Sustainable Fashion

For the past two years, I’ve been teaching myself how to sew. It hasn’t been easy with a baby in the house (I started sewing about a month before giving birth).

I’ve also recently discovered all of the toxic consequences of synthetic fabric (ie polyester, acrylic, rayon). That coupled with the global plastic crisis, I’ve come up with a personal goal to rid our home of plastic (synthetic fabric is just wearable plastic) through sewing. I’m making things like produce bags as well but this post is specifically about the clothing I’m making.

When I’m looking to buy fabric, I first look for organic cotton. Buying organic, in whatever fashion, supports organic farmers and creates a demand for sustainable materials. Non-organic cotton causes a lot of environmental damage but we’ll save that for another post.

My first stop for organic cotton is always organiccottonplus.com.. They have a huge selection and great prices. Not so much prints, but lots of great solids. If I can’t find what I’m looking for there I scour the internet for it. I love to shop local when I can and was happy to find an organic fabric shop just 30 minutes away, monaluna.com. Now they have a bunch of prints. The woman who owns it designs them herself and they’re amazing. I love it.

When I can’t find an organic option I go for 100% cotton and/or hemp. And I do sometimes on occasion buy fabric with a little spandex or lyrca for a great stretch recovery. Great for leggings or sports bras.

The only polyester exceptions I’ve made has been for Halloween costumes and bathing suits. I hate it. The kids were Princess Jasmine and her pet tiger Raja this year, and after months of looking for cotton alternatives I had to finally concede. They were pretty cute though, right?

Working with faux fur was a nightmare, never again. I’m trying to find recycled polyester to make bathing suits in the future. I’ll let you know what I find.

When I first started sewing I ordered a lot of fabric online without thinking about it’s content. Looking back at the website, a lot of the fabric I bought doesn’t even say what it’s made of. I’m assuming it’s polyester. Now I know.

Teaching myself how to sew has been fun but not very inefficient. I’m so excited to start a sewing class in two days. Hopefully it’ll help reduce my sewing times and get more done in a shorter amount of time.

Here are some other outfits I’ve made:

organic cotton from organiccottonplus and maluorganic

organic pajamas from fabricdirect.com

polyester rash guard from Joanns

organic cotton cardigan from organiccottonplus.com

organic cotton jumper from monaluna.com

leggings made from old shirts

solid green fabric is 100% cotton from Joanns, checkered fabric is made from a bag of flour

pants from joanns

cotton fabric from charligirlfabrics

Halloween 2017, all polyester

organic cotton from organiccottonplus.com

cotton from charliegirlfabrics

organic cotton from organiccottonplus.com

charliegirl fabric (this might be polyester)

cotton from charlie girl fabrics

cotton from joanns

I’d love to share my weekly sewing projects on here. We’ll see if I actually do it 🙂

Laura Zabo Recycled Fashion

For a few years now I’ve been trying my best to be as green as possible. Trying to greatly reduce plastic usage, water and energy. I buy used whenever possible and when I buy “new”, I try to find items made of recycled materials. I’ve also been much more appreciative of the arts. I was a big science nerd in college and thought art was kind of a waste of time. I have changed my mind entirely. I’m not going to go into how awesome art is (for another post), but I will make the connection between art and science. 

You can use art to bring much needed attention to various scientific causes. Throw a planet painting on a t-shirt and you’re a walking advertisement for recycling. You can combine the two by making art out of garbage. You’re cleaning up the environment while making a beautiful piece of jewelry. The list goes on, but you get the point. 

I’m always on the hunt for a new green designer, company or small business. I was hanging out in vegan twitter (supporting like minded individuals) when I came across this woman who designs accessories from old tires. What a great idea. Let’s first discuss the atrocities that stem from our massive tire consumption.

RMA reports scrap tire piles have declined by 93 percent                                  source: recyclingtoday.com

Ever wonder where all these tires go? Like just about everything else, it piles up in a landfill, in the ocean or illegally dumped off some country road.  They leach chemicals into the soil, provide ample breeding grounds for potentially dangerous mosquitoes, are prone to fires that are extremely difficult to put out, and quite frankly they just take up much needed space.

