Eco-friendly clothing: links roundup

Over at A Little Bit of All Of It, it’s eco-friendly clothing week! In honour of which, here is a round-up of various links and so on from me and elsewhere, on the subject of eco-friendly clothing.

Upcycling

Upcycling existing clothes that you no longer wear is an eco-friendly way of getting new clothes. I haven’t up cycled anything for myself lately, but I have been upcycling a T-shirt of mine (no longer wearable into a T-shirt for Leon. A skirt I don’t wear became a pair of baby trousers last summer; they’re still being worn this summer, just as three-quarter length rather than full length. I also made a pair of smart trousers from some suit trousers recently, but haven’t yet blogged it.

Not clothes, but I made toys from scraps from my scrap box earlier this year, too.

Making clothes from fabric

How eco-friendly it is to make your own clothes (if not upcycling) depends on how eco-friendly the source fabric is. Although you could argue that making your own makes you more likely to wear and appreciate the garment, rather than treating it as disposable; it may also last longer and you might be more likely to patch it.

Here’s a few sources of eco-friendly fabric, or yarn:

  • Organic Cotton do eco-friendly (organic, also fair trade) cotton and other materials, and deliver very fast. I’ve used them personally and can recommend them.
  • The Hemp Shop do hemp fabric, which is organic. It’s not fair trade but they do give their factory working conditions on that page.
  • There are several sorts of yarn which is recycled from other yarns or fabrics:
    • Recycled sari silk: can be a bit odd to knit with, though, and doesn’t knit a smooth fabric.
    • Second Time Cotton: recycled from consumer cotton scraps. Nice to knit with, but sadly I can’t find a UK stockist at the moment.
    • Full Circle worsted and bulky wool is also made from leftover bits of British wools. It’s 100% wool, very snuggly, and nice to knit with. It’s a bit scratchy but only in the way that wool is often a bit scratchy.

You can also knit multi-coloured things from your end-balls of yarn; blankets are another way to use up ends of balls.

Shopping

Finally, if you’re buying, start out with charity shops or Ebay second-hand clothes (as well as promoting reuse, this is also much cheaper!). If you’re buying new, look for organic and fair trade, and be prepared (sadly) to spend a while at it, as it can be difficult to find both. Once you do, make your clothes last as long as possible by washing them only when they’re actually dirty, protecting them when you’re doing dirty chores (get an apron!), and patching them if possible.

Up-cycled baby T-shirt

I have a stack of old T-shirts in my fabric box waiting to be turned into baby shirts (ones that are no longer fit for adult use but have enough good fabric in them to be worth chopping up), and this week made my first attempt, with an old Belle and Sebastian shirt. Lots of pictures after the cut.

Continue reading “Up-cycled baby T-shirt”

Knitting merrily along

I’ve just realised that while I blog occasionally about sewing, I virtually never blog about knitting, despite the fact that I always have at least one (usually more) projects on the go.

Leon, from behind, wearing mitred baby jacket and playing with something at a table

Leon wearing his jacket

Recently finished projects:

  • a mitred baby jacket for Leon’s Christmas, which used up lots of ends of sock yarn*;
  • a couple of spa cloths for my Mum’s Christmas;
  • [SECRET] (another Christmas present that still hasn’t reached its intended recipient);
  • and these socks for me, for the second time. (Pro tip: do not put your non-superwash expensive-handdyed-yarn socks into the washing machine with everything else. I now own a very nice pair of felted booties, suitable for Leon in a couple of years.)
My feet propped against a dark wood wardrobe, wearing blue knitted socks

My feet, this morning, with Jeeves Socks: The Return

The only thing I actually have on the needles right now is another [SECRET], but I’m about to cast on for a sock knit-a-long, about to start this gorgeous shawl for my sister-out-law for her wedding in December, and have a bag full of skeins of yarn to knit some samples (so I can decide on a yarn substitution) for the cardigan I want to knit for myself. Perhaps I’ll leave that last until I’ve finished at least one of the others…

Also, I am fed up of winding skeins into balls, and am about to splash out cash on a ballwinder, thus freeing up valuable time for knitting rather than winding (and untangling, which is what always happens when I DIY).

* Particularly good as I am attempting to destash**.
** Since deciding to destash, a further 7 skeins/balls/cones of yarn have mysteriously*** arrived in the stash.
*** I bought them.

Sewing beyond my means…

Or at least beyond my likely abilities. But what the hell! It’s more fun that way.

There’s a sew-along on a forum I’m on of this quilt-as-you-go version of the Amy Butler Weekender Bag. Which I gather is famously Very Hard. (Famous if you hang out on sewing blogs, anyway, which largely I don’t. Yet.) I love the look of this version of it (patchwork is ace!), but since I have done next-to-no quilting, the sensible thing would clearly be to back away slowly and, I dunno, practise a bit first on something smaller.

So, of course, the pattern is now sitting on the table looking at me, a couple of metres of organic wadding are on their way, and I’ve dug out a bunch of scraps to piece the front parts. My excuse is that it was clearly a Sign that my order of “some random remnants” from the nice organic cotton people included some nice thick plain fabric suitable for interlining.

Selection of brown/blue/green fabrics laid out with slightly bad lighting
Some scraps, yesterday (flash has done nothing for the accuracy of the colours; it’s broadly a blue/green/brown look I’m going for)

It’s going to be FUN. Yes. I mean, what can possibly go wrong? Other than everything, obviously.

To balance this out with something I’m actually competent at, I’m also ploughing through the Xmas crafting: making beanbags (little hacky-sack type ones) and Phazelia’s Mitred Baby Jacket for Leon, and [ CENSORED ] for assorted family members who are old enough to potentially read this blog. Also I still have a pair of socks for ME to finish to replace the ones I accidentally felted shortly after Leon was born.

But it’s the bag I’m most looking forward to, despite knowing that it will involve sweat and tears and bad words and so on. AM WRONG IN THE HEAD.