Sustainability is a word on everyone’s lips at the moment. Inherently tied to environmentalism and longevity, we have previously covered eco-friendly sewing on our blog but here we expand on that and give you a few ideas on how to make your sewing more sustainable, and work for you in times of belt tightening.
What Does Sustainable Mean in Sewing?
Well sustainability is all about leaving a minimal impact on the environment, and the Earth as a whole. If you can sew sustainably, it means you’re able to do so without causing too much disruption in the natural chain of things, and can do so for many years to come without inflicting major upset or damage. This may sound simple enough but when considering where you are getting your materials from and how much energy you use when sewing, it can become a little trickier.
How Do You Sew Sustainably?
Considering what you use when sewing can have a big impact on how sustainable it is. Everything from the material you are sewing down to the thread you use to sew it together with, but also the machine you use. A second hand or ex-display machine may well be just as hardy and efficient as a brand-new piece of equipment but uses up less resources than buying a newly made one. What type of machine you choose is also going to affect how sustainable your sewing practices are too. If you use a machine with less features, it’s going to need less energy when in use, so if you are a beginner or intermediate sewer with an advanced machine that has elements you just aren’t utilising, it’s wasting power every time you sew. Make sure your machine matches your skill level.
Looking after your items is also going to give them greater longevity and reduce the need for replacing them too. This longer lifecycle assists in less wastage, so if you have proper storage to keep your items in top condition then you’re making a small step towards greater sustainability. Sewing machine repairs can aid in keeping costs down and a machine running for longer whilst keeping scissors functioning with scissor sharpeners will also stop you from throwing out equipment.
Is It Sustainable to Sew Your Own Clothes?
Making your own clothes can be a great way to be both creative, and more sustainable. However, there are certain considerations to take into account to make sure you are being sustainable. If you are wasteful in your sewing practices, then making your own clothes isn’t automatically going to be better for the environment. Making sure you buy the right amount of material so that you don’t have too much leftover or thrown away is going to be key to keeping your sewing projects eco-friendly. If you do have off-cuts, as is to be expected, don’t just get rid of them, save them for another project and try to reuse them where you can so that you’re not constantly running back and forth to sewing shops.
Making items that you’re going to use regularly and that will stay in fashion is also a way of extending the longevity of a piece. If you use block colours in your projects, as opposed to prints, they typically stay in vogue far longer than anything with a defined print or pattern. Repairing items and holding onto worn out clothes for re-use in other projects will help your money go further as well as being a greener move too.
Which Fabric is Most Environmentally Friendly
Many manufacturers are increasingly aware of the demand for sustainable items, and you can find products that help you do this when sewing. For example, using organic material that is grown without pesticides is going to be better for the environment in the long run, and re-using sewing materials that you already have means that you aren’t being wasteful with your items.
Cotton typically uses a lot of water to grow and so finding other fabrics in its stead can be more sustainable too. With threads, Gutermann have a 100% recycled polyester range that re-uses discarded plastic bottles and saves them from going to the landfill. You can find similarly recycled toy stuffing and insulated waddingso that many of your projects can be that much more considerate of the Earth.