Sustainability in Fabrics

Sustainability in Fabrics

Merritt Makes strives to choose fabrics that utilize sustainable methods of production whenever possible. With the recent addition of our organic cotton twill, I wanted to share what we had learned in the process of sourcing these fabrics and what some terms we use when describing fabrics mean. As always, drop us a note if you have thoughts - there is so much to learn!

The substrates we carry in our shop include:

Organic Cotton: In contrast to conventionally grown cotton, which uses loads of pesticides, water, labor and genetically modified seed, organic cotton growers work to replenish the soil and protect the ecosystem by avoiding these harmful chemicals and methods. For more information, please see this fact sheet and the ways conventional cotton cultivation affects the environment.

Bamboo: Bamboo is a resource that requires little to no intervention from us to grow quickly without harmful chemicals - you’ll often see bamboo described as being “naturally organic,” a term that alludes to how easy it can be to cultivate this crop. Methods of turning the bamboo fiber into fabric are similar to how viscose/rayon are produced. For information on the sustainability of growing bamboo, please see this fact sheet. For information on how the fibers are spun into fabric, please see this breakdown of a few methods.

Soy: Soy fabric is created by chemically treating the proteins found in soybeans and spinning the fibers into a flowing, bouncy fabric that can be hold onto vivid saturated color dye. More information can be found here.

Tencel/Lyocell: This is a fabric created in a unique closed loop process, which means all the chemicals used are recycled back into the production process, resulting in a very low emissions rate. The fibers come from eucalyptus trees, a renewable resource which grows back quickly after harvest. The official website is here.

There are a few other terms we use to describe the standards of processing those substrates:

Japanese Standards: Japan uses strict legislation to ensure non-azo dyes are used in the fabric production process and that employees are treated fairly and adequately compensated. For more information, see Japanese labor laws, this article on ethical Japanese fashion and an explanation of what azo dyes/amines are and why they are considered harmful.

Oeko-Tex® Standard 100: This worldwide standard ensures fabric is dyed in a sustainable, non-harmful manner. Please see this link for all information on the requirements to meet the standard.

Deadstock: Deadstock refers to vintage stock of product that has never been used. In the case of many of our deadstock buttons, they haven’t even been removed from their cards! Sourcing these products is more sustainable than purchasing new by using up products that have already been produced.

Are there other substrates you like using that are made sustainably?

Fall Sewing Plans

Fall Sewing Plans