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5 ways to sustainable sewing

Sustainable Sewing

Sustainable sewing doesn’t only have to be for those who can source locally milled organic cotton for their homemade garments.

Here are 5 ways that you can be more sustainable in your own sewing practices at home, on any budget!

Just like everyones sewing room looks different, so will your ability and philosophy be different. Use these ideas to help you think of other ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Rubbish and Recycling Baskets

In New Zealand we have a fortnightly recycling service that picks up our paper, cardboard, plastic and aluminium waste. If you have a similar service in your country you might like to get two baskets to seperate your rubbish from your recycling. Often a lot of what we use in our sewing space can be recycled including plastic packaging, paper pattern offcuts and mistaken printings.

This will mean your rubbish and recycling is already sorted and can go in the appropriate bins with the rest of the house hold waste and recycling.

Fabric Scraps

Who actually uses those scraps that have been saved? Instead, use your scraps straight away! Keep on hand an easy project like the Free Cat Bag pattern printed and ready to go! When you finish cutting out a pattern, quickly cut out another cat bag. Add the scraps to your Works in Progress basket. Easy patterns like this are great for gifts so it doesn’t matter how many you end up sewing throughout the year, they will always be useful!

Similarly, do you work with knit fabric too? Try out this free children’s underwear pattern.

Tracing Patterns

Do you think your new sewing pattern is going to be a winner? Print it once and trace off the pattern size you need, then fold up the master copy for later when you might need another size. This will mean you can use the same pattern over and over again without needing to print more pages! It’s good for your ink and paper resources!

Have a Sustainable Sewing plan

Keep a sewing list going so you know what you want to create and what fabric you might need for it. Keep this as a physical copy in your sewing space to inspire you, or on your phone as a note for easy reference when you’re out and about! When you’re fabric shopping you will be able to see what you need to buy for what you plan to sew, instead of buying and stashing fabric away.

Better yet, shop that stash! Is your cupboard overflowing with “one day I’ll sew it?” fabrics? Let’s get them out, pre-washed and into the works in progress pile!

Give Handmade

Sometimes your child brings home a party invitation with only a few days notice and no one likes feeling pressured when they sew! But, you can plan for the events you DO know about; Your children’s birthdays, nieces and nephews at Christmas, your best friends babies! Giving handmade is a special way to celebrate with a one of a kind gift.

You might want to make your children a Lopsy Bunny Bag for Easter? Or give your niece a Tui Pinafore for Christmas? With a little forward thinking you can give the gift of Handmade.

Give each garment you make a “designers mark” and make it an official way to say “I made this”. You could do this simply with an embroidered asterisk, initial or other way that might be special to you, in lou of factory made tags.

Sewers love to give their time and talents to people they love, so spend a little time planning and thinking about what might be achievable and make a start!

Let me know in the comments what changes you’ve made to have a more sustainable sewing space! 

Love and happy (sustainable) sewing,
Sophie x

2 thoughts on “5 ways to sustainable sewing

  1. Some great ideas Sophie. I have recently kept a separate bin for all my fabric scraps, threads etc. It’s amazing how all those little bits build up & I can now recycle them instead of them going to landfill. I have also discovered that lots of my smaller scraps, that I thought were too small for anything, are actually big enough to make baby shoes or little hair bows. I now have a huge bag of small scraps to make into something – when I get the time!

    1. Great ideas for the itty bitty scraps Liz!

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