end up not needing a notion for a project, I can donate it to Thistle too!
Choose sustainable notions:
Opt for sustainable sewing notions such as wooden or bamboo buttons, zippers made from recycled materials, or organic cotton thread. These are all easy to source online as well from retailers like Blackbird Fabrics and The Fabric Store are both great to shop from as they both value sustainable sewing and support the sustainable sewist mindset,
Use sustainable packaging:
When shipping or ordering your #MeMade products, use eco-friendly packaging such as recycled paper or biodegradable bags or ask if the retailer ships in eco-bags. When I send off custom garments, I send them in a reusable bag with a fun print on them! It’s a great way for my clients to reuse their packaging, along with showing off that they Wear Custom Clothes!
Support sustainable brands:
When purchasing fabric or sewing supplies, choose brands that prioritize sustainability and ethical practices. This includes reuse stores like Thistle, fabric retailers like Blackbird Fabrics, purchasing high quality notions and tools, and even supporting blogs like mine who advocate for a better future! These are all great ways to start your sustainable sewing journey even past Earth Month.
Sustainability is Crucial for the Sewing Industry
By adopting sustainable sewing practices, we can reduce our environmental impact, minimize waste, and protect our planet. Together, we can work to create a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry. By adopting sustainable practices, we can reduce the use of non-renewable resources, minimize waste, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.