Tuesday 13 April 2010

At Colette Patterns: 'Cotton Sateen'

I used to know this girl who was a vegan who also didn't wear any leather shoes, bags etc., and generally avoided all potential ways of conributing to the death or discomfort of any living thing. EXCEPT she had a major weakness when it came to natural raw silk. There was just something about that type of fabric that affected her so deeply that it overcame her moral standing and made her purchase it whenever she initiated a suitable sewing project.

In a similar vein, I have massive problems justifying the purchase of cotton due to the environmental damage caused by its production. Susannah at Cargo Cult Craft recently posted about and linked up an interesting report about the environmental impact of clothing which included the issues surrounding cotton production. (BTW, Susannah's post inspired some fascinating and inspired comments which I well recommend checking out.) However, whilst Susannah was busy highlighting these issues of which I am aware and thoroughly concerned about, I was busy writing a post for the Colette Patterns blog eulogising Cotton Sateen and effectively promoting its use. Dichotomy? Yes. Any answers? Not really.

My only justification is that I strongly believe that the 'slow fashion' option of sewing your own garments, which of course usually involves purchasing new fabric, is always going to result in less environmental damage than the purchase (and often very rapid consumption) of mass-manufactured garments. Similarly, the extra effort and time that goes into creating a garment from scratch, using a fabric that you hand-picked and adore, is much more likely to result in a garment that will be treasured, worn and mended when necessary than end up in a landfill nine months after its completion. When a garment has a high real or perceived value, its lifespan will be longer. Obviously the opposite is also true, with £3 T-shirts regularly being discarded like applecores.

My first arguement would always be that it is better to use what is to hand, or what someone else no longer wants, before purchasing new. However, it is unlikely that even the most committed of us will never purchase new fabric for our sewing projects. And for the reasons described above, if we buy fabric that we really like, that will only contribute to our enjoyment of the process and final product and therefore lead to a longer life for it in the long run.

Did I mention that I really like Cotton Sateen?!


cee said...

Organic cotton sateen! When I first started sewing in high school I used organic fabric - then the cost started to wear me down, but it's out there.

Zoe said...

Ooh, thanks Sapote! There are some beauts, but jeez their are pricey eh? Add onto that shipping to europe, ouch! I would love to use organic cotton though, hopefully my budget will stretch to it in the future. Thanks again for the link x

cee said...

Well, the thing that helps me price it is that most sateen I see is sheeting width, so often you're getting three yards wide and one yard long! Of course, that can be a problem for cutting patterns.

I've always been surprised that there doesn't seem to be more organic cotton sewing fabric in Europe - you guys have generally been way ahead of us on other organic things!

Claire (aka Seemane) said...

This UK shop Bishopston Trading Company ships to Europe (P&P / shipping costs are based on weight), I've never used them (I found them on a Google search LOL), but they say this about themselves ".... is a fair trade company .....
We use Fairtrade certified organic cotton and are members of the World Fair Trade Organisation."

Also found via Google... there's this shop Organic Cotton UK and they deliver to Europe (so should reach you in Spain okay).


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