Sustainability & Sewing with Selkie Patterns
We are Caroline and Alexandra, co-founders of Selkie Patterns, an independent sewing company based in London. We were funded through a wildly successful crowdfunding campaign and are starting life as a trading company this month, which happens to be World Vegan Month. Selkie Patterns sells sewing patterns, fabrics and haberdashery for all your sustainable sewing needs. Some ways in which we incorporate sustainability into our business are hosting our website on a green server, using recycled and recyclable packaging, printing our textiles in an eco-friendly way, using organic or fair trade textiles, limiting our use of plastic, and only using fabrics made from natural sources (rather than materials containing animal products or plastic content).
Sewing and sustainability go hand in hand for us, as making your own clothes is such a logical step towards achieving a more sustainable wardrobe. With us, you can learn how to make your own clothes, learn about creating a more circular wardrobe, and how sewing your own garments is great for ourselves as well as our environment.
We’re here to give you five tips on making your wardrobe more sustainable.
Let’s Make Your Wardrobe Circular
Make Your Own Clothes
When you sew your own clothes, you know exactly what has gone into your item of clothing. You make all the executive choices on the materials, the labour and the haberdashery. Fast fashion, the phenomenon that has turned us all into treating clothing as something disposable we can consume and then get rid off when a new trend arrives, is very dangerous for our environment as well as the people working in the industry. Working conditions are often bad and workers involved in dyeing and printing textiles are often exposed to a lot of harsh chemicals. 70% percent of the dyes are washed out into our waterways, causing harm to animals, humans and nature. That’s why we at Selkie Patterns use a printing process that involves no water and no chemicals. Sewing your own clothes makes you value the work that goes into making garments, it allows you to be in charge of the materials, and it allows you to make something that actually fits your body.
Reuse & Recycle
Textile waste is another big issue in the fashion industry, one that consumers are learning more and more about. 30% of fabrics in garment factories ends up on the factory floor, only to be taken to landfill. One way to counteract fabric waste is of course to make your own clothes, but you can also reuse the textiles or clothes you have at home, rather than disposing of them: you can organise a clothes swap, take old clothes to a good charity shop, you can turn old garments into cleaning rags, donate fabrics or clothing to schools, craft cafes or theatre schools. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination! Our aim at Selkie Patterns is to make our business as circular as possible, meaning that we’re aiming for our product life cycle not to finish with the word ‘waste’. We partner with several other companies that will take fabric scraps, so that customers can send on their leftovers from a sewing project. This way the life cycle of the fabric continues.
Mend & Alter
A great way to increase the sustainability of your wardrobe is to mend and alter the garments you already own. Even learning how to sew on a button can be a valuable skill, simply so you don’t end up with a small pile of clothes, hiding in the back of wardrobe, that are all missing that one button. Come on, we all know that pile! Mending holes, altering the size of a garment, reattaching buttons and fixing a zip are all things that prolong the life of your garments.
Fast fashion has made us believe that if we are not continuously buying new clothes, we are not keeping up with trends. At Selkie Patterns we believe more in durable style than in fading trends. We would rather you buy one expensive thing a year and cherish it for many years, than buy cheap new clothes every month that you hardly wear. Buying mindfully is better for you, your purse and your planet. The less we see clothing as a disposable item, the better. How would your grandparents shop for clothing? Think of it like that. Or just ask us!
And finally, we may not all sew our own clothes or pick up a needle and thread, but we all do laundry. Laundry is a great start to making your wardrobe a sustainable one. Wash less, wash colder, hang dry if you can and always wash a full load to make the most of the water. Then find yourself a great detergent and stain remover (Ecozone’s Stain Remover is a firm favourite) to make sure your laundry products won’t harm our oceans. Finally, if you’ve got the detergent situation down and you’re ready to tackle microfibres, you can try a Guppyfriend or a Cora Ball. Every time we wash clothing that contains synthetics (polyester, nylon, fleece), micro plastics reach our ocean through the waste water of our washing machines. Luckily there are many ways in which companies like Ecozone can help us make a difference.
We hope you have enjoyed our top tips and please stay in touch!
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