Fabulous Fabrics: Andover Vegetable Dye Cottons

vegetable dye cotton floral fabricOnce again, I must give credit to the wonderful Kim of fabric blog True Up for introducing me to an eco-friendlier fabric.  The Andover Vegetable Dyes collection of cottons isn’t made from organic cotton, but it addresses the other side of the green fabric equation: the materials used in dyeing.

Leslie here at Crafting A Green World has talked to us about non-toxic dyeing using natural materials.  This collection is a larger scale equivalent of Leslie using her landlady’s plums to cook up some pretty fabric.

The collection is carried by Z&S Fabrics and Strawberry Patches, and the latter of which has some background information about the collection that is not found on Andover’s website. 

The gist is that the fabric is initially bleached with sunlight, then block printed by hand with natural dyes.  One of the dyes used, indigo, is a member of the legume family and fixes nitrogen in the soil as it grows.  It actually leaves the soil richer rather than depleting it.

What’s not to love about that?  Even beyond the environmental impact, these types of dyes are far better for the folks working with them.

There are sixteen different fabrics, including some stripes, florals, and paisleys – all are similar in style to the one pictured here.  The fabric is 45″ wide and retails for about $9 per yard, which is awesome.

Other Organic and Environmentally Friendly Fabrics:

[Image from Andover Fabrics.]

Written by Skye Kilaen

Skye Kilaen began sewing at an early age and eco-rabble-rousing shortly after that. Many years later, someone finally told her that there are books about how to make quilts. Life was never the same. In fact, she spent more on her sewing machine than her car. Bringing her green and crafty passions back together, Skye is now happily discovering ways to create beautiful and useful objects using thrifted and sustainable materials. No, that's not just an excuse to visit Goodwill more often. Honest.


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  1. Another great fabric line is Ecolution. I just learned about their hemp napkins at reusablebags.com (who happens to be having a huge summer sale!).

    The company is based in Romania and specializes in sustainable products, plant-based dyes and a healthy environment for their employees…awesome stuff.

  2. Ecolution is great- i think they sell rope and twine too, all dyed either natually or with low impact dyes.
    I love this natural dyed cotton, how did they get such cool patterns- I want to do it too!

  3. i think it is great.. apart from this there are many more natural fabrics available like bamboo silk, khadi, tussar.. all these fabrics can be dyed using vegetable dyes to give a complete natural and organic look to final products.. for this India is the ultimate destination. There are many organization working on it and do fair trade commerece.. like Stayorg..

  4. Atlantis Fabrics would be the place to buy vegetable dyed fabrics from.
    They have organic cotton as well as regular cottons, and organic silks, that are dyed using indigo, madder, pomegranate, and more.
    Some of the fabrics i ordered from Atlantis were vegetable dyed plaids, stripes, knit jersey and organic silk.

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