Organic, fair trade fabric?

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linden
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Organic, fair trade fabric?

Postby linden » 22 Apr 2012, 19:51

Hi everyone, I'm really getting into seeing and have made a robe out if organic, unbleached, fair trade cotton, but I cannot find any organic woollen fabric to make a cloak out of. Does anyone know where I could find environmentally sound boiled wool or coat weight wool in the uk? I can only find cottons, silks and hemps.
Linden

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LoneWalker
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Re: Organic, fair trade fabric?

Postby LoneWalker » 23 Apr 2012, 18:27

You could try contacting the British Wool Marketing board who might be able to point you in the right direction as part of their campaign for wool.
Here's a link to a list of cloth manufacturers on their website http://www.britishwool.org.uk/clothman.asp?pageid=148 - the 2nd one down is an organic farm and mill.

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katie bridgewater
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Re: Organic, fair trade fabric?

Postby katie bridgewater » 25 Apr 2012, 13:03

The most fairtrade and natural way to get hold of wool is to find someone who has some organic sheep (btw even 'organic' sheep are usually dipped in something once a year but a responsible sheep-keeper will know what chemicals have been used). Sadly, there is no money in wool in the UK and most commercial flock fleeces are burnt because the cost of collection by the wood board is higher than the value price a farmer can get for a fleece. Therefore, organic fleeces are more likely to be found on the local crafters scene than from any wholesale fabric supplier. Unless you import from Eastern Europe or a 3rd world country and then the organic and ethical standards are hard to verify. (I have worked in a fabric shop over many years and the fabric trade is just as bottom-line and riddled with environmental and ethical awfulness as most businesses.)

So, to find your local organic pet-sheep farmers, I'd suggest contacting your local guild of spinners and weavers. I know my local group keep a register of local people and the breeds they keep. Once you have your fleeces, you will need to find a willing weaver. Be prepared to pay a good hourly rate if you want to treat your workers with a fair-trade ethic. The minimum wage is not enough for skilled craft like this in the UK, so be prepared to pay at least £10 and more like £20 for the time spent spinning and weaving your fabric.

I once did the maths for a handspun fairisle cardigan. At the time the most you could get for such a garment was about £75. It can take a competent spinner just over 70 hours to prepare, spin and knit a complicated design like this by hand. So the hourly rate to make one worked out at less than £1. There is a reason why there is no market for this kind of fabric. I imagine at a fair wage, your robe will cost many hundreds of pounds, possibly more. Which begs another question - is it ethical to spend that much on a garment....

Good luck.

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coldcell
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Re: Organic, fair trade fabric?

Postby coldcell » 25 Apr 2012, 19:13

Linden, there is a member who lives on Orkney called Eunice who I mentioned to you last weekend at Glastonbury that would be able to get the wool for you. She keeps Icelandic sheep..shall I PM you her email address?
'do or do not - there is no try.'

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linden
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Re: Organic, fair trade fabric?

Postby linden » 16 May 2012, 18:41

sadly, it looks like this is way out of my budget right now, time to start saving....

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Badger Bob
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Re: Organic, fair trade fabric?

Postby Badger Bob » 17 May 2012, 09:42

Bernie the Bolt supplies a lot of cloth to re-enactors. You could always ask him if he has any organic/fair trade stuff in, his stuff tends to be cottage industry fabrics due to the authenticity required by ECW/Medieval bods.

http://www.calltoarms.com/bolt/


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