The good news is that tire piles in the U.S. have greatly reduced in recent years. Tires are being re-purposed into things like ground rubber, fuel and of course… fashion!

Enter Laura Zabo. Laura’s inspiration stems from a pair of sandals she came across while traveling through Tanzania. The sandals were brightly colored, beautiful and shockingly made of car tires. She loved the idea of art being recreated through waste and felt she had to share this new found revelation with the world.

Laura now creates beautiful accessories from re-purposed car tires. Her website laurazabo.com carries all her stunning pieces including gorgeous belts, dog accessories, footwear, guitar straps, earrings, necklaces and hair accessories.

I was given a pair of gorgeous earrings and an awesome belt in exchange for this review, and I love them! My shipment arrived in a white envelope, beautifully wrapped in blue tissue paper and, of course, zero plastic.

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I love the bright colors on the black background. The earrings are surprisingly light and easy to wear. The belt feels well made, fit perfect and was easy to loop right in to my jeans. 

My daughter loves them too, so much so that she wanted to add her picture 🙂

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If you’re looking for a new, unique gift idea this holiday season (or ever), I highly recommend Laura’s awesome creations. She’s a vegan business owner and her zero plastic shipping materials earned her a spot on our List of Companies that Don’t Use Plastic Packaging

Learn more about Laura and her collection at her website laurazabo.com, her facebook facebook.com/lauzabo, her twitter twitter.com/laura_zabo, or her instagram  instagram.com/laura_zabo/.

source: https://www.recyclingtoday.com/article/rubber-manufacturers-tire-piles-declined/

Thank you Cards

I bought these gorgeous Thank You Cards from Etsy for my daughter’s first birthday. I looked all over for “eco-friendly” or “green” thank you cards and most of my search came back pretty expensive. We went all out on the party and didn’t want to drop another fat stack for the thank you cards. Etsy seemed to have the best prices while still having a good selection.

 

The shop I stumbled upon is called FlowerSeedPaper. They have a ton of fabulous stuff. I really liked the beautiful simplicity from this particular set. They have the lovely flower sketch on the front and are blank on the inside. With my budget, I had my sights set on cards made of recycled paper, but this set is made up of 50% recycled paper (envelopes are 100% recycled) and come with seeds imbedded in the paper. How cool is that?! The seeds embedded in the paper are the flowers found on the front of the card. I’ve planted one of the cards, but the shop says the seeds could take up to 6 weeks to germinate, so I’ll update this post if/when they ever sprout 🙂

Had my little helper dig the hole for me 🙂

There is no plastic in the packaging. This set is $19.50 for a set of 15. That comes out to $1.30 per card. Sounds steep but other “green” cards run around 5 to 6 bucks each! If you can afford it, I’m sure the more expensive cards are worth the extra dough. Most display beautiful artwork and are done by hand.

Please consider buying eco friendly invitations/thank you cards for you next gathering.

July 24th

Note: I wrote this on July 24th, but then the site crashed. So I’m a day off 🙂

I just wanted to make a quick note on this special day. After four years of trying for a second child, on July 24th 2016, we realized we were pregnant again.

We were no longer trying as we were in the process of adopting and were actually just waiting for a match. For those of you not savvy on your adoption lingo, a match is when you get “matched” with a child. Kind of a big deal. We were only a few weeks away (with international adoption things are more predictable than domestic infant adoption). Being used to disappointment and having lost a pregnancy a year earlier I didn’t think it would stick, and if it did I was worried about losing the adoption.

We went about our day as if nothing had happened. It was a Sunday. We went to watch Finding Dory with our four year old and that’s when the nausea kicked in. While at the movies, we learned our twin niece and nephew were about to come into the world. An event that would have brought a mixed feeling of joy and sadness but since I had a fat batch of hope brewing I was insanely excited.

