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Sustainable Sewing Tips

Sustainable sewing tips

These tips for sustainable sewing is written by textile specialist, Bevan, owner of Bawn.  Bawn is a new Glasgow based shop specialising in a curated range of sustainable fabrics and haberdashery, they also sell online. Fabric choices available at Bawn include organic cotton, linen, Tencel™, EcoVero™, Corn, Cupro and Closed Loop Bamboo.

What is sustainable sewing?

Sustainable sewing means sewing in a way which leaves a minimal impact on the planet. Whether that is using eco friendly materials, reusing old textiles, making garments designed to last for a long time or ensuring you use every scrap of fabric reducing fabric wastage. 

Sustainable sewing tips

Some things you can do to be more sustainable when working with textiles are as follows:

Use what you’ve got instead of buying more.

Carefully consider your purchases and choose organic or similarly certified fabrics such as Tencel™ and haberdashery where possible. That way you know you choosing goods which have been stringently tested and are above board both environmentally and socially.

Use block colours to keep your handmade wardrobes in circulation for as long as possible. Colour never goes out of season or style but prints do.

Buy second hand.

Look after your sewing tools, get your scissors sharpened and your machine serviced rather than replacing.

Don’t buy more than you need – but make sure you account for fabric shrinkage. It helps to choose your pattern first, then buy the necessary amount of fabric for it, rather than the other way around.

Look for zero-waste patterns, or patterns with clever pattern placement to reduce offcut waste.

Think of fun and useful ways to use off cuts. You can make gift wrapping bags, face and eye masks, baby and children’s clothes, patchwork anything, lavender bags, napkins, washing/dust cloths, rag rugs, mending patches for existing garments, add pockets to something, Halloween costumes, seasonal decorations and so on.

Tip from The Sewing Directory – take a look at our free scrap projects for ideas.

When sewing yourself a toile, why not make a ‘wearable toile’ using up fabric in your stash, or using Swedish tracing paper that you can sew through to check fit.

Don’t rush your project. Take your time planning, less mistakes and waste are made that way.

Polyester thread, recycled and secondhand polyester is still synthetic, so consider investing in a Guppyfriend™ Washing Bag which collects microplastics and stops them entering our waterways and ecosystems. 

To learn more about sustainable sewing and eco textiles visit the ‘Learn’ section of the Bawn website. It offers a spring-board information into things like eco certifications, weave structures and the sustainability of fibres.  

Bawn is online @bawntextiles and, and in real life at 613 Pollokshaw Road, Glasgow, G41 2QG (Thursday-Sunday 10-6)