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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

katie

count me in, erin. i love that dog. so sweet.
i am hosting a fabric give away on my blog-just to let you know.

Diana Wessel

What a great dog...off to find old cashmere sweaters.
I use old wool sweaters to make Christmas package tie-ons. Felt the sweater, cut into whatever shapes please you, fill with fiber or dried herbs from your summer garden and blanket stitch together.
diana

Lindsey

Thanks for sharing the interview with us. I really like the sherpa backing. I've looked at the fabrics at Nearsea Nauticals in the past. They have some beautiful wovens--my favorite is "Stumps Speak."

erineckenrode@gmail.com

Great interview and nice job on the blanket and the dog. The blanket looks SO cozy.

Beth

Love the doggie!

Spacey Casey

Oh that books sounds amazing!

Lise

This book is on my wish list. Please enter me in the drawing! Thanks! :-) Lise

julie

Love the baby quilt and that dog project is so cute!

rnewman

What a timely and beautiful interview. I'd love to have a copy of this book.

Nadia

Wow, the book seems to be making such a splash all over, I'd love to learn more about repurposing fabrics into a new life as I get lots of hand-me-down items from my mother in law.

Nadia

sherri s.

Oh my, that dog!!! So cute...I've been coveting this book for a while now. Fingers crossed! Thanks for the giveaway.

Twilight

Hope I win!

Wendy

Thanks for posting the interview; I would love this book!

Karen

I love Betz's work! And the quilt is so sweet...so is the dog, of course!

Kathy

Hi
I just had a baby and these projects look fun. I would love to see what other projects are in this book.

Niki

Count me in! I have seen so many great projects from the book on the blogs of others that I would love to have a copy.

Caroline

I LOVE this book!

leila

Sounds lovely! I can't wait to get a copy of it myself.

chrisc

Thanks for the chance to win. This book looks amazing!

amanda

I would love to try these patterns out! Loved reading the interview, too :)

nikko

I would love a copy of this book. What a beautiful quilt!

Meredith

I love Betz's first book and this second looks just as great!

kathy

What a wonderful book - I've seen it on many different blogs and would love to have a copy.

Marissa

I would love a new sewing book and one with ecofriendly projects and ideas is even better!

hayley

Sweet little dog and lovely quilt! I enjoyed reading this interview; it's always nice to "meet" the person behind the book.

Beth in CT

Too cute. I'd love to get a copy of this book. I'm on the next generation and looking for ideas.

Tartaruga

I would love to have a copy of this interesting book!

Leah

I just felted an old cashmere sweater the other day -- the dog would be a perfect use for it! Please pick me!

Kendall Micayla

Cool! I love the quilts!

Wylie

Both the quilt and the dog are wonderful. I would love the make the quilt for my friend's new grandson. He will be born at the end of the summer!

Erica

Looks like a great book. I'd love to find sources for organic fabrics. Thanks!

Ashley

oh boy oh boy would i love that book!!!

Del

What a great book! I love all of the green projects!

Jamie

Wow! Looks like a wonderful book!I would love a copy!

Amy

I checked this book out at the library and definitely would like my own copy. Thanks for the chance to win!

MelodyJ

I would love this book. It looks like it has some really great ideas.

jessica

My fingers are crossed! I can't wait to get my hands on that book!

Meghan

This is such a great concept for a book. I find that I often have clothes to give away, and would much rather repurpose them through craft. I'm in need of some good inspiration though.

Sherri I

I would love to win a copy of this book! It has great ideas.

Kirsten

What a great-sounding book! Please enter me. Best.

Sarah

I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of the book.

I'm intrigued by the car shade...it's made from like CapriSun pouches, right? If only I knew someone who consumed them because I'm pretty sure it goes against everything the book stands for if I go out and buy some just to make the shade.

Sara Mack

ooooh, this book sounds great! haven't seen in yet...maybe soon ;)

Susan

Erin,

Your work is beautiful. I am trying to do more these days to re-use and re-purpose, and I am SO anxious to get back to sewing again. Winning this book would be a great incentive.
Thanks

jennie

Oooo! I want that book. I've got to make that dog for my nephew! Fingers crossed...

Melissa

Erin, I always am taken by how your fabric choices are always so perfect for all your projects! You truly highlighted how wonderful Betz's projects really are.

Charise Randell

Betz's book would be a great inspiration for using up some of my fabric stash. The projects you made are adorable! I can't wait to try some projects from the book.

julbgs

this book is on my wish list. i would love to win it!

Liz

I have been eyeing that book, great to see some of the projects.

Bunny

Love it! Betz's book is amazing, it has been such an inspiration!

diane

So cute. I would love to win the Sew Green book by Betz.

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