Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking to Betz White, author of Sewing Green, 25 Projects Made with Repurposed and Organic Materials. If you don't already have a copy of this book, I think you are missing out. Betz has filled it with fantastic projects, aimed at the advanced beginner to intermediate sewer. There is everything from a reversible skirt and produce bags to a car sunshade and log shaped draft buster. We talked about two of the baby projects.
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Erin: Hi, Betz.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me about your new book,
Sewing Green. I received my copy a few
weeks ago and really have enjoyed looking through it. It’s so inspiring! There are many projects that I want to
make. I chose to start with the baby
quilt because a dear friend of mine just had her first baby and I wanted to
make her something special.
Putting this quilt together was fun and easy! You did a great job on the project design and instructions. I love that you call for organic materials for this quilt. Why do you think using organics for babies is so important?
Thank you so much, I’m glad you enjoyed making it. It’s very sweet! Organic
cotton fabrics are such a natural choice for babies. Everything from the cultivation
of the fiber to the production of the fabric is done without the use of toxic
chemicals. (Inversely, the production of conventional cotton uses 25% of the
world’s pesticides!) We do so much to protect our babies and their sensitive
systems from the time we are pregnant to their earliest days and on through
their youth. We feed them healthy and organic foods, wash their clothing in
mild detergent, etc. Wrapping them in organic cotton is just one more way to be
gentle to their bodies.
Erin: When my girls were born seven and nine
years ago, there weren’t many organic fabrics on the market. The few options that were available were all
very similar, as well – mostly unbleached and undyed cottons. There are so many more choices now! Both the darling aqua print on the front of
the quilt and the snuggly sherpa on the back are organic cottons. Have you also noticed that organic fabrics
are easier to find? Why do you think
Betz: I agree! My boys are the same ages as your girls and the market has definitely started to change since they were babies. However, there is still a long way to go. I encourage everyone to consider organics when buying new fabrics. You’ll be doing right by the environment and yourself. Money talks and we can increase demand for these sustainable practices by choosing organics. (Shown here: Aqua print by Harmony Art Organics. Organic sherpa backing from NearSea Naturals) Look for more organic fabric options hitting the market soon, including (fingers crossed) a line from yours truly!
Erin: Really? That's exciting! The batting you sent me for the quilt is made out of corn! So cool! It was wonderful to use and it’s better for the planet than a traditional cotton batting. Why is using eco-friendly materials a better choice?
Crazy that your quilt is made with corn, huh? The fiber is referred to as PLA,
a polymer made from lactic acid found in corn. It’s manmade but 100% nature
based, breathable, washable and biodegradable. Other batting made from
poylester is not biodegradable, but there are some made with recycled
polyester. Sometimes the most “eco-friendly” option isn’t clear, so it’s up to
us to educates ourselves and be aware of false “eco” claims, otherwise known as
E: The stuffed dog is such a sweet toy! I really enjoyed making it. It’s made with a felted cashmere sweater. I love taking something that was meant for one use and giving it a second life as something else. I know you do a lot of that, too. Can you recommend other items that can be repurposed for children and babies?
A washed cashmere sweater has got to be my number one favorite repurposed
material for babies. Dad’s soft sweats or flannel shirt are also nice materials
for baby pants or tops.
Erin: I think you did a fabulous job with this book. After reading it, I find myself thinking twice before running out to the fabric store. Instead I’m looking around me and seeing how I can use what I have. Thanks for the inspiration and for taking time to chat with me.
Betz: Thanks for hosting me on the tour!
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There's more! Betz and STC Craft are generously giving away a copy of her book, Sewing Green. To be eligible for the drawing, leave a comment on this post before Thursday, April 30th at 1:00 p.m. EST. I'll announce the winner tomorrow.
As a side note: I followed Betz's directions exactly on the quilt and the dog. Everything in these two patterns - amounts of materials needed, directions, etc. - was completely accurate.
I'll be back tomorrow.