My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sustainable Quilting Update.

So I've found one (yes, ONE) New Zealand shop that will sell me organic woven cotton fabric for quilting.  Keep in mind that I'm searching on-line because I live in a rural area with limited shopping options.

They kindly sent me swatches so I could check weights and the feel of the fabric and see the colours first hand.

But as you can see, the range is somewhat limited.  And only three fabrics with any pattern at all, and not really my kind of patterns (maybe the stripe).  But the price is really reasonable at $14 - $16 per metre (don't know if GST is included in that).  For those of you overseas, in NZ we pay around $15-$20 per metre for quilting cottons in large department style fabric stores, $25-$30 per metre in quilting stores and up to $35 for a designer label.  Of course you can always get them on sale if you're prepared to wait!

I like these together.  I could see some sort of Amish design. 

I've emailed Grandmother's Garden, one of the 'big' little exclusively quilting stores in NZ to ask for their thoughts on carrying an organic line of fabrics (and I told them WHY they should be carrying these kinds of fabrics)  - no reply as of yet.

And I've found a wholesaler who does stretch organic cottons and will hopefully be adding a line of wovens in 3-6 months. 

So not much yet.  Maybe I'll just have to start importing fabrics myself.  Would anyone buy them?  Is there a market for them besides myself?


  1. I'm a sort of limited market myself but would be interested anyhow :)

    Would that other outfit be willing to move into a few other patterns etc?

    I'm thinking we might be reduced to making our own fabric - perhaps learning to weave would be a good move....

    viv in dunedin

  2. I'm sure that as people got educated, more & more would purchase organic fabrics. You could probably do some sort of plant-based dyes & dye your own fabric I have heard that the mordants needed for plant-dyeing aren't necessarily ver environmental, though & that acid dyes (the acid part being vinegar) are actually not as harmful as they sound. I have, however, not done research on this, so I'm simply passing on something I've heard.

    The following article is for U.S.-based sources, but you might find it helpful. It has a list of organic quilting cottons available.

    The designs are more simple, but I wonder if that simply because they do reflect a simpler lifestyle. You can see it as another challenge... How do create a quilt using simple fabrics. :-) I'm sure you'll come up with something splendid.

    I think the movement towards organic materials is growing - at least I can say that for the knitting world. With yarn for me the issue is mostly around how the sheep were treated; it is important to me that they were treated humanely. If you jump on this organic fabric wagon in NZ now, you might be surprised about how popular your online shop (for example) would be in a few months, years... down the road.

  3. P.S. Along with that you could write and article for a quilting group or quilting magazine, highlighting the need for a more sustainable choice of fabrics.

    Can you tell that I have a lot of time?

    aka eternally pregnant lol

  4. Thanks Viv - you'll be the first one I send my super duper organic catalogue to if it ever got off the ground!

    Cadi - You won't have much time soon so make the most of it ;) And you've some great ideas. Thanks x


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