In 2015 I participated in #1year1outfit that Nicki from https://thisismoonlight.wordpress.com/ initiated. One year one outfit is a challenge to make a locally sourced outfit in a year using local fibre, local labor and local dye. It is a Fibershed http://www.fibershed.com/ affiliate program and you can read about it here:
The Fibershed requirements for such an outfit are:
- the fiber must be farmed and processed in your fibreshed (a generous 500km radius). Note that Fibershed does allow some remote manufacturing where it is not available locally.
- all fibers must be natural
- any dyeing must use local non synthetic materials
- all fabric and clothing made must be of quality construction so as to ensure the life of the clothing is long, and not need excessive ironing or washing.
I did not meet all of the requirements for my whole outfit. (Tights and underwear excluded.)
But I have already signed up for 2016 and will explore this further and make an outfit that fully meets the requirements.
Sourcing yarn was the easiest, learning to make my own knitting pattern and knitting such a complex piece the hardest part. I had only knit scarves and shawls before.
Sourcing all German made fabric was quite difficult. Germany used to be an important producer of linen, but there are only a few mills left and most flax comes from European neighbouring countries or even China. Hemp and nettle fabric used to be manufactured in Germany as well, but only come from China and even Tibet now. I finally found a shop that sells German organic linen and used this for my dress.
I could of course have made my own fabric and felted or woven with organic fleece/yarn. But my main focus this year was knitting and I am very happy with my successful dying experiment as well.
- my own pattern, top down raglan, knitted from September to December
- yarn: organic, natural virgin wool from a certified organic sheepfold in Germany 350km from Berlin
My cardigan meets all of the Fibershed requirements. I am very proud of it and enjoy wearing it so much. My measurements basically come from my linden sweatshirts, so it´s almost a knitted linden cardigan
- Inari Tee dress / Named pattern
- fabric: certified organic linen with flax from fields in northern Germany and woven in Germany http://bio-leinen.de/leinenshop/bio-leinengewebe-100-bio-leinen-ungefarb...
- dyed with avocado pits, alum as mordant, collected all year, dyed in December
My dress meets the first two requirements but avocados are of course not local to Germany. I really wanted the color that avocado pits produce, so I made a compromise.
I boiled the linen with alum as a mordant and washing soda, soaked a mixture of dried and frozen avocado pits overnight, boiled them, drained them and boiled the linen in the dyebath.
Unfortunately my fabric is very light and not ideal for a dress. It would make a beautiful scarf or curtains! But it was the only 100% German fabric available and here I did not want to make compromises. Upon realising that I would not be able to wear this dress much, I only used a zig zag stich to finish the insides and so it is not very pretty and maybe therefore not very durable. I had also ordered organic cotton thread but that turned out to be too thick for this delicate fabric and so I turned to regular Gütermann polyester thread to sew it.
I had to grade from size 40 to size 46 for my hips. With such a huge difference I found it difficult to keep the original shape. Sadly this means I won´t be sewing a lot of Named patterns, with more complex pattern pieces the grading would be too difficult in my opinion.
- constellation pendant by http://wsake.bigcartel.com/, Anna & Waldemar Artmann, a father - daughter – team, jewelers based in Southern Germany hanging on a string of vintage industrial hemp twine
- from the German company http://www.softclox.com/
- exclusively produced in Europe and only using European materials, the wood (poplar and alder) comes from a sustainable forest in Europe.
My projects would not have been possible without the help of Jule from http://www.heymamawolf.de/, knitter and natural dyer from Berlin. She helped me make the pattern for my cardigan and taught me how to dye my fabric. She has just opened her etsy shop where she sells her beautiful naturally dyed yarn https://www.etsy.com/shop/heymamawolfyarns