Should Your Next Quilt Be Organic? An Expert Weighs In.
by Lana Norton
Hearing the word “organic” may conjure up images of a bouquet of fresh vegetables purchased at a local farmer’s market. Or perhaps you think of the organic section at your local grocery store and paying just a bit more fore that bundle of kale because it’s grown without harmful pesticides. But what if hearing the word “organic” brought to mind a bundle of beautiful, smooth fat quarters? What if you imagined a color wheel of glorious thread wrapped on eco-friendly wooden spools? Organic is not just food, it’s fabric, it’s fibers, and it’s better for you and for our planet!
As an individual and shop owner, I want to be part of a sewing practice that’s healthy, sustainable, and life affirming. My family and I created Earth First Fabrics to build a community and to connect makers to the “organically sewn” movement. If you’re an eco-minded sewists I invite you to join me on my journey of learning about sustainable growing and sewing.
It really started with a question my daughter asked me. You can read more about it on my blog and on my website. But let’s start with you…specifically, your health and your body.
No Harmful Chemicals
Perhaps like me, you didn’t know that conventional cotton was a cash crop that globally ranks 3rd in the most pesticide usage (behind corn and soybeans). Also, 1/3 of the pesticides used when growing cotton include chemicals categorized as carcinogens by the World Health Organization. And, if you did a “round up” (pun intended) of the chemicals, GMO seeds, and harsh farming methods involved in growing the cotton with which you sew, your head may spin! Mine did. If you want to delve deeper, just follow the science and read this newly published study by the University of Iowa.
But here’s the good news! When you choose organic fabric and fibers, you are assured that the fabric that covers your body and you spend lots of time handling when you sew is safe and grown without harmful chemicals!
Low Impact Dyes
And here’s even better news…when you purchase GOTS Certified Organic fabric and fibers, these products have to adhere to strict standards that include how the fiber is grown, processed, and how workers in the supply chain are treated. To read more about GOTS certification you can go to this website.
GOTS certification not only insures your merchandise is made with organic fibers but processed with low-impact dyes. Low-impact dyes are free from toxic chemicals and mordants (that bind the dye to the fiber) and have a higher absorption rate so require less rinsing and water usage.
Don’t forget, your skin is an organ, actually the largest organ of your body. It’s also porous so it absorbs what you put on it. So insure what you put on your body is beneficial. This is especially important for infants under the age of six months; their skin is even more permeable.
So, why choose organic when sewing? It’s good for your body!!!
Thank you so much for this thoughtful and educational article, Lana! To learn more about Lana and purchase gorgeous organic fabrics and threads from her shop, head to Earth First Fabrics and follow her on Instagram!