The best fabrics for clothing are organic cotton (or natural/recycled cotton), hemp and linen. These are better than bamboo (okay, but some companies use chemicals to produce it) and Tencel (made with flammable eucalyptus trees – Spain and Portugal have banned new plantations, due to wildfires).
If sewing with upcycled synthetic fibres (like polyester) launder in a microplastic catcher. Keep sewing materials away from children and pets.
Sustainable Wardrobe is a book packed with tips to create a more sustainable wardrobe, without breaking the bank. The world’s consumption and discarding of clothing is harming the planet, and the issue can’t be fixed overnight. But what can we do to make a difference? The answer is that if we all take small steps, it will collectively result in big change.
Journalist Sophie Benson (who specialises in writing on sustainable fashion) guides you through, breaking down the issues from the clothes we buy to how we care and dispose of them. You’ll find easy tutorials to follow including:
- How to read a clothing label
- Have a conscious closet clear-out
- Upcycling hacks
- How to darn socks
- How to care for your jeans
a pattern-free sustainable sewing book
Radical Sewing is the new guide to making your own clothes, with tips on hand-sewing, picking a sewing machine, adding pockets to anything, sewing buttons that stay on and altering clothes to fit your body shape. Regardless of sewing experience, this illustrated guide can empower you to make your wardrobe your own. Experiment and break the rules!
Kate Weiss is a seamstress and pattern-maker, who likes to make her own jeans. She is a Master Clothing Volunteer who teaches sewing to young people, and lives in Kentucky, USA.
make clothes with zero waste patterns
Zero Waste Patterns offers a modern approach to sustainable sewing, using a Scandi-style collection of 20 garments. Use this unique paperless method to eliminate textile and paper waste, using a pre-determined length of fabric end to end. The patterns include a t-shirt, skirt, tank top, shirt and trousers. These can then be used to make 15 further projects by simple changes.
Birgitta Helmersson is a Swedish/Australian designer and pattern-maker, who currently lives in Sweden. She runs a studio with her partner, where they make garments, using zero-waste pattern cutting.
transform old clothes into new ones!
DIY Thrift Flip is a unique book to help you scour local thrift shops (don’t shop at big charity shops that test on animals) then turn bargains into fun wearable fashion. You can also use this book to makeover existing clothes in your wardrobe. The author takes you through easy ways to alter and tailor shirts, dresses, trousers and coats. You’ll learn how to set up a workspace, master sewing machine basics and know what can (and can’t) be fixed. Plus learn how to gauge size, when you can’t try something on.
April Yang has an associate degree in fashion design, and lives in California where she posts sewing tutorials and thrift flip videos. She began posting after she wanted to wear new clothes, but couldn’t afford them. Her popular flips include turning a thrift-store find into a chic maternity dress, a worn-out black dress into a chic evening outfit with lace appliques, a blah gingham dress into a cute jumpsuit, and a graduation gown into a glamorous black cocktail dress.