The name of the website is Organic Cotton, the company behind it is Fabrics Ltd. in Mid Wales. Either way, this is an amazing find. Their collection of organic cotton fabrics blew me away. Solids, plaids, and stripes. Unbleached calico. Four colors of denim. Sateen. Jersey. And my favorite, a blue on white ocean print!
If anyone should be put in charge of the craft supply store of our collective dreams, I nominate these people. Surely we can convince them to expand from fabrics into notions and other supplies if we’re persistent.
Why am I such a fan, even though I haven’t ordered anything (yet)?
Here is how their website describe their standards for their fabric:
Most of our cotton comes from a non GM source and is supplied by Agrocel. One of their partners is Traidcraft, the largest UK fairtrade organisation. The cotton is grown in northern India. Our cotton is not sprayed with toxic chemicals. Instead, weeding is done by hand and pests are controlled biologically (by encouraging other insects to control the pests).
[Fair trade cotton] means that the people who weave and dye the cottons get a fair guaranteed wage and that their health and welfare is supported. We subscribe to the Fair Trade policy defined by IFAT (The International Fair Trade Association). Our hand made cottons are woven and safely dyed by a charity-run project involving about 250 workers using hand looms or small power looms.
The owner sent me some additional information about why they focus on organic cotton, and I thought I’d share a bit of it with you as well:
Millions of families farm cotton, 20,000 people die directly each year (WHO) from the effects of toxic spraying of cotton and millions have their lives affected or seriously shortened. Wordwide we use about 25% of pesticide sprays on cotton, but agriculturally it accounts for only about 4% of land use. The sprays used are often banned in the EU.
At our shop, Fabrics Ltd in Machynlleth, we sell lots of cotton based products and so we have the dilemma of knowing we are damaging the people who produce our fabrics. We are trying to promote organic cotton as an alternative. [...]
We keep the retail cost to a minimum starting at £4.95 Mt and hope that by doing this we will make the fabric available for everyone. [...] In the long term we cannot rely on fertilizers which are derived from Oil. We cannot continue to divert rivers to irrigate and we cannot continue killing people because we want cheap cloth.
The fabric they sell is handloom, which means that it isn’t mass produced uniform cloth. It’s cloth made by actual people, which may include some “imperfections.” It reminds me of organic produce in that way. Before we started mass producing produce on mechani-farms and coating it with wax to”protect” it, I don’t think every apple had to be perfect. We accepted that fruit looked like it came from nature. As eco-crafters, we value individuality, uniqueness, and the involvement of the individual in production of pretty things, so handloom seems right in tune with our values even if it doesn’t have the same consistency as a bolt of cotton at Joann’s.
Fabrics Ltd will do international orders, and they encourage you to order a swatch if you need to check the color of a particular fabric.
And did I mention how much I like the blue on white ocean print?
[Images courtesy of Fabrics Ltd.]