As the weeks past and the ultrasounds showed a wonderfully healthy baby growing strong (minus the kidney disease but whatevs). Fast forward two years and we have a perfect 15 month old baby girl.

July 24th will always be “the best day ever” in our family. It gave us three beautiful children.

The Last Straw

Plastic in general is a huge problem, but little by little we can make a huge difference. This post is specifically about straws.

Have you seen the video about the straw stuck in the turtle’s nose? Click Here.

People tend not to give a crap until it affects an adorable animal, so I had to add the video. Sad, right? What should we do? Duh! Stop using straws!

“But I love straws.”

If only there were a ton of options for straw lovers… oh wait there is.

There’s metal, paper, plant derived plastic and even glass! The glass is especially beautiful. Check out our small collection:

The metal straws came with a nifty wire straw cleaner for easy cleaning. We got the disposable straw this weekend at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles. The bartender (who also happens to be vegan 🙂 said he introduced the idea of compostable straws to the hotel and they made the switch. Maybe we can all make a call to our favorite hotel or restaurant and start pressuring establishments to finally move on from plastic straws? It’s that easy!

I highly recommend the glass straws for home use. Mostly because they’re beautiful and fun, so why not? The stainless steel straws are great for going to restaurants (they won’t break in your purse or pocket :),  just don’t forget them at the restaurant! Lastly, the compostable straws are great for traveling, where straw washing isn’t as accessible. And also remember, you don’t actually ever NEED a straw so you can always. just. not. use. one.

Below is a list of eco friendly straw options sold by small businesses. I don’t technically support Amazon because of their non environmentally friendly shipping practices and the fact that they’re a big ugly corporation, so I won’t add them here, but rest assured they have plenty of options if that’s your thing.

If you need a quick link to just the list click here.

 

Eco-Friendly Straw Options

Eco Products – Compostable Straws

Green Restaurant – Compostable Corn Plastic Straws

Green Paper Products – Compostable Corn Straws

Aardvark – Paper Straws

Just Artifacts – Paper Straws

Sweet and Treats – Paper Straws

Hummingbird Straws – Glass Straws

Simply Straws – Glass Straws

Strawesome – Glass Straws

Glass Dharma – Glass Straws

Drinking Straws – Glass Straws

EcoStraw – Glass Straws

Mighty Nest – Several Eco Friendly Straws Options

Health Ceramics – Glass Straws

Package Free Shop – Stainless Steel Straws

Eco At Heart – Stainless Steel Straws

Klein Kanteen – Stainless Steel Straws

Life Without Plastic – Stainless Steel Straws

Norwex – Stainless Steel Straws

If I’ve missed a great company, comment below and I’ll be sure to add them. Thanks!

List of Businesses that use Sustainable Packaging

These companies use sustainable packaging for their products. Whether that’s metal, glass, cardboard, or they used post consumer recycled (PCR) or biodegradable/plant based plastic. This list will be updated constantly so check back often. Please let us know if you have a business that should be on the list or if  you see a business on here list that shouldn’t be. Thanks!

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The Dangers of Polyester

In general, like 99% of all man-made crap is ruining everything. But this post is only about synthetic fabric, mainly polyester.

I saw a video on Facebook about a year and a half ago that it blew my mind. Of course, I can’t find that video now, but I found one that delivers the same message:

Polyester (and acrylic, nylon, spandex, etc.) is just wearable plastic. If you’re trying to reduce your use of plastic you need to expand that effort to your wardrobe. If you watched the video, you can understand the dangers of fish eating these microplastics. But what about your kids? Unless you make a concentrated effort to find cotton toys/blankets, your baby is probably snuggling up to a soft batch of plastic poison as we speak. I don’t know about your kids, but my toddler sucks on these toys! So forget about the lengthy life cycle of:

  • you washing your clothes
  • microfibers end up on our oceans
  • fish eat microfibers
  • we eat the fish
  • poison microfibers making us sick

OR

  • baby sucks on polyester and eats microfibers directly

What the hell everyone that makes this crap?!? It’s so widely used, you have to assume it’s safe.  It’s not. When in doubt, Google 🙂

