Sustainable sewing: no-plastic packaging

There are so many reasons we sew – fun, learning, fashion – and sustainability is high on the list for me. I hate what fast fashion is doing to the planet and don’t want to contribute to it, but sewing your own isn’t automatically more sustainable or ethical. Synthetic fibres, damaging manufacturing processes and poor working conditions aren’t confined to the garment-making industry – they’re all there in the production and distribution of the fabrics themselves, too.

But there’s also another aspect to this I hadn’t considered until recently. Outside of London it can be difficult to find bricks-and-mortar fabric shops, so I mostly buy fabric online – and it often comes wrapped in single-use plastic. I always save padded envelopes where I can but it’s not often possible to reuse plastic wrappers and, although it may seem trivial in the grand scheme of planet-damaging things, the idea of adding yet more of these to landfill just to feed my fabric-buying addiction isn’t a pleasant one.

So, I’ve put together a list of online sewing retailers that use eco-friendly, recycled or recyclable packaging – it’s a work in progress and I’ll add to it as I find more, so feel free to comment with any I’ve missed.

Here’s to stash-shopping without added plastic!

Sewing shops using eco, recycled or recyclable packaging:

  • Backstitch: One of the few online sewing shops I’ve found with a packaging policy on their website, Backstitch have committed to not buying any more plastic packaging and instead use brown paper fastened with brown paper tape. They stock loads of amazing sewing brands too, from Atelier Brunette fabrics to Colette patterns.
  • Merchant & Mills: My recent fabric order from Merchant & Mills (this amazing hand-dyed spot print, if you were wondering) came beautifully wrapped in paper and sent in a brown envelope fastened with string – so nice I had to Instagram it.
  • Raystitch: Another shop with a sustainability policy on its website, Raystitch has switched to fully recyclable paper Jiffy bags, cardboard envelopes and gusset envelopes, plus 70% recycled polythene bags made in the UK that can be recycled with plastic carriers. And their fabrics are seriously stunning.
  • Pin and Sew: This one also has an environmental policy on its website – hurrah! Pin & Sew sell a gorgeous selection of jersey, French terry, ponte and sweatshirt fabrics, all hand-picked by founder Aga and sent out in compostable, degradable and recyclable paper post bags.
  • Offset Warehouse: Offering swoon-worthy fabrics and haberdashery that aren’t only eco-friendly but fairly sourced, Offset Warehouse tick so many thoughtful-sewing boxes. Their packaging is minimal, recycled and recyclable, and the fabrics are packed in tissue to prevent them from moving around in the cardboard box.
  • Faberwood: Faberwood’s unique fabric selection is lovingly curated by owner Fiona Trevaskiss, and as much thought goes into the packaging too – orders are sent in a cardboard box that can be reused or recycled, and also packaged in recycled mailer bags to protect your precious fabric purchase from bad weather during transit.

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Ribbon heaven at VV Rouleaux

Sometimes, it’s the amazing things right on your doorstep that are the easiest to miss – and VV Rouleaux’s beautiful shop in Bath is one of them. It’s been just a 10-minute train trip away from me for a WHOLE YEAR, and somehow I’ve never been. So I was like a kid in a sweetshop – or, indeed, a sewist in a ribbon shop – when I popped over for their 1st birthday celebrations. Free workshops, celebratory cake and fizz, and racks and racks of haberdashery to browse – what’s not to love? Continue reading “Ribbon heaven at VV Rouleaux”

Sewing kit new-in

I’m currently struggling to get over the cringe-factor of posting photos of myself on the internet, which means that although I’ve been sewing quite a bit lately (hurrah!) I haven’t actually got any photographic evidence of it.

So, while I attempt to cure my blog-photo shyness (is there even a cure for that?) I thought I’d share a few new sewing bits and bobs I’ve added to my stash lately. I’m not usually one for buying lots of sewing gadgets, but these ones landed on my desk at work and I couldn’t resist giving them a road-test. None of these are affiliate links/ads – just products I’ve tried and liked! Continue reading “Sewing kit new-in”