Who Made My Fabric?
Today is the 7th anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory tragedy in Bangladesh. Today I ask, “Who Made my Clothes?” because never again can 1,134 people lose their lives from unsafe working conditions.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about supply chains, because so many people worldwide are involved in the manufacture of clothing and textiles.
Cotton is grown and harvested, spun into fibre in mills, woven into fabric, cut into pieces, sewn into garments and then sold in a shop…it’s a lot of steps and a lot of people are involved along the way.
I don’t buy very many new garments. To be honest, tagging a brand today doesn’t make very much sense.(The last new piece of clothing I purchased was in October.)
The majority of my wardrobe is vintage, thrifted or home sewn, so, I’ve been thinking about the supply chain in my own homesewn garments. What kind of impact does the fabric I use have? Who made that fabric? Who made my thread? Who made my buttons and zippers and snaps…
Fabric in some ways is actually harder to trace origins as there usually isn’t any indication as to where it came from. I would love to be able to walk into a fabric store and easily see where the fabric came from, how it was dyed, whether it was made in a closed loop…
Do I have any answers for how to get from here to there? Not really, but it’s a question I’d like to start exploring more. Just being a bit more mindful with new fabric purchases, taking time to seek out fabric companies that are doing things right, buying 100% natural fibres, and in the meantime using up my stash and seeking out second-hand fabric (this skirt was made from vintage fabric I found in a thrift store!)
How have you taken part in Fashion Revolution this year? Do you have any other ideas for making home sewing more ethical?
April 29, 2020 @ 11:56 am
This is something I used to give a lot of thought to when I sewed more. Often the country of origin would be on the bolt. But beyond that, it seemed elusive to find out what the working conditions were/are of the place the fabric is manufactured.
Because of COVID-19, I have been sewing a lot more, but have only been purchasing fabric from Spoonflower, and am sticking to their cotton sateen. I haven’t dug deep though into who weaves their fabric and where it is printed though.
With thread, I have a huge collection of vintage thread, but when I make something new, I always buy new thread, because I don’t want to run out of the thread while making the garment. I use the vintage thread for repairs and such. And it seems all thread at fabric stores is polyester! Which sucks. I do tend to buy Gutermann thread, which is made in Germany.
One of my concerns with sewing though is the waste…bias tape, zippers, etc. are packaged in plastic. Then there is all of the scrap fabric. I’ve been able to use some scrap to make zipper pouches, and more recently masks.
May 7, 2020 @ 10:10 pm
I have never used Spoonflower, but one good thing I’ve heard about with them is that there isn’t really any fabric waste, since their fabric is printed on demand- so that’s one good thing about using them!
I love finding sewing notions in the thrift shops too! Such a good way to save money and keep things from going to waste. Each step we take is one step forward 🙂