For someone who’s never bought my kids cheap polyester/plastic blankets/toys/clothes and have asked others buying them gifts to do the same, I sure have a lot of this crap in my house. I even return most plastic gifts. But over the years, I’ll forget to take them back or my kid seems to really like it, or they’re hand me downs that I’m reluctant to throw out… Well I’m done. I’m on a mission to completely eradicate my house from polyester/plastic junk. I’m planning on using sewing to replace everything with at least natural fibers (cotton or hemp), but am trying my best to support sustainable farming and be extra healthy by buying 99% of my fabrics from organic sources. So far I’ve ordered a ton from Organic Cotton Plus and a local shop, Monaluna. I’ll be posting about my transition as I go.

How to Make a Birthday Party Eco-Friendly

We just had our daughter’s first birthday party and we strived to make it as green as possible.

  • We bought biodegradable cutlery and cups from our local grocery store (Nob Hill Foods).
  • We bought paper plates made from recycled paper from Costco.
  • We asked for only wood toys or cotton clothes.
  • Returned unwanted plastic gifts to Target.
  • We served an all vegan menu.
  • No plastic water bottles! Water came from our filter system using the biodegradable cups.
  • We bought recycled seed Thank You cards from Etsy (cards with seeds embedded in them so when you plant them they grow wildflowers).
  • Saved all of the gift bags and tissue paper to reuse.

Some things cost us extra while others saved us money. So we basically broke even. The biodegradable and recycled plates/cups/cutlery cost more than the plastic crap, as did the seed cards. But we evened out on not buying water bottles, serving vegan food, and loading up on gift bags and tissue paper for future use.

Really annoying that they still make single use plastic cutlery. Ugh. For a few extra bucks you eliminate waste and support a green company.

We’ve been asking for only wooden toys since our first daughter’s first birthday party (almost 6 years ago) and all her subsequent birthday invitations stated “no gifts please”. We’ve just started asking for “no synthetic fabric” (polyester/acrylic/nylons etc). We understand this is difficult for some people, but just by asking you’re making people think about what they’re buying. And we still get the well intentioned plastic toy from friends and family. While super stores like WalMart and Target are super evil, they’re fantastic for returning cheap plastic toys without a receipt. So far they’ve taken back everything we’ve brought them. And by returning these gifts you’re decreasing demand and not having a house full of ugly, annoying, cheap plastic toys that your child will get sick of in a few days anyway.

A vegan menu is super green! Animal products have detrimental effects on the environment. Including global warming (from methane released from factory farming), water consumption, water pollution, deforestation, the list goes on…

Who the hell still buys plastic water bottles??!!? Especially when you have a clean water source nearby. It’s best to always have your stainless steel water bottle filled up wherever you go, but let’s face it, not everyone is doing that. If you’re having a party at a park or someplace without access to clean water, there’s a company called Just Water that make biodegradable water bottles. Much more expensive than regular poison plastic, but much better in so many ways.

I looked around for some kind of “eco friendly” thank you cards. I quickly found that Etsy was going to be my best bet. I found recycled card stock and/or seed cards. I must admit they are pretty expensive, but I found an affordable bunch that look beautiful. They’re seed cards with 50% recycled paper and 100% recycled paper envelopes. I’ll update this post with my review of them when they come in.

Saving gift bags! Are there people that don’t do this? Why? What’s wrong with you? Not only is it “green”, you get free stuff! I’ll admit the tissue paper is a little iffy (it’s all crinkly), but just say you reuse them to be green and not because you’re cheap :).

Happy partying!!

 

Trying to Find Sustainable Businesses

mustsaveworld.com

I was trying to find a list of businesses that use sustainable/ecologically responsible packaging and/or shipping materials and I suppose there is no such list! And just trying to find any business that uses these materials is proving quite difficult to find as well. Just going around my house, checking labels, I’ve found a few. So now I’m on a mission. To make such a list! If you know of some awesome businesses that you’d like to suggest, please do so in the comments.

Off to work!