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Sewing Green with Betz White

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.

. . . . .

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. 

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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?

Betz: 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 that is?

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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?

Betz: 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 “green-washing”.

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?

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Betz: 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!

. . . . .

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.

Comments

Laura F

Thank you both for the interview and giveaway.
The books looks wonderful!

Deb

What a beautiful quilt (organic sherpa, oh my!) I so love the green crafting movement -- repurposing is one of my very favorite things, and I feel like Betz is a kindred spirit. Thanks for giving me a chance to win this wonderful book!

Ingrid

This book is on my wishlist!

Beth B

The quilt and dog are darling!!!!! Thanks for the give-away!

Jessica Kaufman

Gasp! I've been thinking about getting this book! Fingers crossed... :)

Debbie

This looks like a great book. Please enter me for the draw.Thanks!

Karen

Thanks for the interview. I just love everything Betz does!

alex

This book looks like fun... and repurposing is perfect right now since money is tight!

kristen

Yippee! I've been a big fan of Betz for a while. Thanks for the inspiration!

Lavina Dee

Thanks for the chance to win this book. I am going to have to buy it soon if I don't win it!

Andria

Love this book. Would love a copy! Thanks.

Jana

I love the idea of repurposing and green projects. Pls count me in!

amy

I definitely need new inspiration and even better if it's new inspiration from old things! Thanks for the chance and thanks for a great interview!

Frankie Kins

Loved the interview and I would certainly love to "win" the book! Please put my name in the hat.

Suzanne

This book sounds amazing! It's just what I've been looking for! I hope I win. Thanks Erin!

Gina C.

I love the character and enviro-friendliness of repurposed things; the dog looks very cuddly.

mandy

so fun! i'd love to win!

Heather B

Looks like a great book - with great ideas!

Brittney Cat

12:42...glad I stopped by your blog for a visit, I just might make the 1pm deadline. This post has given me some great ideas for future plush creations! I've got a sweater that's been laying around(because it *might* fit again) that would be perfect :) What a great "Green" book!

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