Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Organic Fabric

When the latest newsletter from Seamstar dropped into my in-basket it took me about 30 seconds to decide to swoop a purchase of the Circa 60 Beach Mod by Monaluna for Birch Fabrics.   I love the idea of environmentally friendly organic cottons although I will be honest and say I wasn't completely sure what made them organic, or even environmentally friendly for that matter until I went and looked on the Birch Fabric website

According to Birch, traditional cotton growing accounts for almost 25% of the chemical pesticides used in agriculture but more distressing to me is the fact that The World Health Organisation estimates that 20,000 to 40,000 people die from accidental pesticide poisoning each year, most of them in developing countries. It is safe to assume that many of them are cotton farmers. 

I have to say I hadn't really thought about the impact of my hobby before but with 50% of the textiles market using cotton it is probably correct to say that the "gentle art of quilting" is guilty of contributing more than its fair share to global warming. (I'm not so sure I like that !)   

Unfortunately 'organic' usually comes at slight premium but with high street shops increasing their demand for organic clothing the support for organic cotton farming will grow and the price of 100% organic cotton cloth will hopefully normalise.  At the moment though expect to pay a few more pennies per FQ than non-organic. 

 I am only aware of a couple of organic cotton manufacturers 
producing for the quilting industry too,  

Birch Fabrics and Cloud 9.  

Although Spoonflower  also offer organic cotton base for on-demand fabric printing too. Luckily an increasing number of designers are willing to design for organic cotton so we do have plenty of fabric design choice! 

Granted most of it in the retro-modern design genre but hey thats suits me!

But who am I to say "buy organic". It is up to each of us as individuals to decide what and where we buy and asides from fabric design and price there are other factors that may affect our purchase.  

I will tell you I was slightly disappointed when I got my Mod 60 bundle. I was expecting traditional quilting cotton but not s. Whilst the 'hand' of the cotton was soft it was also slightly stiffer due I suspect to the tighter weave and increased thread count. It also had the look of a poplin and made me think dress-making as opposed to quilting.  I was also concerned about the stitch quality I would get from such a tight weave.  Well I can reassure you ... it sewed a dream, released no nasty chemicals when I pressed it and took a crease very very well.  I am impressed! So impressed I dove right in and made these blocks.  Now I can't wait to get more organic!

1 comment:

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