Today I’m going to show off my newest sewing for me – the Pleated Collar Shirt. Tomorrow I’ll give you a free pattern and tutorial so you can make your own.
Remember the Sashiko Tunic I made myself in November? I raved then about the jersey I got from Near Sea Naturals. I loved it so much I wrote to them about it, and they have generously agreed to sponsor this post. All opinions about the fabric and the company are 100% mine.
American Grown.Spun.Milled is part of Near Sea Naturals, which sells organic knit and woven fabrics. The only difference between the two is that some of the Near Sea Naturals fabrics are from materials sourced outside the USA, though their fabrics are primarily milled within the USA. The stuff at American Grown.Spun.Milled is 100% seed to fabric made within the USA, just like their name suggests.
Besides the fact that organic fabrics are better for the environment, I LOVE that this company is keeping jobs within my country. Yes, it means their fabrics are a little pricier. But, well, I’m going to get a little controversial here. I think we (home sewists included) in the US are a little addicted to cheap cotton. And we often don’t stop to think about how that $1 t-shirt is made, and who is suffering because of it. If you sew, you know that work goes into even something as simple as a t-shirt. And work goes into making fabric (I grew up in a rural area and Hubby’s grandparents were cotton farmers, so we know just how much work goes into the fabric of our lives). However if I’m buying fabric from Near Sea Naturals, I know it’s being made here, under our work and safety standards, and I know that my dollars are going to help keep people in my larger community employed. And don’t even get me started on the environmental impact of our fast fashion culture (though if you want to know more, this article is a good summary). If you looked back even a few decades ago, people didn’t own so much clothing that got replaced so quickly and we weren’t generating so much clothing waste.
Now that doesn’t mean I don’t buy other fabrics, I do, and I obviously have other fabric shop sponsors that I personally purchase from as well, and I shop at other stores that carry imported fabric, because let’s face it, sometimes you have to feed the fabric addiction and you don’t care where that print was manufactured. And a large part of fabric available online or in stores is imported because our textile industry is not what it once was. And I understand that sometimes you really just can’t afford fabric that costs more than a couple dollars a yard, because I’ve been there.
But I do try, as much as possible, to use upcycled and thrifted materials, and/or to order from companies like Near Sea Naturals. I know I’m no environmental purist, but I try. Which is all any of us can do, right?
Environmental and economic reasons aside, let me just add this – the jersey I’ve gotten from Near Sea Naturals is without a doubt, the NICEST jersey I’ve ever sewn with. You know those old t-shirts that weren’t paper thin and got softer with every wash? The ones they printed vintage concert logos on, that you jump for joy when you find at the thrift store, because they are soooo soft and don’t have any holes? That’s what this stuff is like.
This particular shirt is made from their Mountain Lake medium jersey, and I love the fabric as much as the fabric in my Sashiko tunic. And for the environmental record, my boots are thrifted and my skirt was made by me 10 years ago. So in this outfit at least, I’m doing well.
I had to recruit Tater to take pictures again, this time reaching up to press the shutter release above his head. Which means I also got some great shots like this:
So, let’s hear from you. What are your thoughts about buying local and/or organic? Do you try to do it? Do you have favorite sources? Please share!
And if you know anyone else that would love organic fabric made in the USA, use the social buttons below to share this article with them! CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE TUTORIAL FOR THIS SHIRTGet access to my free pattern gallery - sign up for my newsletter!